The dinner speech is a special form of speech which is addressed to the people gathered at a table before, after or during a meal and deals with the occasion of the meeting.

Dinner speeches are usually given in a form appropriate to the occasion, which is usually reflected in a solemn and at the same time entertaining character of content and style. Their function is to make the sense and meaning of the meeting present to those attending, as well as to offer possibilities for connecting to the discussion at the table by pointing to similarities.

In most cases, a dinner speech is given before or after a meal, but sometimes also between two courses. Usually, dinner speeches are given at dinner; they are not uncommon at lunch, whereas they are rarely given at breakfast or brunch. It is common for the speaker to address the dinner party from his or her seat, to which he or she rises and announces his or her dinner speech by making his or her glass ring with the help of his or her cutlery.

The word dinner speech refers to both a genre of presentation and a literary genre of written text.

A dinner speech in the sense of a presentation genre is a verbally presented one-sided verbal communication of one’s own thoughts in coherent form as prose, which is addressed before, after or during a meal to the persons gathered at the table as listeners and which thematizes the occasion of the meeting.

A dinner speech in the sense of a literary genre is a written text in the form of a prose, which is the basis for a verbally presented one-sided verbal communication of one’s own thoughts in coherent form, which is addressed before, after or during a meal to the persons gathered at the table as listeners and which deals with the occasion of the meeting.

How to Cite

The definition outlined above was first published in: Jörn Lengsfeld: Glossary of Public Speaking. Please refer to the original publication if you want to cite the text.