Obama’s Former Speech Writer Shares the Secrets to Giving the Perfect Wedding Toast

Here’s the skinny…

  • Keep it short and sweet
  • Don’t tell a bad joke
  • Stick with a narrative
  • Act natural
  • Stir the crowd’s emotions


Photo courtesy of Vogue

Photo courtesy of Vogue

The American election strategy is ultimately a war of convincing words. Promises, praises, and pontifications are what voters get up until November and then after the ballot box, things start to get more concrete. While last week’s words at the RNC were laced with ruminations on the disastrous state of the union, this week’s DNC seems ripe with praise and promise. Michelle Obama scored big with her convention speech by lifting the spirits of a divided party and empowering the country to embrace the progress made not only by electing the first black president—twice—but also by nominating the first woman to run for the office of Commander in Chief.

Jon Favreau was one of the architects of this kind of progressive, positive rhetoric. At the age of 26, he became the chief speechwriter for Obama’s 2008 campaign and was brought on as an official White House staff member after the victory in 2009, where he remained with the title Director of Speechwriting until 2013. The “Yes We Can” kid from Boston helped Obama stir the Democrats into an excited, united front and his arsenal was laced with one simple word: hope.

Now, Favreau lives in L.A. and runs the communications firm Fenway Strategies. He still makes a living consulting on word strategy, but in his life outside of the office, he’s often approached about giving speaking advice to friends and family as it pertains to common, nonpolitical events. One such instance is the wedding toast. And isn’t it a bit similar to a convention speech, after all? Trying to unite two sides, making the room feel a certain way, evoking tears or laughter. In the politics of life, giving a wedding speech is about praising love and promising a flourishing unity. In plain old politics and the elusive war of words, it should be just the same.

Read the full article here.

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