Fortieth birthday party, celebration and gift ideas. Happy 40th Birthday!

Fortieth Birthday Party Speech

by Andrew Turner

When my wife turned 40, we wanted to celebrate in a big way, invite all our friends and let our hair down in style. The preceding few years had been dogged by problems with my business and, much more distressingly, by Helen herself suffering a long illness, which we finally saw the back of only a couple of months before her 40th birthday. So, along with the start of her fifth decade, we were celebrating her return to health and vigour. All in all, it was a very special occasion and we wanted to give it a bit of ceremony as well as having a good time. For this reason, I decided I would make a speech at the party, a kind of a tribute to Helen's courage and resilience and a chance to publicly tell her how proud I am of her.

I was pleased with my idea and, although she pretended to think it was silly and unnecessary, Helen liked it too. But then it dawned on me that, cosy as it might sound to say some nice things about my wife in the company of our friends, about 60 people were coming and actually making a speech in front of that size of audience was a long way out of my comfort zone. If I'm honest, any sort of public speaking made me nervous and as the day got closer and closer I began to regret having ever suggested making this ****** speech. Helen said to forget it then but I didn't want to let her down and I was determined to make a success of it.

I looked around on the internet for help and advice and I came across a public speaking coach, who offered to teach me the skills and build my confidence, in time for the party and for a very reasonable fee. It might sound strange to say that I was dreading the training session as much as the real speech but I was. I only went ahead because I didn't want to let Helen down after all she's been through - the things we do for love, eh? Logically, I knew it made sense to get some coaching but I had this nagging fear that it would be nothing more than a dress rehearsal with added criticism to make me feel really useless. How wrong I was!

Photo of Andy making a great speech at his wife's 40th birthday partyThe coach turned out to be very supportive and encouraging. She helped me tweak the content of my speech so that it was easier to say and she showed me how to deliver it with conviction, in a way that sounded sincere rather than recited. It was one on one training, so I didn't need to worry about anyone else - it was all about me and I could give my speech over and over until I got it right. She also gave me some tips about how to control my nerves and feel positive about speaking to 60 people who'd had enough to drink by then that they wouldn't spare my feelings!

In the end, my speech went down a storm and I was on a high for the rest of the night. Helen shed a tear, which she assured me was not despair but a happy emotion, and a lot of our friends said afterwards they were impressed because they never knew I could do public speaking.

So it can be done! If I can do it, you can do it. Making a speech at your partner's 40th birthday party doesn't have to be an ordeal - in fact it can be a moment of triumph for you and for the person you're making the tribute to. But I do recommend you get some coaching first, just to make sure!

My coach's name is Georgina Kirk and her website is http://www.public-speaking-skills.co.uk/. She comes with the Turner seal of approval.

Enjoy the party!


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