Birthday Speech - Ten Tips on What Not to Say

by: Niamh Crowe

1. Don’t mention age in your birthday speech unless it’s a specific birthday to celebrate like a 21st or a 50th. Some people like to celebrate every birthday but prefer not to have their actual age mentioned.

2. Never tell a rude story. Birthdays are quite often family events and grandma might be offended whatever about the birthday boy or girl.

3. Don’t mention anything embarrassing. The celebrant might not want it known to his or her guests that he/she has a drink problem and his/her family might have wanted to keep such news a secret.

4. Never talk about deceased family or friends in your birthday speech unless the guest of honour does him or herself or it is appropriate to say that the deceased is surely with you in spirit. Sometimes grief is still raw and it is better to leave such mentions unsaid rather than upset the birthday boy or girl or indeed any of the guests.

5. Don’t mention sad events. Birthday speeches should be upbeat and optimistic. There may be exceptions of course but unless you are sure it is better to avoid anything that might awaken sad memories.

6. Don’t try to be too funny. Comedians are people with excellent timing and training. Most of us cannot write witty speeches and certainly cannot deliver them. It’s better to be light-hearted and genuine rather than trying to write a script suitable for a TV comedy hour.

7. Don’t call the celebrant by a pet name if it is an intimate one between you. A husband might not want all the guys in the football club to know you call him cuddly bear! Your son would be hugely embarrassed to be called mummy’s baby boy. It’s alright of course to call him Pat instead of Patrick,

8. Your birthday speech should not offend anyone in any way. So you don’t say that John’s friends are only there for the free bar. It may be true in a few cases but you should not insult the birthday boy/girl’s guests.

9. In your birthday speech, don’t mention things the guests don’t know about or understand. If you have a secret joke with the birthday boy or girl keep it secret or tell the guests the story of your remarks.

10. Don't write reams. Birthdays are social occasions and people want to party not listen to your rambling on for twenty minutes. Three or four minutes would be more appropriate

Keep it short
When you have the floor
You’ll wow the guests
Have them shouting “More”

About The Author

Niamh Crowe
Copyright Speechwriters 1992-2007
Tel. +353 1 8333599

This article was posted on June 27, 2007