He’s got balls, he can drink his own urine and wrestle a range of reptiles. He’s hard, he’s exciting but well, even Bear knows how difficult delivering a Best Man speech is.
He shared his advice on how to give a best man speech in GQ magazine.
His advice (that we approve of) goes like this…
- Don’t be scared to be really honest. The more honest you are the more effective you will be. If that means standing up and admitting that you’re incredibly nervous, then do it. Not only will your audience respect you for it, they’ll be emotionally engaged and you’ll have made that important connection.
- Brevity is also key. Less is always more. None of the great speeches or sermons that have been given over the years try to deliver endless points, because people can’t remember them and they switch off. Remember that the Gettysburg Address was only ten sentences in length.
- Resist padding your speech out with general gags. If you do want to inject some humour, remember that self-deprecating stories about yourself are often much funnier than starting or ending your speech with a punch line that everyone knows you found on the internet. And if you’re giving a best man speech, resist the temptation to raise a laugh by putting the groom down – make sure your funny stories always end up leaving him in a great light.
- It’s a rare orator who can successfully speak off the cuff. If a speaker looks like they’re ad-libbing brilliantly, they’re probably incredibly well trained and practised. It might sound obvious, but as with so many things in life, it’s worth preparing your speech thoroughly and practising it often. I do it out loud while driving.
- Someone once said that the best spontaneity is rehearsed. If you want to appear to be ad-libbing, in reality you need to be concise, tight and well practised. (Source: GQ)
Bear makes some good points here. Forget the internet jokes. Practise being ‘spontaneous’. Keep it short. But he also misses some crucial points if you want your speech to be remembered as legendary..
Paint a picture
- A good best man speech should leave a stranger wanting to get to know the groom better. It needs to prove he’s a great bloke, not just tell us he is. It needs to involve stories and include witty observations. It should make his friends nod in recognition and his family smile.
- Bear seems to think if you’re funny, you’re at risk of losing some of your speech’s sincerity. Wrong. Taking the mick out of your mate is, in its own way, a sincere form of friendship. It proves you really ‘get him’ and it shows you’re proper mates.
- Taking the mick is how British blokes say we like each other.
Cut the clichés
- ‘Beautiful’, ‘loyalty’, ‘honesty’, ‘loved’, ‘admired’ – Bear certainly loves a positive adjective. But us? Nah, not so much. In context yes, but in isolation, without any evidence to back it up, it just feels a bit lazy. And rather cheesy.
- The truth is guests love a good story. Your speech needs a few good anecdotes in it. Think about the stories that are genuinely entertaining as well as illustrating the groom’s qualities.
So there you have it. Bear Grylls – he may be king of the jungle but he’s yet to master the marquee.
Hopefully you can do a #betterman speech. Good luck my friend.