There is nothing worse than a groom or father of the bride who takes two minutes to introduce himself and then uses long, winding sentences like this one to make a point they could have made much more clearly in far less time and using far fewer words.
The secret is brevity. Not terseness. Just the use of short, sharp, punchy sound bites to make your point in a crisp, memorable way.
Break Long Sentences Up
There are tricks to achieve this. For a start, break long sentences up into shorter ones, then try and split those up wherever possible. These breaks should be at a convenient place to breathe (and pause for effect) when you are speaking.
…and, most importantly…
Don’t Complicate Things
Secondly, try to avoid convoluted ways of explaining something simple. For example:
“The problem with playing three centre forwards is that each forward is based in the attacking third of the pitch which can leave a massive gap in midfield to be filled by less players, meaning that the defence gets pulled out of shape.”
Could be changed to…
“Selecting three forwards can leave holes behind them in midfield that defenders are forced to cover.”
Read Out Loud
Thirdly, read your sentences out loud after you have written them. You may find that what looks good on the page doesn’t sound good when you hear it.
Finally, remember this sad fact (it’s actually an estimate)…
The day after the wedding, a few of your audience will remember that cracking, belly aching joke you made, fewer still will have remembered the clever way you moved from thanking your guests to talking about your daughter, and only a handful will remember her life story before she got married.
So, see if you can compact a twenty minute speech into ten, and don’t worry about being too brief.
Guest post by Lawrence Bernstein of Great Speech Writing
Image from Melia Melia Photography