I’m a groomsman in a large out of town wedding and was asked to make a roast at the dinner. I hate public speaking. What’s your best advice?

I’m a groomsman in a large out of town wedding and was asked to make a roast at the dinner. I hate public speaking. What’s your best advice? –@Trader220

I have never given a roast. But I have been asked twice to help someone else write their and prepare for their roast, and it worked out well. I have four pieces of advice:

Read the post mentioned above: 11 Unusual Methods for Being a Public Speaker http://bit.ly/jFlvrL).

Watch 30 minutes of standup comedy about a half hour before the roast. I had to give a talk for Fidelity last week. The talk was about stocks. Did I prepare by reading the Wall Street Journal? Of course not! I prepared by watching Ellen Degeneres do standup and watching an episode of the Jon Stewart Show. They have perfect timing. To even have 1/10 of that rub off on you will multiply your abilities by ten.

Tell stories. Don’t tell how you feel. Tell funny stories (but not inappropriate ones) about the groom. Stories have a beginning, middle, and end, and some suspense to them in the middle.

It’s great that you are nervous about it. Don’t be afraid to be afraid. Fear is very natural in public speaking. Say to yourself, “thank god I’m afraid, else I’d definitely give a bad roast.” Observe the fear. Say hello to it. Give it a chair so it can kick back inside of you and relax. Don’t try and run from it. It’s a natural part of the process of public speaking. When you acknowledge that, then you can get back to the business of being funny for your roast.

Bonus advice: Jeff Ross has written an excellent book about giving roasts. I recommend it.

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