Do you find them a joy to be on the receiving end of, great to witness when someone else is giving one, but difficult to write if you have to
prepare it yourself?
Often the problem is not that you don't want to publicly acknowledge the person or their birthday. It's more a case of agony caused through
not knowing where to start.
Perhaps you've read my birthday speech tips page and are caught up wondering what to put in, what to leave out, how long will the speech take to say when it's finished, and what joke or special quotation to use, if any?
Now I know this struggle, because I've been there, done that and chewed the tops of pencils down too.
So to help preserve your pencil collection and sanity here's an example to alleviate at least some of the pain of writing birthday speeches!
Before you rush on to read, you need context. That is you need to know who this birthday speech was for, who wrote it, why the birthday was significant and the setting it was delivered in. This will help you make sense of it.
Although I wrote this speech especially for you, we're pretending it was written for the 50th birthday of a man called Alan West and delivered at a party for friends and family by his close friend Mark.
As you read it, imagine you are hearing it spoken aloud.
"Good evening all. It's great to have you here.
Most of you know my feeling on birthdays. Generally I say, what's the big deal? By the time you've had over thirty, there should be a cease and desist order against them.
They're not unusual. Everybody has them and at the same rate as everybody else - one a year. They happen whether you want them to or not. Believe me, I know. I've had quite a few and looking around this room I can see it's the same for others as well.
So why are we here?
It's not to celebrate the inevitable passage of time but something more. Everyone has birthdays but not everyone is my friend, Alan West.
Alan, you are unique. And today I'm gladly putting aside my grumbles about birthday speeches, balloons, presents and silly hats, to honor you.
Alan, you've reached the 50 milestone. 50 birthdays, that's a whole lot of living. Enough to establish the character of a man, to know who he is. And I've known you through about 30 of them.
So what I want to know is, when are you going to give up the idea that you're a surfer? We all know your geriatric surfboard has gone to the beach with you every summer for the last 15 years and never once got wet. Millie says you're waiting for the big one. I say it happened in 1980 but you were too busy zinc coating your nose to notice. Rumor has it that your surfboard has been bolted to the top of whatever your current wagon is ever since.
Likewise that growing collection of running shoes. He says he can't seem to get a good fit these days. I say his days of being good and fit are long since gone, up and over the hill.
And then there's the annual season tickets to 10 nights of film festival screenings. They seem like a good idea. They were a good idea in the days when the quotient of surplus energy to the number of hours in a day was higher.
Doesn't he know, he's at that age when his back is expected to go out more frequently than himself?
But seriously folks, aside from his lamentable quirks of character Alan is a friend - a real one. He's there when you need him - offering practical advice on just about everything, from how to unblock the drains to how to meet personal tragedy with courage. And Alan's not a mere theorist who has read the books. He walks his talk and walks it tall.
I know he's shy about having his good deeds displayed in public. A less kind person might say that's because if everybody knew just how helpful he could be, he'd be called upon all the time. And that would mean no time for polishing the surfboard or adding another pair of shoes to the collection. But I know better. He's modest. However on this occasion I'm going to ignore his finer feelings. This is a public celebration and Alan, you've been 'outed'.
I thought it would be great to list all the personal and lovable qualities we admire here. I asked around. I had a couple of offers. One from Sam who mentioned his foot size was similar to yours and that his runners were down at heel. The other was from my son who said he'd be willing to take the film passes off his hands.
Neither was the type of thing I had in mind. So I was forced to think for myself.
Alan, you're a touchstone in my life. For 30 years we've stood by each other through the good as well as difficult, challenging times.
I value your opinion (when it's not on the merits of old surfboards). I value the way we can agree to disagree and still count each other as friends. I admire your humor and humility. Then there's your persistence which some might call stubbornness. I could go on but because I want to preserve what's left of our friendship and myself, I won't. They say, looks can't kill but the one you're giving me now seems murderous.
So before I'm forcibly shut-up, I'll do it myself.
In conclusion, please raise your glasses to Alan, to friendship and to birthdays. May you have many more."
Now it's your turn to write a birthday speech, go back to the page on how to write a speech and begin. Once you've done that, you've got the hardest part over!
Do you want to check over another speech before you begin? Here's a 40th celebration toast from a mother to her daughter.
Are you stuck with a speech, trapped by perfection paralysis?
You want to say it right but words are slippery.
You get one safely down. But the next three slide away and then, the first one is no good any more.
What you imagined was straightforward is more STOP than GO.
Would having your speech written for you help?
Allow me to take your worry away.
I can review what you've done if you've started, and finish
Want to see sample speeches?
There's one on the page you're reading right now.
How do I get started?
Begin by contacting me through the form on my 'speech writer' page.
When you do, you can speed the process up by sending any notes you've got and telling me:
I will be in touch with you within 24 hours.
Extras - Delivery Help
How and when do I pay?
When do I pay?