Giving A Toast In Both Informal And Formal Settings

Toasts can happen in both an informal and formal setting
Toasts can happen in both an informal and formal setting
Image Credit: Photo by Scott Warman on Unsplash

As speakers we are all well aware of what it means to give a speech in a formal setting. These are the events where an audience has assembled, there is a stage, you take the stage, and everyone understand the importance of public speaking and listens to what you have to say. When it come to giving toasts there are similar settings. These can be at weddings and at formal company functions. Everyone has gathered and there is an expectation that there will be toasts given. However, it turns out that there is another type of setting for toasts: the informal setting. During these events often a group of people have gathered and the opportunity to give a toast just magically appears. How can a speaker be ready for these types of speeches?

The World Of Informal Toasts

If you decide that you want to give an informal toast, then the most important part of this process is going to be picking the right time to give the toast. It turns out that in order to make one of these types of toasts successful, you need to be able to read the energy level in the room. You are going to want to pick a moment to give your toast when the energy level is high. This can occur early on or toward the end of the event.

A toast is not a speech. What this means for you as a speaker is that you need to make sure that any toast that you give has one single clear theme to it. The audience that you’ll be speaking to will not be willing to spend time trying to determine just exactly what you really mean. You need to select a theme for the toast that you want to give and then you need to stick with it. Keep it simple.

The toast that you give should find some common ground between the person that you will be toasting and the audience. No, you don’t have to come up with some amazing original or sensational toast. Instead, what you’d like to be able to do is to find a way to tap into the emotions that are currently being felt by your audience.

Hopefully it goes without saying that you should always truly mean what you are saying. Don’t worry about trying to get all of your words to line up perfectly. Instead, make sure that everyone of your words is sincere. Make sure that the intentions behind the words that you are saying can be felt by your audience. You will want to come across as being genuine and speaking from the heart.

The World Of Formal Toasts

If you are heading off to an event where you think that there is a possibility that you will be called on to give a toast, then it makes sense that you would take some time before going to prepare. The challenge that you are facing here is that a good formal toast can often set the tone of an event – this is for better or for worse. When you know that you are going into this type of situation, you are going to want to take the time to research the occasion.

When you know that you may be called on to make a toast, you are going to want to prepare. The one thing that you don’t want to do in a situation like this is to “wing it”. Doing so is simply too risky to do. As a speaker you need to take your preparation seriously because it really does matter. You may want to go as far as writing your toast down before you give it just to make sure that your words will flow properly.

As the person who will be giving a toast, you need to be highly aware of your audience. Most importantly, you need to understand what they will be doing while you are giving your toast. Since a toast is not a formal speech, your audience may not realize that you are getting ready to begin speaking. They may still be talking among themselves. You are going to have to get their attention and then be quiet for a moment while you allow them to quiet down. You may also have to pause while everyone gets their glasses filled in anticipation of giving a good toast.

An interesting part of any toast is that you are going to want your audience to echo back some of the words that you say as a part of the toast. You get to start things off and say whatever you want to say; however, as you come to the close of your speech you are going to want to choose your words very carefully. You need to think about the precise words that you are going to want to have your audience shouting out. When you reach these words in your toast, you will need to shout them out very clearly and loudly so that your audience understands that these are the words that they are to repeat when they are giving their part of the toast.

What All Of This Means For You

During a celebration for someone, it is traditional to at some point during the festivities to pause and offer up a toast to the person being honored. This can happen at a number of different types of events both informal and formal. At the informal events you may not have realized that you would be called on to make a toast. At the formal events you probably realized that there was a possibility that you might get asked to make a toast and so you can prepare. No matter which event you are at, you always need to be ready to make a great toast in order to share the benefits of public speaking.

When you are at an informal event, you need to be monitoring the energy of the event. You are going to want to select the right moment to give a toast and when the energy in the room is running high will be this moment. When you make your toast you are going to want to make sure that you have one clear theme. Your toast needs to show the common ground between the person that you are honoring and the audience. You always have to mean what you say – your sincerity needs to come across to your audience. When you find yourself in a more formal situation when you think that you may be called on to make a toast, always make sure that you have prepared before you arrive. When you are making your formal toast, give your audience time to realize that you are starting to give a toast. Understand that part of the toast is having your audience echo what you’ve just said so make it clear and easy to remember.

When we give a toast, we are honoring someone. As speakers we are uniquely positioned to do this type of speaking well. We need to understand that toasts that are given at informal events differ from the ones that we give at a more formal event. However, both types of toasts must be given clearly, be easy for our audience to understand and have to be delivered with sincerity.

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

Question For You: When we give a toast, how long do you think that the toast should be?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated. P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!   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 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

As a speaker, I must confess that I can get pretty comfortable with the ways that things are. I use PowerPoint, I have an automatic slide advancer, and I know where to get royalty-free images. I have a bad habit of thinking that I know everything that I need to know I order to share the importance of public speaking. However, it turns out that time marches on. What this means is that things are always changing and that if I really want to stay on top of my speaking game, then I need to be aware of the new technology that has become available to me that will allow me to make my presentations even better. Let’s take a look at what I was not aware of.