Speeches can be very nerve wracking for the speaker, but they can also be highly entertaining for the audience. An 80th birthday is a momentous occasion that will probably bring the whole family together, so it it is important to do the speech justice. Make sure you are fully prepared -- if you're not, you could seem unthoughtful. Treat the speech as a personal thank you to the person and use words with which you are comfortable.
Determine the amount of time you want your speech to take. As the recipient of the speech is 80, he or she may be hard of hearing or uncomfortable sitting through a long speech. Even if you're given a long time for the speech, or you have no time limit at all, you should still keep the speech brief, funny and informative.
Consider your audience. A speech for an 80th-birthday party is going to be much different from, for example, a speech for a 21st-birthday party. The humour will need to be different, and the content will need to be different. Think about the person you are writing the speech for and think about his or her personality to determine the content.
Write your introduction first. Let your audience know who you are and why you are there. For example, if it is your grandfather's 80th-birthday party, start by saying, "Hi, my name is Y, and I am X's grandson." Your audience will immediately warm to you and want to listen to your speech.
Decide on the information you want included in the speech. Do you want stories of the birthday boy or girl's childhood or adolescence? Do you want to include messages from other people? Some people think bullet pointing speech topics helps with this part of the process.
Come up with a suitable conclusion to your speech. For example, you could say, "Thanks for listening...Can we all raise our glasses to X, who is 80 today?". This will conclude your speech and make it feel rounded and finished. Unsuccessful speeches feel unfinished to the audience, and you do not want that to be the case with yours.
Add pictures or video footage to your speech. If you want extra help during your speech, or if you are not feeling confident, prepare a slideshow of footage that could be played behind you as you are delivering your speech. You could include pictures of the birthday boy or girl's birth, childhood, and marriage, or pictures of their parents and their family. You could also include a pre-recorded birthday message from other relatives.
Keep calm. Speeches can be extremely nerve wracking, but the worst thing you can do is get worked up.
Tips and warnings
- Keep calm. Speeches can be extremely nerve wracking, but the worst thing you can do is get worked up.