"Here's to you ..."
June is all about celebrations: weddings, anniversaries, graduations, Father’s Day, even Flag Day. And celebrations often involve giving a toast, an ancient party ritual involving a filled glass and a speech. Just in case you’re the speech-giver this month, we’ve got four key tips on delivering the perfect toast.
1. Keep it short. Toasts are a brief salute to a person or couple. Try and keep the speech under five minutes. That’s long enough to convey several meaningful points about the honoree. Conversely, too short a toast, “Dad, you’re the best,” lacks impact and sincerity.
2. Make it relevant. Memorable toasts include specific details or stories about the person. At a wedding, you can certainly toss in some clever musings about love and constancy. You can even quote a few lines of poetry. But the audience also wants to hear how you know and what you know about the happy couple.
3. Use speaking notes. Create a short outline of the toast that uses just a few words on an index card. These key words help you remember your content, so you don’t need to memorize the toast. Just look down silently, see a point on the outline, then raise your eyes to the audience and speak about that point. Repeat until you’ve finished.
4. Follow protocol. When it's time to deliver the toast, the toast-maker usually stands up. Even at a small gathering, standing adds a pleasing formality to the occasion. Raise your glass to whomever you’re toasting and begin your speech by looking at them with a warm smile. Then turn and address the audience. End the toast by looking at the honoree again and saying, “Cheers!” or “Here’s to you!” These traditional endings provide the cue for everyone, including you, to sip from their glass.
Enjoy the start to summer and happy toasting.
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