If you decide to become a professional speaker or use speaking as an integral part of your marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various types of speeches you might be asked to give. In this series of posts, I’ll give you the basics on a variety of types of presentations you can prepare. At the end of this post, I’ve listed previous articles in this series.
What is a toast?
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 toasting and the audience who will be hearing your toast. 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