If you are not a huge fan of public speaking, the idea of performing a toast at your event or your loved one’s event can seem a bit daunting. Here are some tips to get you started and ensure that your toast is written and performed seamlessly.
1. Introduce yourself.
This is big, guys! It is so, so important to introduce yourself and your relationship to the guest of honor (unless of course, YOU are the guest of honor). Letting guests know who you are helps people to understand and relate more to the story you will be telling with your toast.
2. Write a few drafts.
If you’re stuck on where to begin, just start writing anything and everything down! Remember that your first draft doesn’t have to be your last, so jotting things down point form or editing things out later are perfectly fine options.
3. Keep it under 5 minutes.
Some guests of honor will set specific parameters (3 min, 5 min, etc) for how long they want your toast to be, so follow these parameters first. If they don’t set any parameters for you, sticking to five minutes or less will give you just enough time to say what you need to without guests getting bored.
4. Speak about the guest(s) of honor.
This one may seem obvious, but it sometimes gets forgotten when there is more than one guest of honor (think weddings), especially if you have a much closer relationship with one party than the other. It is definitely okay to lean heavier on the anecdotes about the person you are close with, but make sure you include one or two points about the other party, or the couple as a whole.
5. Make sure your toast isn’t too personal.
Of course you want to highlight the guest(s) of honor in your toast, but steer clear of embarrassing stories that they aren’t going to appreciate. Even if you think a story would be well received, it’s best to avoid it or double check with the guest(s) of honor before sharing anything too personal in your speech. It is also a good note to steer clear of any stories or inside jokes that the guests won’t understand.
6. Offer your well wishes.
One of the most important and meaningful parts of your toast will be offering your well wishes to the guest(s) of honor. Keep it simple and sincere so other guests will resonate with the message and toast along with you.
7. Practice out loud.
This is also so, so important! Even if you are a natural at public speaking, practicing your toast will ensure that your presentation goes smoothly and you are within the time frame you have been given.
Writing a toast can be difficult especially when you feel you have too little or too much to say. When all else fails, tell a quick story and wish the guest of honor well, and you will be good to go- this tip also helps if you forget your notes (please remember your notes)! You got this!