Thursday, August 25, 2011

The After Dinner Speech

VDS Brink

The after dinner speech has a specific purpose. It is a special time when friends old and new reflect on a day of learning and context. It could be a conference, a wedding, a family get together, yearend function, a charity fund raising or some community event.
The After Dinner is none other as any speech with a great beginning and an even greater ending and a logical flow in between. The enemies are numerous: alcohol mellowed listeners, lively interpersonal discussion, interrupting waiters, no podium, bad lightning, sound systems not working properly..

Visit the venue early, consult with your introducer, liaise with the caterers, sound people and have a candle ready for an Eskom attack. Do not do a PowerPointed thing, now is the time for your voice, your face and your body language to coin it.
Mellowed by Nederburg and Castle, the scene is informal and the speech should aim at it.

The best time is not after dinner, but earlier after the hors d oeuvres. The audience will be more receptive. The chairman is to get all waiters off the floor, introduce you properly and floor is wide open and yours only.  

No matter what they ask, keep it short, less than 12 minutes, spice with humour and stories, yet end with something inspirational. Avoid serious technical talk; that is for another place and time.

Offer something to think about, an original point of view that will inspire the audience.  Know where you are. Recognize the atmosphere of the event or celebration. Realize to whom you are talking - try to flow the after dinner speech topic in the mind set of the guests. 

Make serious points by spicing with humour. Apply a good sense so that is relevant to your message, the audience, the atmosphere and the purpose of the event. 

Tell them why your the dinner topic is important to you and your audience.
Use posters, pictures, use real things.. 

It is in the evening, we all love some sadness, end off inspirational, portray a dream leave them wondering..

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