Definition

A speech for a birthday guest presented by a relative (a parent, a child, etc.), a close friend or a colleague. A birthday speech traditionally contains stable congratulatory expressions and expressions of wish.

Characteristics

A birthday speech can be of two types: a formal speech and a casual one. Generally, the difference between these types of a birthday speech is purely situational because a formal birthday speech is presented at a reception in a restaurant or a hotel whereas a casual one is held during a friends’ party. However, more profound structural differences exist as well: a casual birthday speech should have a starling opening to attract the attention of all the guest traditionally communicating in small groups, it is relatively shorter and contains a lot of personal details concerning the birthday guest.

Structure/outline

Birthday speeches may differ considerably because the content of a speech literally evolves with time: the 21st birthday is considered a “passage” while the 50th birthday marks a symbolic zenith of human life. Yet it is possible to trace a kind of a model outline for any birthday speech as a toast:

1) Welcoming the birthday guest;

2) Telling a story revealing his/her remarkable qualities and presenting this person from some unexpected but very positive angle;

3) Expressing gratitude for what the person did for the family, colleagues and friends;

4) Congratulating the birthday guest and wishing him/her health, love, success, and many happy returns of the day.

Humor and mild kidding are a welcome part of a birthday speech, which can be:

1) professional (formal);

2) playful;

3) complex (i.e. combing a formal structuring with some jovial and humorous elements).

Requirements

A birthday speech should be ~3-min. long, audible, laconic and centered. General requirements of logical structuring and emotional representation are applicable