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A toast for 2011!



This time of year, many of us sit through, stand through, groan through some pretty awful toasts. A toast should be a welcome element of any celebration. It presents an opportunity to honor and pay tribute to a special someone or singular occasion. But so often, it seems the better option might be to put a ban on toasts altogether. Out-of-control guests have been known to hog the microphone at times like this, to air grievances or unleash their inner Oprahs (an excellant example of this can be found in the dueling toast smackdown between Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne in Bridesmaids).

Of course, you could always rely on the inspiration of the moment, and give a toast that consists of some hastily scribbled napkin notes. None of your friends will tell you how that approach was not terribly successful, and you'll think you were great, until you see the video. Then, you'll say, "I was OK. If I had prepared, I would have been bettter."

So.... prepare! You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out: if you had prepared, you would have been better. Prepare - and you will be.

I give my clients advice on what to do if they find themselves in the honored position of being asked to make a toast:
  • Take 10 minutes to put it together and practice at least 7 times (you'll memorize the speech as you practice).
  • The purpose is praise and celebration.
  • It should be short--no more than 150 words or 75 seconds long.
  • Tell something about the person or occasion you are honoring. Don’t just tell biographical information, rather, create a speech that penetrates to the essence of the person/occasion and generates a deep sense of respect. 
  • Major traits are expressiveness and feeling. Go for the warm glow!
Try this next time you're asked to make a toast. You will enjoy yourself more, your host will be pleased, and who knows where a successful toast could lead?


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