Whether you're asked to say a few words at the dinner table or in front of 250 wedding guests, proposing a toast can be stressful. With a little preparation, you can turn your private moment of anxiety into a public moment of shared happiness.
You will need
- A festive occasion
- A guest of honor
- A captive audience
- And a glass of bubbly
Step 1 Jot down notes Jot down some notes about the person or event you are celebrating. Come up with a personal anecdote that entertains the crowd while complimenting the honoree.
Step 2 Plot outline Plot an informal outline that has a beginning, middle, and end, so you don’t end up rambling.
Don’t try to be Chris Rock unless you, too, are known for your joke-telling. Better to be boring than to outright bomb.
Step 3 Practice speech Practice your speech until you are comfortable giving it without notes. Time your delivery until you get the toast under two minutes.
Step 4 Request audience's attention When it’s time to deliver your speech, politely request the audience’s attention: stand, chime your fork on your glass, and pause for a moment as the crowd stops talking and turns to face you.
You don’t need all eyes on you before beginning, but wait until most audience members have settled down to begin. Otherwise you’ll risk half of them tuning in mid-toast.
Step 5 Introduce yourself Begin by introducing yourself and explaining your relationship to the honoree.
Speak in a loud, clear voice. Nothing will unnerve you faster than having people in the back barking, “We can’t hear you!”
Step 6 Make eye contact Make eye contact with the audience during your speech, but end the toast with your eyes on the guest of honor.
Step 7 Raise your glass Raise your glass of bubbly and ask everyone to join you in taking a sip. You’ve done your job—now relax, knowing that with just a few words, you’ve made a difference in the life of someone who matters to you.
Did You Know:
Toasting comes from the ancient Greeks, who would have everyone drink from the same goblet so no one would fear being poisoned.