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give-a-better-champagne-toast

We’ve all been there. Someone stands up or leans over the table to give a toast and it falls absolutely FLAT. Maybe there are too many inside jokes in the toast, or maybe the speaker crosses the line between funny and just plain raunchy. Or, maybe the speaker forgets their lines, fumbles their words, or loses their concentration. Or the microphone cuts out. Or the speaker mumbles. Or no one laughs at the jokes…

The list goes on and on! It makes you wonder why anyone in their right mind would agree to give a toast.

But, fear not. There are just as many ways to give a good toast as to give a horrendous one! The trick is to put a little thought into the occasion and look at it as an honor instead of a burden.

Because I’m a career and life coach, I often help people to deal with difficult or touchy situations with as much finesse, sensitivity, and effectiveness as possible. Being the “Toast-Giver” at your next special event is a perfect time to make an impression and send a message to a group.

How can you ensure that the toast you give during the summer wedding season (or any other season, for that matter) stays the impressive course and avoids turning into a train wreck? Start with these 7 handy tips:

The Toast-Giver’s Survival Guide

What’s Your Subject?

Every toast should have a subject. This should not be difficult to discern—for what reason have you all gathered today? Whether for a holiday party, wedding, graduation, or birthday, the major message of your toast should reflect the event’s specific occasion.

Practice Makes Perfect

If you’re anticipating being called on to make a speech, prepare one ahead of time and practice. Say your speech out loud (you’ll find that the pacing is much different than when you read to yourself) and practice in front of a mirror or with a friend.

Know Your Audience

Always assess the formality of the group and event. Take a cue from others who made toasts or speeches before you and, when in doubt, always keep your comments as respectful and professional as possible.

Don’t Burn the Toast!

When giving a toast, brevity is always key. Avoid causing waves of rolling eyes by sticking to your main message to avoid rambling.

Be Sober

I don’t think I need to paint a picture for you here—it’s pretty obvious what happens when someone misjudges their level of inebriation and subjects a room to their long, blush-inducing speech. If you hope to make a toast, abstain from the sauce until you’re finished.

Ditch the Inside Jokes

If only one or two people understand a reference you make during your toast, you’re alienating everyone else. If you decide to refer to a certain story or event, be sure you frame it properly so that everyone feels included.

Speak From the Heart

Avoid canned quotes or cliché phrases. Instead, be genuine, focus on the positive, and speak from the heart.

 

Follow these rules and make sure that your toast is remembered for the right reasons!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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