Toasting is a time-honored tradition at any formal, and even some less official, events. To many, this task is tedious and daunting—a ritual one would all to eagerly remove from any ceremony. To some, it is an opportunity to poke fun at the guests of honor. For all, the toast is a way to pay tribute to your attendees, hosts, and even absent company.
Here are some tips for creating a memorable toast to make the most out of your moment in the limelight.
Host Toasts First
The same way that you wouldn’t eat until everyone’s meal arrives, you must also wait until the host makes a toast before making your own. If you are unsure, ask the host if he plans on speaking before taking it upon yourself to entertain at his event.
Thank the Host/Guests
If you are the host, thank the guests for attending. If you are the guest, thank the host. This is just common courtesy, and will immediately get your audiences attention.
Know Your Audience
Not all toasts are one-size-fits-all. What is said and how it is presented depends heavily on the type of event you are attending, and the guests. If you are speaking in front of family, aim for your words to be loving and nostalgic. If you are speaking in front of coworkers, be light-hearted and never talk badly about your job or boss. If your toast is for friends, it is usually safe to let loose and crack jokes. If you do not know your audience, it is probably best to not to make a toast. Speaking in front of people you do not know is a speech, and this is usually reserved for lectures or instances where you have been called upon to act as an expert.
Work through your nerves and project your voice so that others can hear what you’ve worked hard to prepare. If you are not heard, people will lose interest, and you will have wasted your time, and the guests’.
Keep It Short
It doesn’t take too many words to make memorable toasts. Try to remain under the two-minute mark. In a worst-case scenario, you are boring your audience and they can’t wait for you to stop—keep it at two minutes. In a best-case scenario, you have your audience in stitches with laughter, and now you are stealing the show—keep it at two minutes.
Toasts are a great way to change the pace of an event. Keep these tips in mind when preparing your toast and the audience is sure to love what you come up with!