WELCOME TO MY WEDDING SPEECH HELPDESK!!
Wedding speeches are my thing. I write books about them; I coach speakers. I speak about them on occasional YouTube videos. And I attend wedding fairs to talk about the challenges and the solutions.
• Are you giving a wedding speech?
• When is it happening?
• Nervous? Wondering how to start?
Then you’ve come to the right place. I can help!
I’ll (a) help you write the speech, or (b) give you guidance on how to structure it, or (c) even write it for you.
But I will discourage you from requesting (c), because for something as personal and important as a wedding speech, you will surely want it to have your own style and contain your memories, your stories.
Most importantly I can teach you strategies for managing the nerves. They’re inevitable and, if managed, beneficial. I have a toolkit of strategies and which one is best will depend partly on your personality.
1. Book a short initial consultation by Zoom: no cost, no commitment.
2. Check out my book The Wedding Speech Handbook. (see link in the sidebar)
3. I'll send you a proposal.
INTERESTED? MESSAGE ME FROM THIS SITE.
MY NEW BOOK SERIES
Stuck for a phrase? A neat epigram? A satisfying putdown?
If that's you, look no further. I’ve been working on a miscellany of mottos and maxims, an encyclopaedia of epigrams. That happens to be the subtitle of my book ‘Brevity is the Soul of Wit.’ And it’s just been published in both eBook and paperback. Hard-cover too, for your coffee-table.
I know you’ll be anxious to see it, so here’s a link:
OK, maybe you aren't anxious to see it. But anyway you probably know that you can get a free sample of the Kindle book. Also the print book on the Amazon site has a ‘look inside’ feature.
There's also a non-Amazon version for bookstores.
The series continued in April 2023 with Brevity Is the Soul of Wit ... for Writers.
Here's the link to it:
The wonderful Kiwi soprano Kiri Te Kanawa once said: “My energy is undiminished. Someone said to me the other day, 'Are you retired?' and I said, 'Well, I'm just trying to prove that I'm not.' There's so many things to do.”
I too am trying to prove that I'm not retired. I can't claim that my energy is absolutely undiminished, but I'm not ready for the proverbial pipe and slippers. Not the pipe, anyway.
I'm a confidence coach. My job is to help people import self-belief (dare I say 'copy and paste'?) from one area of their lives to another. And where that increased self-belief and confidence leads, competence can follow. For as Henry Ford famously said: 'if you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right. You're right.'
I particularly like working with wedding speakers. Why? It's well known that public speaking is one of the top three phobias for most people. A wedding adds another level of stress, because it's personal, it's emotional and it's a one-off.
I also write nonfiction. My first book, Back to the Black (first edition 2010, second edition 2015) was about a financial crisis I had in the '90s, what I learned from it, and what I recommend as the best way to manage one's own exit from debt.
My second, The Wedding Speech Handbook, published in 2018, drew on my experience of public speaking, and of training and coaching speakers, over the preceding 40 years; and on the pleasure (and nervousness!) of giving the Father of the Bride speech at my elder daughter's wedding in 2017.
My newest book is an oddball but it will appeal to weird people like me who appreciate a good epigram. It's called Brevity Is the Soul of Wit (that came from Shakespeare, by the way) and it's now out. Here's a mockup of the cover.
If you'd like a free copy of the new book in pdf format, in return for an honest review, please message me.
Finally, I'm a radio host on BCfm, Bristol's excellent community radio station, of which I'm also a trustee and board member.
A BOOK ABOUT WEDDING SPEECHES
Weddings 'as we know them' were on hold for a long time due to Covid. As they've returned, wedding speeches are back. And there are few occasions that are more challenging for a speaker. (A friend of mine told me that he wasn't nervous ahead of his elder daughter's wedding: I told him he's not normal.)
Public speaking is widely accepted as one of the world's top three phobias. A wedding is all that, plus all the emotion of the day. So that's why I wrote a book about it.
The Wedding Speech Handbook is available in a variety of ways. One convenient way to get it is from Amazon, in paperback, hard-cover and Kindle form. There's a link in the sidebar.
The paperback is also available to order 'from all good bookshops', as they say. That includes Foyles and Waterstones. Its ISBN is 978-1-9993442-0-7.
(That edition is not the Amazon edition, in case the bookshop asks. As you might already know, simply mentioning the word 'Amazon' could get you barred from your favourite bookshop.)
The book's cover features a cartoon by David Lewis, showing a best man who's clearly a wannabe standup comic. It's a familiar wedding speech pitfall; he's having fun, oblivious to the horrified reactions of the rest of the top table. I am in awe of this cartoonist's ability to show those varied facial expressions with just a few pen-strokes. In this case, he's illustrated one of my own pet themes: you don't need to tell jokes in your speech. Tell stories, yes, about the people and the occasion. If they're funny, great: but it's not essential. In our culture we're all supposed to have a 'GSOH' but we can't all be standup comedians.
GENERAL GUFF ABOUT ME
A native of Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, I loved my school days at St George's College, Weybridge and then frittered away my university years at Imperial College, London.
I had a 25-year career on the commercial side of the chemical industry and ended up as Managing Director of a sales and marketing company in the Swedish-owned Holmen group.
My employer Holmen LignoTech, the chemicals division, was bought by our competitor Borregaard Industries of Norway (part of the Orkla Group). So I worked for them for several years and then left to set up and run a training consultancy, where I designed and delivered courses for major corporate clients in Norway, also some in Sweden, in business communication skills - e.g. how to deliver impactful presentations or run effective meetings - combined with polishing English-language competence. It was very gratifying that Borregaard, the competitor who'd initiated that change in my life by buying my former employer, trusted me enough to become my first client. They remained so for five years or so and also introduced me to other Norwegian organisations.
I then spent five years working with a major UK health charity; first in community fundraising and then as a media spokesman, before hitting the magic number 65.
Nowadays I live in the great city of Bristol, in the West of England. Following the example of Kiri Te Kanawa, I'm trying to avoid retirement. I prefer the word 'reinvention'.