How Props Can Help (and Hinder) a Best Man’s Speech

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So you have written a brilliant best man’s speech. You have finessed and edited it down to exactly what you want to say, but how are you going to say it? One way to make your speech more dramatic and vivid is by the use of props or visual aids. A picture, so the saying goes, is worth a thousand words.

Here's one I prepared earlier (photo credit: mattdavidphotography.co.uk)

Here’s one I prepared earlier (photo credit: mattdavidphotography.co.uk)

 

I should stress that props are by no means essential, and unless they complement what you are trying to communicate they can be a distraction. But a well-chosen visual aid can bring a speech to life.

If the groom, who is now a suit-wearing chartered accountant, once had a green Mohican, this is a photo that the audience (if not the groom) would love to see. Similarly, a story about the groom’s tragic sense of fashion as a teenager, or him taking his teddy bear to university, could be made more memorable – and funnier – if you can show the object in question.

(Photo credit: mnprairieroots.com)

(Photo credit: mnprairieroots.com)

 

Some best men take their use of visual aids a step further. A friend of mine based his best man’s speech around a slideshow entitled “Dave’s Haircuts Throughout the Ages”. This was a brilliant idea as it enabled him to show hilarious photos of the groom, which most of the audience had never seen before. They defined important stages of his friend’s life from childhood, through the New Romantic teenager and Grunge greasy-haired student years, to the immaculately coiffed hopeful young man heading out for a first date.

 

Another best man speech that used visual aids imaginatively reflected the careers of both the bride and groom. They were management consultants who only seemed to communicate with their colleagues and clients via PowerPoint presentations. He delivered his speech as a mock management seminar.

 

Both of these ideas worked fantastically.

 

A speech illustrated with Flipchart art (photo credit: confetti.co.uk)

A speech illustrated with Flipchart art (photo credit: confetti.co.uk)

Every speech that uses visual aids to good effect works because the props and style of speech fit perfectly not just with the groom’s character (and the bride’s), but with the story the best man wants to tell.

 

BUT REMEMBER… if you are thinking about using props or visual aids in your best man’s speech, consider the following points:

 

#1 Will it really help you to communicate the story?

A visual aid is just that, an aid; something that helps you get your message across. Ask yourself if your speech will truly be enhanced with the use of a prop.

 

#2 Do you feel comfortable using the prop or equipment?

If using props is going to make you feel more, rather than less apprehensive about your speech, then consider dropping them. As stated above, props are meant to make your speech easier, not make you more stressed.

 

#3 Keep it as simple as possible

 

#4 How well do you know the venue?

Is the wedding venue suitable for what you want to do? Do they have the right equipment? Can you be sure it will work? If you are using a projector or screen, will the room be dark enough for the audience to see? How visible will a prop be from every corner of the room?

 

#5 Test all equipment

Never assume that equipment will work, especially if it’s not your own. If you are using AV or any other technical equipment, appoint someone you trust to operate it for you.

 

#6 Rehearse

It should go without saying that any best speech man should be rehearsed several times. When any kind of prop or equipment comes in to play, and if you have someone helping you, it’s absolutely essential.

 

#7 Have a plan B.

In case technology lets you down, have a plan B. Have a ready version of the speech you could deliver with no props at all. It would be galling to have spent weeks preparing a brilliant speech only for a projector, monitor or computer to undermine all your efforts.

 

Read my Best Man Speech Top Ten Tips

 

Download a FREE Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Brilliant Best Man’s Speech

 

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