Best Man Speech Preparation: Pre-Speech Nerves

Our expert Best Man Baz is back this week to tell the guys how to handle pre-speech nerves.

When it comes to pre-speech nerves ‘Necessity is the mother of invention.’

Read on to discover how to be as cool as the proverbial Cucumber and not shudder like a defecating pooch.

The immense crippling nerves that are commonly associated with public speaking and Best man speeches in particular are one of life’s conundrums. Other bizarre universal quandaries are – Why is the ‘Letter S’ in the word ‘Lisp’? Why is the word ‘Dyslexic’ a high scoring Scrabble word? Why does Coke taste better out of a glass bottle than out of a can? No idea… Some things are just too loco to comprehend. It’s more annoying than the incorrect overuse of the word ‘literally’ or the incorrect use of the word ‘pacific’ instead of ‘specific’. Without being pacific this literally drives me nuts.

The best way of combatting ‘Best man speech’ nerves is to approach it like this: ‘If you always prepare in the same way you’ve always prepared then you will always achieve what you’ve always achieved.’ Therefore if you have a negative experience in memory then approach this speech completely differently and treat it as a positive opportunity and not like an Albatross around your neck. (See ‘7 Ps’ and ‘SMART’ in previous instalments.)

If you have crippling nerves regarding the speech then I suggest stripping everything down and approach the opportunity differently. If you’ve suffered from nerves on a similar occasion previously then try to remember your body’s symptoms at the peak of the nerves. Common symptoms are erratic breathing, an increase in heart rate, sweating like a ‘Lady of the Night’ in Church and having the desire to drop anchor in Pooh Bay. How you feel (anxious, scared, trapped, isolated) and what you think (I’m going to have a mare; I’m going to be a laughing stock; everyone knows I’m petrified) both marry up together as a negative behaviour (Common bodily symptoms above). Nerves will be a thing of the past if you feel (excited, confident, relaxed) and think (What’s the worst that could happen?! I’m not going to die up here. I’m prepared. I’ll do it like I practised. It’s going to be a laugh and a chance to wind my mate up) then you will behave in a more confident, positive way and you’ll be in control.

An option which always chills me out is Yoga. I’m not suggesting for a second that you buy some incense, hug the nearest Oak Tree and start wearing Linen trousers. Yoga classes focus on breathing, relaxing and focussing your mind. Once you get used to it you will find ways of focussing your breathing and heart rate so that you can overcome stressful situations. Once you’ve overcome the misconception that Yoga classes are full of hippies and flatulent OAPs consider these two words. Yoga Pants… The whole point is to approach the whole ’Best man experience’ differently and in a positive way which works for you as an individual.

In bygone Best man speeches I have witnessed seemingly confident friends fall apart at the microphone faster than a counterfeit Optimus Prime. One Best man forgot to number his speech cards; he managed to drop them and cocked up his card order. He cracked on in a flustered, chaotic manner for 10 seconds or so and then had to sit down and the Groom tentatively had a crack at the title and save the day. It’s the closest thing to human Jenga that I’ve ever seen. The poor guy just crumbled and collapsed before our very eyes. (See ‘7 Ps)

Another Best man took Dutch courage to a whole new level. He drank so much he even sounded Dutch. “I’d like you to all be upshtanding for a toasht.” With a few ‘F – Bombs’ thrown in willy-nilly I can safely say that he was as much use as a glove on a foot. I always have a hip flask on go on the wedding day with my usual tipple of Mr Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum or Mrs Disaranno (other tipples are available). That way the Groom and I can have a cheeky slug to take the edge off if required. I find that a half a dozen slugs of Lucifer’s fiery sauce suffice. If this is favourable to you then remember to pace yourself, particularly if the speeches are after the food, it can be a long shift so take it steady and don’t peak too “Shoon”.

Coming up

An example of my first Best man experience.

Best Man Speech Preparation, Part 2

Baz the Best Man is back this week with part 2 of his advice on tackling the daunting task of the best man’s speech. See Part 1 here for the 5 basic breakdown points of the dreaded speech.

Best man Speech preparation Part 2

Here’s my tried and tested format on how best to approach the big day like a champion. The ‘SMART’ principle.

S – pecific

M –  easurable

A – ssignable

R – ealistic

T – ime related

Specific

When complimenting during your speech. Focus on how amazing the Bride and Bridesmaids look today. Remember to congratulate the Flower Girls and Page Boys on a fantastic job if any are involved. This is an ideal time to perhaps read out any Wedding Cards from relatives who couldn’t make it or raise a toast to absent friends or family. Run this past the Bride and Groom so that you have the accurate information or risk making yourself look like a Brad Pitt (If you know your Cockney Rhyming Slang)

In terms of sharing how and when they met it’s best to use specific occasions and milestones to give a little extra sincerity and meaning. Include funny anecdotes of them together. Focussing how they met and ‘fell in love’ is a great jumping off point. Share memorable (ideally funny) stories of the Groom’s childhood, teenage years and adult life.

Measureable

I would initiate measuring from two angles. Firstly look at the overall timescale from being asked to be Best man and the Wedding day. Trust me if you do an Ostrich and bury your head in the sand you are just turning the heat up on the pressure cooker. Be proactive and have the ‘5 Basic Breakdown Points’ written down as soon as you can. Then use the SMART principles and Bob’s your uncle and Fanny’s your aunt.

Secondly I have personally found that around 10 minutes is ample time to cover the ‘5 Basic Breakdown Points’ in your speech.

Assignable

If this amount of time seems like an eternity then I would encourage you to tap up other members of the Wedding party to ease the pressure. Some examples are allowing the Groom to say a few thank yous; perhaps the Chief Bridesmaid/sister/or a best friend would like to say a few words or read a poem or if one of the Ushers has a story they would like to share (They could speak themselves or write it down for you to relay) then hunkydory. As long as you’ve covered the 5 areas then it’s a job well done.

Realistic

Just because you’ve seen another Best man speech of an elaborate dance routine or Show Tune number it doesn’t mean you have to compete. If you fancy a crack at the ’Title’ then all you have to consider is the preparation time and the skills required. If you can implement a musical number, a slide-show or something that goes above and beyond then I recommend that at points 3) or 4) are your times to shine. Sandwiched by Thank yous, compliments and the concluding Toast.

Breaking into song & getting the bridesmaids involved

Breaking into song & getting the bridesmaids involved

Timescale

This underpins your whole planning stage from being asked to be Best man to the Wedding Breakfast. You can view the time you have in the know as time to worry or time to plan. See ‘7 Ps’; ‘5 Basic Breakdown points’; ‘SMART Principles’ and most importantly think positively. When I have the meat to the bones of my plan I tend to record myself on my phone video recorder a week or so prior to the big day to see if I have open and relaxed body language. If possible look up from your notes occasionally and look toward the Bride and Groom to give a personal touch. Above all the most important elements to your speech after you have settled on the contents is the ‘Volume’ and the ‘Clarity’.

In a nut shell – When you have your final speech write it down so that it is easy for you to read on pocket sized cue-cards and look after these like a new-born baby Panda. Number the cards and the public speaking world is your Oyster.

Coming up – Handling pre-speech nerves. How to be as cool as the proverbial Cucumber and not shudder like a defecating pooch.

Best Man Speech Preparation, Part 1

Baz the Best Man is back this week with advice on what is probably the most daunting of all Best Man jobs: The Speech!

S

Sherlock’s Best Man Speech may not be the best inspiration! Image Source.

Best Man Speech Preparation Part 1

I guess if you’re reading this you may well have been offered the Albatross role of being a Best man. Some folks love it and strut about like a toddler on his first day with ‘Big Boy’ pants on while other people visualize faking their own death, fleeing to Zihuatanejo Beach in Mexico to see if Red and Andy Dufresne can give them a job as a Deck Hand on their boat.

Before you tackle the components of a Best man speech such as clarity, pronunciation, volume/projection, timing, topics and natural flow it’s wise to prepare as best as possible (See 7 ‘P’s Stag Do – ‘Open Sesame – Journey to the centre of morality’) Not everyone is comfortable with public speaking and this can breed negativity if you allow the negativity to fester. From the world of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy this frame of mind is best described as a ‘NAT’. A ‘Negative Automatic Thought’ (Aaron T Beck). It’s the negative contemplation that your Best man speech is undoubtedly going to be an utter and total shower of scheize. It’s the whole ‘Glass Half Full’ philosophy which you need to adopt. I attended a Solution Focussed Brief Therapy seminar several years ago and as a result of that one day I deleted the word ‘But’ from my vocabulary. ‘But’ implies possible doubt and is ambiguous. For example if you say “I’m going to try my best with the speech but if it goes wrong I’m going to look like a penis and ruin the day.” As long as you plan and prepare the Best man speech in ample time and follow my advice you will be as successful as the Quarterback on Prom Night. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? You’re not going to die up there and the vast majority of guests will be rooting for you to do well. If you cover all the bases I’m about to share then you will be successful. Hakuna matata.

I tend to mumble like a drunk octoganerian who’s awoken abruptly by a Party Popper prior to the Queen’s speech when I speak. I can talk very quickly when I’m excited to share something; particularly when naughtiness is a foot. All I do, is slow my pace down and pronounce each word clearly. On the run up to the speech I record a practice effort and watch it back to assess if there’s any areas I need to improve upon. In upcoming blogs I will give you 3 separate examples of different Best man speeches that I have given over the last 10 years so that you can pitch your unique speech as best you can.

The 5 basic breakdown points of a Best man speech is as follows :-

1) Compliments – The Bride looks beautiful today.

2) Thanks – The Bride and Groom would like to share their gratitude to you for making today the happiest day of their lives.

3) Share how and when they met. Include funny memories of them together – This one time behind a skip at our local the Nags Head…

4) Share stories of Groom’s Childhood, Teenage years and adult life – As a young man he has very bulbous features. Some of the meaner kids nicknamed him Nelly as they felt he looked similar to the Elephant Man.

5) Toast the new couple – To love, laughter and a happy ever after.

 

Coming up.

Best man speech preparation. Part 2.

 

 

Best Man: Numpty Proof Stag Do Guide Lanyards

How do you keep a group of stags in order? According to our expert (well he has done it quite a few times!) Best Man Baz you make them all wear lanyards! Sounds simple enough, here is Baz to tell the boys how it’s done.

Best Man Baz (left) with his best friend- The Groom

Best Man Baz (left) with his best friend- The Groom

‘Numpty Proof’ Stag Do Guide Lanyards to keep the Away Stag Do as smooth as Arthur Fonzarelli.

I’ve been on a few Stag Do’s where mass confusion has ensued purely because of a lack of information sharing. You can be as organised as a farmer successfully taxi-ing their Fox, Chicken and Chicken Feed across a river; if you don’t keep the group in the loop then expect confused carnage.

I came across the Stag Programme lanyard idea on an Edinburgh Stag Do many moons ago and loved it. Not only does it fill you in on the itinerary/rendezvous, it also provides the opportunity to slate the Stag with more gusto than you can during the Best man speech when his Great Aunty Ethyl and Gam-Gam are present. “What did that young man say about feeding a pony Ethyl?” Awkward times.

There were two ‘Loose Cannons’ in the Stag group concerning the following ‘Stag Do Guide Lanyard’. Amazing, unique individuals whose sheer presence have put ‘two fingers up’ to Charles Darwin. One of which is harder than a Beaver’s bottom lip and the other is as random as a Sandal on a Cheese Board. The first gent can jump up in the air and spin-kick ‘Van Damme styley’ and accurately brush your fringe with his shoe. The second hero literally gave road side ‘mouth to mouth’ resuscitation to a Badger (unsuccessfully I might add). 10590449_10153427508559625_4955230519718810704_n

The programme kept decorum for the group as a whole and kept these two heroes singing from the same collective hymn sheet as the rest of the crew from start to finish. Amen.

 

The Fabulous amigos sharing Rich Tales and fables of Will Owen Price on his farewell tour.

‘Courtship is as old as the early days of fire and the wheel my friend.’

Well, here we all are. A weekend away to mark the impending sunset of the single life and times of Will Owen Price. Mother Nature’s impish man child burrowed himself in many a furry warren in the pulling years of 1999 to 2002. I was proud to be your wing man and to mop up the jealous chicas whose hot friend had abandoned them to get silly with Willy. We came across quite a selection of wild cats and Hobbit footed natural disasters over those memorable times.

“If you want to get out of the wedding, treat every day from now on like a prison riot.” Barrington Bear age 31 ½

Prison riots are a lot like getting married. Women look for weakness. Like the annual migration of Wildebeests through Lion town in the Serengeti. The air is tainted with fear and inevitability. Eventually there comes a time when a Wildebeest might as well accept it and embrace the certainty. Some men can’t handle it, they buckle under the fear like a ‘Straw Bridge’ under duress on a Team Building exercise. These are the ones who get taken down by the jugular faster than a pair of pants on Prom Night.

It’s not too late hombre. Options….

  • Play dead. It’s a strategy that will save you in the long game. It requires commitment, a safe house and a counterfeit Passport.
  • Another Prison Riot strategy is to lay with another hombre. This will require a significant lifestyle ‘U turn’ and is a guaranteed banker.
  • Flog your dolphin in public. This is a bold move, not my style, it’s extremely effective at isolating yourself from ‘normal’ society and may restrict future opportunities.

A wise man once said “One day we all end up at the banquet of our own consequences.” Ronald Burgundy.

For many men that banquet is a disturbing and fitting conclusion to a life of ill-advised decisions. As for you my good man, if you ignore the ‘Prison Riot Survival Rules’ and take the icy plunge, your banquet will be fit for Kimye.

Either way we’ll all be there in the good times and the bad to help you carry the load. Tip of the cap to you amigo.

Friday Aug 1st 3 – 5pm ‘Titan Zip-Line’ o’clock.

For the non-flyers there’s a café that serves Fire-water on site.

Blaenau Ffestiniog.  Titan 01248 601 444
Next stop hotel.  (16 minutes. 12 miles away.)

Glan Aber Hotel

Saturday 1.30pm (need to be there by 1pm) White Water Rafting.

National White Water Centre. (19 miles. 41 minute drive taxi).

(Inspired by Mr Ron Burgundy and his stellar musings in his autobiography ‘Let me off at the top.’)

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Coming up.

‘By the power of Grayskull’ Best man speech preparation, drawing board basics, planning, template and execution. www.bestmanbeacon.com

Stag Do: Open Sesame – Journey to the Centre of Morality Part Deux.

Best Man Baz is back with Part 2 of Journey to the Centre of Morality – continuing his series on planning the perfect stag do. You will find Part 1 here. It’s one for the boys today I’m afraid so ladies hand over to the man in your life, over to Baz…  

Best Man Baz (left) with his best friend- The Groom

Best Man Baz (left) with his best friend- The Groom

Etiquette and Drinking Games

I’ve experienced Stag Do’s ranging from relatively sober affairs where we canoed by day, supped away slow and steadily and camped in a Tipi. On other Do’s we were as drunk as Hillbillies in Moonshine season. Alcohol is not the ‘be all and end all’ for a successful Do. As long as you have a laugh and you cater for the Groom and the majority’s tastes then you’re cooking on gas. What alcohol does bring to the table is a vehicle for lowering inhibitions. Old school classic drinking etiquette can be as harsh or as relaxed as the occasion requires. Winners for me have been Left Handed Drinking, a Ban on using first names; allocating a Freeze Master who randomly poses in an obscure manner and the last person to copy has to drink; a Thumb Master who stealthily places his thumb on a surface in plain sight and the last person to place their thumb down sups; naming an imaginary ‘Little man’ who is an inch tall and sits on the rim of your glass. You have to name him, lift him off the glass and place him on the table before you drink and you lift him back up onto his perch post slurp. Other winners include games ‘Fuzzy Duck’, ‘Yeeha, ‘Pimmily’ and ‘Spoof’. For specifics either drop the Google hammer or sit in your local rugby club after a match and take notes. If you want to achieve the group decorum to pull off the drinking games successfully you need to allocate a Snitch and a Weights & Measures man. A Snitch has to keep an ‘Eagle Eye’ out for any discrepancies to the rules and when a culprit has been collared the Weights & Measures man allocates a fine of 1 to 4 fingers width worth of your beverage to be supped away. If you’re not feeling the love for full blown laddish Stag Do and just fancy getting steadily Ale’d up then a ‘Kitty’ will do nicely.

Kangaroo Court

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All you will require is an appropriate, private space that can accommodate your group number. The mock court set-up requires an area for all the Stag Doers to sit/stand; ideally with a bar/access to alcohol; an area at the front where the ‘Judge’ sits with a record of ‘Away Stag Do’ discrepancies and he keeps order. You will also need a ‘Defence’ and a ‘Prosecutor’ to represent individuals who are called up to answer the alleged offences. Examples I have witnessed include lateness, pulling an attractively challenged lady, splintering off from the group and the heinous act of disobeying the Social Media Blackout #UhOh. The best punishments involve forfeits of embarrassment and ridicule.

Taking one for the team

The finest example I’ve seen of a Best man taking one for the team came on a Magaluf Stag Do where the Stag was escorted up onto the bar, posed on all fours while a sexy, yet masochistic senorita spanked his bare arse with a studded paddle. After the first strike the Stag was as startled as a sneezing Panda and hopped off the bar. Like a drunken Knight in shining Board Shorts the Best man stepped up as the Groom tearfully tapped out. Several paddle strikes later the Best man received a standing ovation and minced away. His arse resembled the Elephant man’s face for days. ‘Taking one for the team’ also occurs when a Best man hangs back on the drinking so that he can keep his wits about him should any mischiefs go awry. Some great pieces of advice are keep hydrated, book a day off following the Stag Dos return to reimburse the inevitable sleep debt, befriend all Bar Keeps and accommodation gaffas like long lost friends and guard the ‘Kitty’ like it’s a new-born.

Being Best Man isn't all about the speech

Being Best Man isn’t all about the speech

To Lap Dance or not to Lap Dance? That is the question

Firstly, see ‘Omerta’ in earlier blog. Secondly if you find yourself in an exotic dancing establishment it is customary to chip in for the Stag to have the first ‘No Pants Dance’. If you’ve never frequented these establishments. The drink prices are as extortionate as car insurance for a 17 year old Boy Racer. Never go into one when very drunk. Never leave your card behind the bar, not only will you end up getting rinsed, you will also have to explain any awkward questions regarding future bank statements. Always sit on your hands during a dance. On every visit I’ve had bar-none, a member of the group has inevitably fallen in love with a dancer and spent a small fortune on them. The prima ballerina’s alluring charms, their complimentary patter and the fact that their nipples rub your nose like an Eskimo’s ‘Hello’ could well be behind the Stag member falling for them like a blind roofer. I would recommend an hour tops in there (otherwise your bank account will get smashed open like a $1 Piñata). Pay with cash and don’t drink more than your fill.

Coming up.

An example of a ‘Numpty Proof’ Stag Do Guide Lanyard to keep the Stag Do as smooth as Arthur Fonzarello. www.bestmanbeacon.com