Stuck for words? Don't know where to start your birthday speech? If you need professional speechwriting tips, samples or services, you've come to the right place. I've written hundreds of speeches, so I have many insider tips and samples to offer you.
Because your loved one's birthday celebration is important enough to call for a speech from you, it's not enough to just get it right — you need to make yours memorable.
Go the extra mile with these professional speechwriting tips.
8 things to consider before you write your birthday speech
1. Decide to write a formal or informal speech
You'll need a formal speech (an average-length speech) for a formal reception
Give an informal speech (a shorter version) for a casual house party
2. Consider your audience
Find out who's invited to the birthday celebration. Only family? Family and friends? Co-workers? The boss?
Tailor your speech to give your audience exactly what you think they want, need and/or expect to hear. For example, if your audience is mostly made up of family and friends, get a little personal with your birthday speech.
Use a presentation style and project a personality that fits your audience.
3. Find out if you're the only speaker
As the only speaker, you'll need to cover many topics.
If you're one of many speakers, you may only have to cover one subject.
4. Pick the right tone of voice
Generally, your tone should be light-hearted, funny, sincere, congratulatory and upbeat.
5. Avoid anything hurtful or embarrassing
You can be humorous (i.e. tease the birthday boy or girl) but, as I mentioned above, be playful, not mean-spirited.
Don't use any obscene language, unless the audience calls for it (again, know your room).
Don't be off-color or pornographic in any way (most people don't enjoy anything too X-rated in mixed company).
Never delve into any sensitive subject areas, like alcoholism (this will just turn the birthday celebration into a nightmare).
6. Determine how long you should speak
If you're making an informal speech, make your birthday speech at least three minutes in length (the gold standard).
Make your birthday speech longer than three minutes (but no longer than six or seven minutes) when it's for a major milestone birthday (40th, 50th, 60th, 70th, 80th, 90th or 100th birthday).
Generally, use the KISS (Keep it Short and Simple) rule. The shorter the speech, the more memorable it will be.
7. Prepare and practice to stay calm
Preparation and practice will help you overcome a chunk of your public speaking fears.
Practice your speech until you can deliver it easily (until you have all the phrasing, pauses and timing exactly right).
How long should you practice? That depends on you. But the rule of thumb is as follows: for every four minutes,you should practice four hours.
Practice delivering the speech in front of a friend or family member you trust (this is one of the best ways to overcome stage fright).
Kevin, the "Message Guy" who writes the birthday wishes, quotes, poems, toasts and speeches on BirthdayMessages.net, has been a content writer since 1993. In 2012, Kevin created this site to share the incredible power of words with birthday well-wishers everywhere.