Slides are a bit like a drug. Prescribed correctly and in small doses they can work miracles. Abused and, at best, they induce narcolepsy. They are also addictive (usually in the lethal PowerPoint form), and over-used by businesses, presenters and indeed grooms, best men and even the odd father-of-the-bride around the world.

When it comes to using slides in a wedding speech, here are some tips for getting the prescription just right.

Best man using slides in his wedding speech

Write Your Speech First

Write your speech before you create your slides. That way they will always illustrate your key points rather than repeat them.

Check You Can Use Them

Check that the wedding venue has the appropriate equipment for your slides.

Use Your Slides Correctly

Try to use the slide as the punch line, rather than leaving the audience wondering what it’s doing there in the first place.

Allow Focus

Aim to have no more than a handful of words or a single image on a slide.

Make Them Big

Don’t forget that your slides need to be big enough to be seen by short-sighted people at the back of the room.

Don’t Let Them Distract

Whilst it’s useful to use slides to divert attention from you if you’re nervous about having everyone’s eyes on you, don’t let them completely detract from what you’re saying. First and foremost you want your audience to listen to you.

Use Break Slides

For this reason, use ‘break’ slides (i.e. a blank or generic slide), ensuring the slides don’t distract the guests from listening to the speech. If a slide has caused a particular laugh or stir, this also enables you to take back control of the room. This is particularly important if you are trying to make a serious point after a comic slide.

Practise with Your Slides

As you would with your speech, practise with your slides, rather than hoping they all come together on the day.

Don’t Go Overboard

Finally, whilst the odd slide can add value, too many can suffocate the speech, so don’t get carried away.

I hope this helps you on your way to the successful use of slides in your wedding speech.

Guest post by Lawrence Bernstein of Great Speech Writing

Image from Ian Shoots Weddings