How To Write A Birthday Speech
How To Write A Birthday Speech
Lawerence Berstein makes suggestions for writing the perfect birthday speech. He advises to balance humor and sincerity, keep it brief, and keep in mind yourself, the birthday boy or girl, and the audience when planning your words.
Hi, I'm Lawerence Berstein, a professional speech writer, and I run greatspeechwriting.co.uk.
And irrespective of the sort of speech that you are going to give, there are two or three key things to bear in mind. Firstly, there is nothing to beat preparation. Hopefully, you're not watching this twenty-four hours before you're due to give your speech.
But the more time you leave yourself, the better. Second of all, don't worry about speaking for too long. Often a five-minute speech is much much more powerful and impactful than a twenty-minute one, and brevity is often the key.
And finally, although a lot of the videos that I've created are about writing a speech, please remember that you can't think about writing and delivering separately. They are one and the same thing. You're writing to make the speech easy to deliver, and if you think of it that way, then the thing should work.
So you're thinking about writing a toast or a speech for a friend or a relative's birthday, and the wonderful thing about this, whether it's at a dinner or a party, is there is no tick list of things you have to say. There is no huge tradition associated with it. And you really have got the freedom to write anything and anything and everything you want.
On the downside, that means it's sometimes hard to know exactly where to start. And so I actually suggest, rather than trying to just sit down and start writing, you do the absolute opposite, and decide what you want people in that room, particularly the birthday boy or girl, to be thinking when you finish speaking. So, if you want them to be in tears of emotion about the incredible friendship that you've had or what an incredible person they are, then you will obviously want to attack this thing in a very different way to if you want the crowd to all be sort of smiling, chuckling, and patting you on the back saying it's the funniest speech they've ever heard.
So, bearing that in mind, you will now have a very good idea of the balance that you want to create between sincerity, on one hand, and talking about your affection for the birthday boy or girl, and humor on the other hand, and the way that you're going to make people laugh. Now, sincerity tends to be relatively easy. Humor, obviously, tends to be relatively difficult.
But the easiest way to pull a speech together is to actually combine the two, so you don't appear to be going down a tick-list of jokes and just knocking off things that you feel you have to say, rather than things that really bring the speech to life. Now, from the basis of a birthday speech,the first thing I would suggest is not to try and run down a full version of the CV of the person who you're talking about. People in that room won't want to know about every achievement they've ever had, every exam they've ever passed, and every house they've ever lived in.
I think you can use those if they're necessary as incidental details, but please don't make those the crux of a birthday speech, because you're just going to bore people senseless. On the flip side, you don't just want to run through a series of jokes, particularly the sort of cut-and-paste internet jokes that everybody has heard a million times before. And the way to weave a happy path between those is to try and create something that is relevant to the people in the room, as far as you know them, yourself, and most importantly, the birthday boy or girl.
Now, there will obviously be a few stories you want to tell or a couple of anecdotes you want to tell about funny things they've got up to in the past, silly mistakes they've made, sort of touching on the best man angle, as it were if you happen to be a wedding speech. But look, the key to writing a speech well and making the thing hold together is to have some sort of theme that pulls those various anecdotes into a coherent storyline, whether it's tying it into their favorite subject of school, the job they now do, or even a hobby or a