Dinner parties with friends, holiday celebrations at the office, or traditional family gatherings – it's the perfect time of year to honor any occassion with a toast. But unless you are a trained public speaker, you’ll probably need a little preparation before you raise your glass.
I'll admit that I love a good toast. A heartfelt, well delivered toast can make an event more memorable and meaningful. Here’s everything you need to know to welcome guests and herald in the holiday season:
Timing is Everything. Often, the toast is given as a welcome, and it belongs at the top of the evening. You can also offer a toast during those “between” moments, for example between cocktails and dinner, or between dinner and dessert.
The Host or Hostess Go First. Etiquette experts tell us that the host or hostess should get the chance to offer the first toast, so plan accordingly. A toast is a wonderful way to set the tone for the evening and acknowledge the occasion. If the host has delegated the honor of delivering the first toast, feel free to step up.
Keep it Short and Sweet. Toasts should always be short – about 30 - 40 Seconds. Take it from me, no one wants to hear you ramble on during the toast. Keep it purposeful and positive. Save the stories and jokes for later.
Sincerity over Humor. Most of us believe that we are far more humorous than we really are. Humor is very hard to get right, and this explains why professional comedians make so much money. Make sure that 100% of the crowd will understand and relate to your toast, and please, no inside jokes!
Include Everyone. Toasts are about inclusion. Make eye contact with the people around you, and be sure that everyone has a beverage in hand. Any liquid will do, even water or mocktails. It's important to be heard, so speak up and articulate. Your voice should be welcoming and warm.
When in Doubt, Steal This Toast. Here is a toast that makes me smile:
“Welcome all. Let’s raise a glass together, thankful to gather together tonight with family and dear friends. To kick off the evening, I’d like to share an old English saying:
“I wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year
A pocket full of money
And a cellar full of beer!”
Happy Holidays to All,