3 Keys to an Unforgettable Bar Mitzvah Speech

Are you and your son looking forward to giving bar mitzvah speeches? Maybe not so much, right? Here are 3 tips to make your speech meaningful.

That’s OK. In fact, it’s very normal. 

Fear of public speaking is shared by about 77 percent of the population. This fear is so common that it’s even got a name: glossophobia. 

But here’s a first step in overcoming that fear (at least when it comes to bar nitzvah prep): remember that when you step in front of your family and friends at your bar mitzvah– either at the synagogue or at the celebration – everyone will be rooting for you.

And to help further as you prepare for your bar mitzvah, here are three key tips for preparing a bar mitzvah speech that will engage the attention of your guests and leave them (and you) with unforgettable memories…

Start Your Bar Mitzvah Speech Strong

If it seems like attention spans are getting shorter, it’s because they are. There are pros and cons to living in this hyper-connected world. On one hand, we have faster access to more information than at any time in human history. On the other hand, our brains have been rewired to expect instant gratification. 

That means your speech must grab the audience’s attention immediately.

Here are four ways to get your speech off to a great start:

  • Use a quote. Take time to find one that will engage your audience due to its relevance, insight, humor, or because it is from a surprising source. You’ll know the right one when you see it!
  • Begin with the punchline of a story. Once your audience knows how the story ends, they will want to find out how it started. 
  • Make a personal statement. Opening phrases like I can’t stand it when…, Did you ever…, or I never expected to… are definite attention-grabbers. 
  • Start with a joke. This is a tried-and-true way to open a speech. But it can only work if the joke is — of course — funny. How do you know it’s funny? You test it! Repeatedly. With different people.

Deliver a Specific Message in Your Speech

You risk losing your audience’s attention if you are not clear about exactly what you want to convey. That means you are far better off with a short, focused speech than a long, scattered one; so, don’t allow your text to wander far beyond your core message. It’s much better to have everyone wishing you were still speaking than having them desperately waiting for you to end!

Make Your Bar Mitzvah Speech Personal

The more personal you can make your speech, the more compelling and memorable it will be to your audience. Nothing will draw people into what you’re saying more than sharing direct connections between your life experience and your core message. 

To help make your speech personal, consider using phrases like: I know this because…, I learned this by…, I’ll never forget when…, etc.

And one final note…remember the importance of practice! This will ensure that when the big day finally comes, apprehension can be more easily replaced with excitement. 

Wishing you a fun experience in putting your speech together. And if you’d like some help with your son’s Bar Mitzvah speech, I’m happy to help!


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