If you haven’t learned how to make a toast, you better prepare for that impromptu moment because sooner or later, someone will ask you to make one without any notice. The odds for that happening are even higher as we enter the holiday party season.
It happened to me this weekend when a friend asked me to make a toast at a party. He didn’t give me any notice or even ask me in private if I was okay with giving the toast. He just asked me in front of everyone to make a toast to the celebration and I couldn’t shy down.
After the toast, a girlfriend asked me if I had prepared the speech in advance because my words were authentic and — in her words moving — She said the toast made our celebration have that much more meaning.
Truth is – I did have a little help. A few months earlier, I read an article on how to make the perfect toast. Here are a few tips I shared with her that can help you sound like a poet or politician during any toast.
Bring your Drink to Chest and keep Arm Lifted
1). When you start your toast, raise your drink to your chest and keep your arm lifted throughout the speech. This gesture will look natural and ensure that you don’t babble on past the moment of meaning.
Many people make the mistake of talking too long and losing direction with their words. If your arm is lifted, it will keep this from happening. As soon as your hand starts to get tired, wrap it up. It’s about the same amount of attention span that people have when it comes to listening to toasts.
Don’t Read from Notes
2). Don’t read from any notes when making a toast. Be authentic and natural with your words. The purpose of a toast is to raise sentiment, which means the words need to come from your heart.
We’ve all heard toasts where people try to use humor with their toast. The best toast will elevate the mood to a higher moment and humor rarely does that. While jokes may make people laugh, the purpose of the toast is not to try out your standup routine. So, speak from the heart.
Focus on 3 People
3). Many people get nervous when asked to make a toast. Not everyone likes speaking in front of crowds, which is okay. If you need to give a toast, you can get over the jitters by focusing on 3 or 4 friendly faces. It’s easy to say don’t worry what people will say, but it has truth. What is the worst that can happen? Nothing: so when you make your toast keep it simple and share what is in your heart.
Don’t Try to be a Poet
4). Don’t use any words that rhyme or quote any popular Irish toasts. These toasts will not heighten any mood and they will make you look like a dork.
Don’t Move Around
5). Stay in one place when giving your toasts. Many people start to move around in hopes of being seen by everyone or perhaps they do the nervous dance to calm their nerves. Keep your feet planted and just move your upper body. This is no time to work a room.
Don’t use these Cliche Phrases
6). And here are a few phrases you should try to stay away from: “furthermore”, “and it goes something like this.” “in closing” or any other gratuitous words that don’t add value to the toast.
And if you finish your speech but forgot to add a few crucial points, it’s okay. No one knows. In fact, now that I think of it, I left out some good points with my toast, but my arm started to get tired. And we all know what that means. Wrap it up.