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I teach a class titled: How to Give a Good Peerage Speech. I have taught it at Pennsic.  I have also taught it one on one to people who are freaking out that they have to give one.

As a service to all courts everywhere, I am sharing my notes.  Go forth and give good speech.

How to Craft a Good Peerage Speech:  Countess Marguerite inghean Lachlainn -East.

In writing:

Rule 1: Know the reactions of your candidate.
Rule 2: Keep your speech short. No, really. Short.  I don't care if your persona is long winded. Short. There will be 5 or 6 people speaking. It needs to be only 2 to 3 minutes.
Rule 3: Address to the candidate, the crown AND the populace.
Rule 4: You can keep mundane references in, but disguise them.  No inside jokes unless you are prepared to explain them.
Rule 5: Remember which virtue/branch of the society you are representing when you make your speech and speak to that. If you are a populace speaker, then speak of the candidate's influence among the populace and the respect they have for them.
Rule 6:  (There is no rule 6)
Rule 7: Do not give your CV. You have been asked by the crown to speak and you are representing your order or the populace, you don't need to explain why you have the right to speak here.  Do however, give you name. Even if everyone already knows you.
Rule 8: This speech is not about you.  It is not about your persona, it is not about how you know the candidate. It is about why they exemplify the best qualities you are speaking about as the representative of your order.

In delivery:

Rule 1:  Memorize if you can.  If you can’t, have notes on a small piece of paper. If you must read from a long text, be very familiar with it so you can look up from it and make eye contact with people.   If you are looking down at a piece of paper the sound gets lost in your chest.
Rule 2: Assess the space where you are speaking.  Is it open air? Listen to the space as court is going on.  Is there background noise? Does the room eat sound? Is it echoy? Is there an archway through which you are going to need to throw your voice. It's court, it is never going to be a small space.  You are going to need to keep your volume up, but you may need to modify the speed of your delivery.
Rule 3: Address the candidate, the crown AND the populace.  Make eye contact with them. Smile back if someone is grinning at you.
Rule 4: Loud.  No, really. Louder.

Moments of Failure:

Rule 1: There will always be one. Accept it. It is what is going to make your speech memorable.
Rule 2: It's okay to laugh at yourself when you mess up. It makes you more approachable and human.
Rule 3: It is okay (excellent really) if the emotion you are feeling enters your voice. That's a bonus, not a flaw.


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