5 Tips For How A Public Speaker Should Handle A Holiday Toast

by drjim on October 1, 2013

Toasts are an important part of any holiday celebration

Toasts are an important part of any holiday celebration
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It is never too early to start planning on what you’re going to be saying in public during the next holiday season. More often than not, there will be gatherings of friends, family, or perhaps coworkers. When a group of people get together, there is always a desire to wish each other good luck. The easiest way to go about doing is by offering a toast. Since we all realize the importance of public speaking, perhaps we should talk about how you should go about crafting the toast that you are going to be giving…

5 Tips For Giving A Great Holiday Toast

The purpose of giving a great toast during a holiday celebration is to honor somebody who is in attendance and to create a lasting memory for everyone. It turns out that this is not something that you can just dream up on the spot, it’s going to take some preparation. Here are 5 tips for how you can make the next toast that you give be memorable in a positive way:

  • Plan, Plan, Plan: Do not think that you’ll just come up with the right words to say when the moment to give your toast arrives. As with all speaking opportunities, you’ll do best if you’ve realized that you may be called on before the event starts and have taken the time to give some serious thought to what you would say: opening, body, and closing.
  • Keep It Short: A toast is NOT a speech. A toast is much more like a tweet and less like an email. This means that you are going to have to keep your comments short – one to two minutes generally. That means that you will need to figure out what you want to say and then you are going to have to ruthlessly cut away at your words until you are able to fit them into the limited time that will be available.
  • Why Are You Talking?: The fact that you are giving the toast and not someone else will be a mystery to everyone else who is attending this event. What this means for you is that early on in your toast you are going to have to take the time to explain your connection to the person that you are toasting: friend, family member, or someone that you work with.
  • Every Good Toast Has A Theme: You will probably say several things about the person that you are toasting. You may bring up several events in their life that you have shared with them. You need to tie all of these together by using a theme. The theme can be a very high level concept or idea. It just needs to provide you with a way to make it from one event in your toast to the next.
  • It’s Not About You: One of the most difficult things that many speakers have to deal with when making a toast is that we need to realize that the toast is not about us. Our interaction with the person being toasted is what we know best and we can tend to talk about our feelings; however, what we really need to do is to keep the spotlight on them. Limiting discussion of ourselves and maximizing the discussion of the person being toasted is the correct way to do a toast.
  • Keep It Public: As the person doing the toasting, you probably know things about the person being toasted that nobody else knows. You need to avoid using these secret “inside” jokes as a part of your toast. Nobody else will understand them and you’ll confuse them. Use only publically known information and you’ll deliver a toast that everyone will understand and enjoy.

What All Of This Means For You

Celebrations are times to be remembered by all. When we participate in these gatherings we are often called upon to help make toasts in order to honor one or more of the people who are in attendance. Being able to do this is one of the benefits of public speaking. Knowing the 5 tips that it takes in order to make a great toast is a critical skill for every public speaker.

Making a great toast is not hard, it just takes some planning. Remembering to keep it short and make sure that everyone knows why you are the one who is making the toast. Make sure that your toast has some sort of theme and that you are focused on the guest of honor. Finally, a toast is a public event so make sure that you are not using insider information that nobody else will know about.

When we take the time to attend a celebration we want the event to be memorable. Well done toasts provide us with an opportunity to celebrate someone’s accomplishments with all of the other people who know that person. Learn how to make good toasts and you’ll be able to make the event that much more memorable for both yourself and everyone else who is there.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How long do you think that a good toast should be?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Quick question for you: what’s the best way to guarantee that the next speech that you give will be a great speech? The answer, of course, is to give the speech before you have to give it and use that as a chance to work out all of the bugs. It’s the ability to share your material with an audience before you have to that allows us to build better speeches. It turns out that each and every one of us can do this before our next speech…

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