As you might expect after 30+ years of coaching people about talking in public, I have amassed a wide and varied range of books on the topic. As part of my website resources cleanup I came across one titled “My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen”. It’s a collection of after dinner stories put together by Phyllis Shindler in 1986 as a fundraiser for Guy’s Hospital Paediatric Renal Unit in the United Kingdom.
Over 100 famous people have donated either an anecdote or an excerpt from an after dinner speech they have made. The speeches are entertaining, amusing and fine examples of how little you need to say to get your message across.
For example, the English actress Judi Dench provided this gem – “It has been a wonderful dinner, and as I am no after dinner speaker, may I offer to do the washing up.”
There is also some advice in the foreword from a gentleman who has heard many after dinner speeches. He outlines what makes a speech successful – “…..they should be well spoken, clearly and distinctly, not too fast or yet too slow, with the occasional pause for effect.” Nothing has changed!
You might be able to find a copy through your local second hand bookseller or one of my favourite sites – www.abebooks.com