Best Man speech length
The length of a speech is probably one of the most important factors contributing to its success. A lot of guys are understandably feeling really nervous, and so because of that want to be up there for as short a time as possible. You really need to resist that urge. Don’t get us wrong – there’s nothing worse than talking for too long, but busting out a 3 minute speech is not going to kick it and is just going to make it look like you couldn’t be bothered.
Things are different in the US. Shorter speeches are the order of the day, and most best men will only speak for about 4 minutes maximum. In the UK and Australia, the talking time is more like 8 minutes, that’s what people expect.
The flip side to this are those best men that think talking for longer means the more likely it is they’re going to say something funny. They couldn’t be more wrong. In fact it’s the absolute opposite. In the UK if you’re still standing after the 10 minute mark, you’re on increasingly borrowed time, and guests will ever grow to resent you. We’ve heard many stories of guys who thought 40 minute speeches were where it’s at, and they ruined the speech experience for everyone. You need to remember that in most countries, apart from Australia, you’re the last guy on, and if there’s been 3 or 4 speeches before you, guests could have been sat listening for well over an hour. They are at the very threshold of their attention span, and that needs to be taken into account.
In the US you need your speech to be about 800 words, in the UK it should be around 1300 words. If you read at a steady pace, then the timings will be perfect.