It’s a stressful time guys!
You get asked to be best man, but all you can think of is the sheer fear of standing up in front of a crowd of people and, ultimately, make them laugh. No pressure huh?
Well don’t worry, because help is at hand. I can give you the ammo to go in with confidence brimming, safe in the knowledge that no matter how your speech itself goes (if you’re doing one), you’re about to blow this audience away.
How? Read on…
My personal opinion goes a bit like this. Get up and introduce yourself first; it’s the worst part so breathe easy and just get on with it – ’cause it ain’t going away. Wait for them to give you a bit of peace and quiet before you start so that everyone can hear you. Repeat this to yourself several times before the big day so it’s ingrained in your subconscious. Repetition before the event is how you’re going to cope when the nerves take over, it’s very simple when you break it down. Going in thinking you can carry it without preparation is the surest way to cock it up.
Ok, it’s quiet and everyone is staring straight at you and all they want is to be entertained, no one wants to see you fail. Keep that in mind – they want you to succeed, they want you to be the best entertainment since seeing Peter Kay live. More pressure? No, any mistakes you make now (and you will unless you’re a natural public speaker, and even they do) won’t matter because you have the audiences’ complete support. Remember that, it’s very powerful so use it to your advantage.
What should I say first?
Introduce yourself. You might think you sound like a lemon, but a lot of the audience will never have met you and it’s up to you to tell them, “Hi, I’m Ben Vaughan, and I’m Jon’s best man.” That’s all you need (you might want to change the names to suit).
Try to avoid talking about how nervous you are, it’ll just make things worse for you and they don’t need to hear it. Look confident and put on some bravado, believe me they have no idea how nervous you are. The way you look, stand and speak may well convince all of them that you do this everyday. You’ve started talking, they are now in the palm of your hand. You are in control and it’s going to get better!
Ok, so thank the people that matter. The bridesmaids, the mothers, whoever else is on that list. This is where you’ll start to feel at ease because you’re moving attention to other people in the room. It’s not just you on display now and that always helps. You’re also making people feel good about themselves now, and that stands you in good stead with the audience. They love this, and they’ll love you.
If you’ve been asked to read out a few cards, or tell them all how far someone has travelled, get it done now. The more small talk you go through now, the more at ease you’ll feel. This stuff is a bit of a fill-in in my opinion, but if the happy couple have asked for it, it’s your job to deliver.
Without further ado, and with the thank you’s done… SPEECH!
Have your speech of some description on paper, or cards. Keep it simple headlines, or read the entire thing. This part is up to you and you need to go with what’s most comfortable. Just try to look around the audience as often as you look down at your speech. Keep them engaged. I struggle with this, but force myself to look around the room. Find a mate, or your girlfriend and give them eye contact frequently. You’ll keep your audience on their toes. But read it from a piece of paper, without looking up, and they’ll lose interest.
As for the content, well let’s just say I’ve been perusing YouTube for “worst best man’s speeches” and my advice is to keep it clean. Don’t bring up anything that makes marriage sound like the worst thing since public floggings (if you do, the mother-in-law is likely to take you outside for one).
This is one couple’s BIG day. A lot of time and money has gone into it and you don’t want to be the one remembered for spoiling it. Choose your funny stories about the groom, make him squirm a little but keep it clean enough for children, parents and grandparents. I do sometimes write poems that have rude material, but the obvious words are very often missing, leaving the people in the know to fill the gaps. It adds to the comedy.
How long do i have to be up here?
Five minutes? That’s not bad, especially if you’ve made them laugh and they want more. And this is where the poem comes in. Your speech can be boring, lacklustre and leave you looking like a tool in front of everyone (I was like this once), but finish with a funny, rhyming poem and you’re about to look like a superstar! I am completely serious.
You can get up there and grunt like a pig for five minutes, then read out a funny poem and your animal impressions will soon be forgotten. I’m not just making this stuff up, I’ve been the one in the firing line and it was pretty awful until I read the poem. Long, drawn out stories about the groom, no matter how funny they are to you, are absolute rubbish unless you’re a good story teller. A poem doesn’t have any room for fluff. It’s just headlines put together designed to make people laugh. What’s the first thing that catches your attention in a newspaper or an advert? It’s not the article, it’s the short sentence at the top leaving you wanting more.
Imagine lots of those headlines put together in a poem. Just enough material to make them laugh and keep them guessing. You don’t have to tell the whole story, all you need is enough to make them laugh. We have artistic licence, no one’s going to shout out and say “No, that’s not what happened”, and by the same token we don’t want to make up a load of rubbish.
If you give me all the material you’re prepared to use, I’ll turn it into a poem leaving you looking like the best best man they’ve ever seen. I’ve had best men write to me who, for whatever reason, hardly know the groom. They struggle with stories about him, know little of his interests and hobbies, but i work with them to find out all the little intricate parts of the relationship and put it together with some humour. Believe me, I’ve had some pretty sketchy information before now, but always managed to get a funny poem together.
Now, it’s up to you.
I haven’t added to the blog for sometime now, but I’m still here writing. I hope this post is informative and helps you whether you want a poem or no. And if you do, just write to me at thebestmanspoem. Thanks for reading.