A toast is a brief speech of congratulations, appreciation, and remembrance for a person … followed by a drink.
This may sound simple enough, but because of the short length and the meaning that it is supposed to carry, many people get very stressed out about writing or developing a proper toast for an upcoming event. What follows are a few tips for creating a memorable, effective and well-received toast.
Tips for effective toasting
- Be prepared. Find out who you will be honoring and the audience who will be hearing your mini-speech. What you will be saying in your toast needs to be appropriate to both.
- Keep it short. Most toasts last no longer than two minutes. Brevity is a blessing.
- Be kind. A toast should be sweet, kind and generous. Do not confuse the toast with a roast, which I will talk about next week.
- Practice. Once you’ve written your toast, practice it. The bathroom mirror is a good place to practice … but any place where you can watch your gestures and become intimately familiar with your words is good.
- Check out the venue. Once you arrive, get to know the area where you’ll be giving your toast. Understand the acoustics. Get comfortable with your space.
- Familiarize yourself with the schedule. Find out where in the event’s agenda you’ll be expected to give the toast. Before uttering the first word, be sure everyone has a drink in their hand and the honoree (if appropriate) is in the room.
- Stay sober. If you like to drink alcohol … save it for after your toast. You want to be clear-headed so you can say your toast well and without slurring your words.
- Gain your audience’s attention. Before giving your toast, get people’s attention. The traditional way to do this is by tapping a glass with a fork or spoon. (Just be careful not to break the glass!)
- Look at the honoree. Although you’ve written this toast for the audience as a whole, you should be delivering it to the honoree. Look him or her in the eye … or at least in his or her general direction.
If you are particularly proud of your toast, you might also consider presenting a printed version to the honoree as a memento of the evening.
Note: The tips for this article were adapted from those given in a speech by one of my fellow Speak Out! Toastmasters.
Resources for creating toasts
- Writing a Great Best Man Toast
- How to Write and Give a Great Wedding Toast
- How To Write An Unforgettable Wedding Toast
- Maid of Honor Toast
- The Art of Giving a Toast
Did you miss these?
Here are the previous posts in this “Type of Speeches” series:
- The Keynote Address
- The Training Session
- The Motivational Speech
- The Entertaining Speech
- The Demonstration
- The Information Dump
- The Inspirational Speech
- The Q & A
- The Persuasive Speech
- The Impromptu Speech
- The Acceptance Speech
- The Commencement Speech
- The Eulogy
The next post in this series is The Roast
Does Speaking Make You Nervous?
Discover 13 practices that will help alleviate your presentation fears and anxiety.
Inside You’ll Learn:
- Five ways to reduce anxiety before your audience arrives.
- Four practices to reduce anxiety as your audience arrives.
- Four things you can do to calm down right before stepping up to the platform.