You received the party invitations and, you’ve been elected to give a toast. Whether it’s for a colleague, friend or newlyweds, giving a toast can be a little nerve wracking and intimidating. However, it doesn’t have to be difficult task. If you take the time to create a well thought out speech and practice it a little before the actual occasion, you may just get through it without breaking a sweat! We’ve put together some toast tips to help you prepare.
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Toast Tips for Special Events
Know Your Audience
The best toasts are tailored for the specific audience.
What is the age of the crowd? Will they get your references to bad 80′s hairstyles or do you need to make your anecdotes more general?
Who is in the crowd? Family? Friends? Colleagues? You don’t want to use language or innuendo that may be offensive to certain people in the audience.
Tell a 3 Minute Story
Research suggests that people’s attention spans seem to waver after about 5 minutes. Therefore, you want to time your speech to go no longer than 3 minutes. The goal is to share a sincere and honest nod to the honoree or happy couple. So keep it short and sweet.
Structure your toast like a story. Each toast needs:
A Beginning: Introduce yourself, how you know the person you are toasting, acknowledge that you are happy to be here giving this toast to this person/couple.
A Middle: The middle is where you can really make it your own. Share a famous quote, an anecdotal story, your well wishes etc. This is where knowing your audience will be important. Delivering a toast in a roast type fashion my not always be appropriate. Consider your audience and keep it light. No need to divulge what you and the groom really did that summer of your sophomore year in college. Be sincere and complimentary at some point in your speech. After all, the point is to honor the person or couple, not embarrass them.
An End: Wrap up your toast with a sincere wish of love or congratulations and invite the audience to raise a glass to the person/people. Bring it full circle.
Practice Makes Better
Be sure to practice your speech a lot before you actually give it. Get familiar with the points you want to hit so that it sounds more natural than rehearsed.
Try giving the speech to yourself in front of the mirror. Practice smiling and regular eye contact.
If it helps you to memorize your speech, write it down. But don’t read a speech from paper or note cards when delivering it. The best toasts and speeches are those that create engagement with the audience. Reading from a note card does not create engagement. Make eye contact!
If you really feel you need some kind of written help, write only bullet points on a small card.
Be aware of your posture. Slouching and stuffing your hands in your pockets will not aid in the effectiveness of your toast. Take a deep breath and relax!
As the best man or maid of honor, you may feel tempted to get your “digs” into the happy couple. Or maybe it’s your younger brother’s graduation and you can’t wait to remind everyone of the time his bathing suit fell off in front his crush in grade school. But remember, this is a significant day for this person. And you’ve been asked to deliver a toast in their honor. Humor most certainly has its place but it shouldn’t override the intent of congratulating and making the person/couple feel special. Choose your stories and words carefully. This is the time to tell them just how proud you are.
Whether you are giving a toast as the best man, a father of the bride or as a colleague toasting a fellow team member’s promotion, with these tips for giving a great toast; your toast will not soon be forgotten.
We hope these toast tips were effective and helpful! Shop our stylish collection of personalized party invitations