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  • Holly Blum, The Word Whisperer

5 Ways Special Occasion Speeches Will Change in 2019

As a speechwriter, I’ve written countless speeches to celebrate all different kinds of occasions-- weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, birthday parties, baby showers, even funerals. As an event-goer, I’ve sat through my fair share of speeches and toasts, silently rooting for the speaker to make me smile (and not cringe). Throughout the years I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to write and deliver a winning speech. Based on these learnings, I wanted to share the trends I’ll be tracking around special occasion speeches as we kick off a new year. Here are my predictions for 2019:

1. Speeches will be shorter (hallelujah)!

The prevalence of texting and social media has trained us to keep things short and sweet. Today’s technology simply doesn’t leave room for long-windedness. As a result, we’ve become more and more conditioned to get straight to the point. I think that this drive to say what we want to say without going overboard will continue to cross over to the speech realm. We will see more toasters keep their speeches to 2-3 minutes and then relinquish control of the microphone. This is welcome news to everyone who has sat through an endless string of speeches while desperately itching to get back to the party.

2. More brides will make speeches.

If anyone can set a new trend it’s the royals. After Meghan Markle broke tradition and delivered a speech at her wedding to Prince Harry, she motivated other brides to follow suit. I predict that brides across the world are thinking about how to create a moment her guests (and her groom) will remember forever. I would even venture to say that 2019 is poised to be the year when brides’ voices are heard loud and clear.

3. Speeches will be more personalized.

If the event industry has taught us anything recently it’s that there’s no such thing as too much personalization. Party throwers are constantly finding new ways to customize their celebrations and stamping them with their signature style. I predict that this quest for personalization will extend to speeches, particularly with wedding couples looking for inventive approaches to infusing their personality into absolutely everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if brides and grooms supply the people speaking on their behalf with thoughtful suggestions for how they can make their speeches reflect the personal touches they are striving for throughout their celebration.

4. Heartfelt will reign over humor.

Big celebratory events are one of the few times when speechgivers can truly express themselves and their love for the guest(s) of honor. And while speeches may be getting shorter, I have seen the substance becoming more heartfelt and emotional. Humor always has a place, but it’s the sentimental stories and memories that are remembered for the long haul. Emojis be gone-- I predict that today’s special occasion speeches will put feelings and emotions center stage.

5. Speeches will incorporate better storytelling (hopefully)!

One of the greatest downfalls of a celebratory speech is when it’s disorganized. A good clue is when the speaker rambles or fails to connect the speech in a cohesive way. The explosion of content (in general) and podcasts (more specifically) have taught people about the importance of well-structured storytelling. I think more and more people are keeping the art of storytelling in mind when crafting their speeches. Hopefully this will lead to more speeches being compelling from beginning to middle to end.

Whether you’re planning to give a speech at one of life’s biggest events or just to listen to someone else speak, keep these predictions in mind. I’d love to hear whether the next speech you hear is en trend or not.

Cheers to a wonderful 2019!

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