Call In: How to Deliver a Good Speech

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Nathan Phillips and Victoria Wellman, co-founders of the Oratory Laboratory, have vowed to save future weddings and public speeches from the terrible fate of the awkward applause and forced laughs.

Ask your questions about how to make a good speech, or tell us a story about the best or worst speeches you've heard. Comment below!


Nathan Phillips and Victoria Wellman

Comments [18]

The Oratory Laboratory from Brooklyn,NY

You've got a unique challenge because the roast has really changed since Comedy Central has come onto the scene. The two man comedic toast requires preparation and great listening. It's up to you to make sure your roast is appropriate for the occasion. Stay away from canned humor from books and when it comes to sharing inside jokes with the public, keep this in mind "Don't punish people for what they don't know, reward them for what they do."

re:#4 "Would hire a wordsmith who uses the phrase very unique?"
We appreciate your feedback, but would like to point out that your question seems to be a wee bit short on nouns... better luck next time! ;)

Sep. 02 2009 03:58 PM
Petter from Wash Heights

item 14 is way on topic - our president was coronated in large part due to his superior oratory skills - it's important to demystify and deconstruct speaking skills - whether they are of the common man or the ruling aristorcracy

Sep. 02 2009 02:46 PM
John from Bergen County NJ

Item 14 is way off topic.

Sep. 02 2009 12:08 PM
merrill from NYC

A female friend told me her brother told my friend's husband at their wedding reception: "I am handing over my sister to you but I am giving you a bit of advice: Please keep your hands to yourself if you do not want any problems with me." My friend said it was a great wedding night.

Sep. 02 2009 12:02 PM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

Does it matter whether or not you tell the truth? I ask this question because when ever I see a Democrat mouth moving, particularly while giving a speech, they are always lying; even when there is video or audio tape of them espousing opposite opinions often just weeks or months earlier.

Under the “Rules for Radicals” it only matters that you get the populace to do what you want them to do in the next step to further the Marxist struggle agaisnt America.

Sep. 02 2009 12:01 PM
jodi from brooklyn

My Dad stood up at my rehearsal dinner, everyone fell silent to hear what he had to say, which went something like this: "Everyone, I just wanted to say...there is construction on the LIE so you might want to build that in to your driving time (for the wedding) tomorrow". There was dead silence after and then awkward applause!

Sep. 02 2009 11:59 AM
Marie from Connecticut

At my wedding in May, my brother-in-law tried to be humorous by mentioning the first time I went to Texas to visit my husband, and was surprised by the overwhelming odor of cow dung. To reference the moment, he said, "Marie, we all know how unpleasant it was when you first smelled Texas, and we all know that Brian kind of smells sometimes, too, but, apparently, you don't mind. So, congratulations." He then tipped the microphone to us, because he forgot to pick up a glass of champagne!

Luckily, most of the guests were chatting and missed his toast! :)

Sep. 02 2009 11:58 AM
Stella from Manhattan

I attended a wedding where the pregnant 40-something bride, in a speech to her groom, said "I have my victory."

Sep. 02 2009 11:58 AM
Scrappy from Brooklyn

Once I heard and analogy, "love is like an operation, you remove your heart and your partners heart, switch them, and try not to shed too much blood in the process"

Sep. 02 2009 11:58 AM
JC Brotherhood from Nyack

31 years ago my father commented in a toast that our marriage was akin to the little dog who walks on his hind feet in the circus, not that it has been done well, but that it has been done at all.
Were still married but Dad has gone on to his his reward and I miss him terrbly.

Sep. 02 2009 11:57 AM
John Clark from Brooklyn, NY

My brother and I have to give a joint speech at our older brother's wedding this Saturday. We've decided to deliver it in the form of a roast. Do you have an suggestions or etiquette tips for giving a roast?


Sep. 02 2009 11:57 AM
Kate from Brooklyn

My husband was the best man at a wedding and said: "If this works it will be great...if it doesn't..." He realized he'd messed up before he could finish the sentence. They didn't make it more than 3 years.

Sep. 02 2009 11:56 AM
Scrappy from Brooklyn

I once heard at a wedding: From a groom's friend & ex-girlfriend

Geeze, I can't believe you found a woman that can put up with your garbage. Haha, just kidding!

she wasn't kidding and everyone knew

Sep. 02 2009 11:56 AM
Maggie from New York

Take a look at the Mitchell and Webb sketch about the Best Man Speech on YouTube it's really funny

Sep. 02 2009 11:55 AM
John from Bergen County NJ

Would hire a wordsmith who uses the phrase very unique?
I would not.

Sep. 02 2009 11:53 AM
Wedding goer from Inwood, Manhattan

I had a friend who thought it was open mic and grabbed the microphone after the best man was done. He explained how great the match was because unlike the other boyfriends of the bride, the groom does not get jealous over her infidelities.

Believe it or not, the speaker wasn't drunk. The bride, to her credit, maintained a smile the whole time.

Sep. 02 2009 11:52 AM
Andy from Brooklyn

I spoke an apparently horrible wedding speech line: I referenced the groom's flatulence, yet still what he found most ridiculous is that I said, "You guys seem to have a good thing going." What's so wrong with that line?

Sep. 02 2009 11:52 AM
Scrappy from Brooklyn

These two are geniuses! Their speeches are amazing and are destined to be great. Question for Victoria:Is speech writing for women your task or do you both participate? Same question for Nathan.

Sep. 02 2009 11:34 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.