Speech Writing 101

In one’s lifetime, you may have gone to a few Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, graduations or other events that celebrate someone you know. And at most of these, there are a chosen few granted with making a speech. For instance, at a Bat Mitzvah, you may hear the classic, “I love you so much and I can’t imagine my life without you and you look soooooo pretty today.” And if you’re nodding, maybe you’ve heard that speech, oh, 10,000 times. Now that I’ve spent seventh grade going to Bat/Bar Mitzvahs, it occurs to me that maybe we need to discuss some tips. Because even though you’re going to work really, really hard on your speech, you don’t want it to be really, really hard for people to listen to.

1. Have a Beginning, Middle and End

When giving a speech, think of it like a story you’re telling. Start with a great opening line, a quote or maybe a saying. You could then cruise into the middle of the story, that ‘a ha!’ moment when you know you’d be friends forever, or that time when the two of you realized something no one else ever would. The end is when you bring that intro back around and tie the whole speech together. This is when you also end it with a “Whoot whoot!”

2. The Shorty Test

The key to a great speech is keeping everyone interested, right? You’re talking about a room full of people who just want to party, not listen to another story. So the best thing is to type out your speech and if it doesn’t fit on one page, single spaced, it’s too long. I was once at a Bat Mitzvah where someone’s speech was six pages long and it took ten minutes to tell their speech. TEN MINUTES! That’s a long time in speech world. Actually, it’s too long. What’s not too long? Something that fits on one page. There are probably a lot of other people making speeches and you want to take up as little time as possible. Also, you don’t want to bore everyone there. They will lose interest.

3. Button It Up

You know how sometimes at a Bar Mitzvah, someone gets up and starts ramblin’ about that one time in class that thing happened? Where the story is vague and without shape? Ugh. This is as bad as telling a too-long speech. It happens when sometimes what you’ve written reminds you of another story and you go off script. Or worse, you’re not prepared; you haven’t thought about your speech until you got up to tell your story. I mean, seriously, this is an important day for your friend. Why show up in front of everyone and ramble? Or just wing it? So the tip here is: be prepared.

4. The Specials

Sometimes you have six people telling speeches and everyone’s speeches are similar. “You’re my best friend”, “You’re so pretty today,” etc. Try and stand out with your speech. You want your friend to remember this day and want your friend to know what she/he means to you. Make sure you act like you’re so proud to be there and you know what you’re saying and everyone can see why you care.

5. Keep The Inside Jokes to a Minimum

I’m sure you and your friend have a ton of super funny inside jokes between the two of you, and you should share some of them in your speech, but don’t go on forever about that one time you hung out and this happened and then that happened and then start laughing with everyone else wondering what’s so funny. Keep the infinite amount of inside jokes for the Instagram posts!

Featured image via ShutterStock