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Tips for Toasting at Special Occasions

Keep it short and sweet. “Two minutes maximum is great, except for very special occasions like weddings and funerals,” says Donclarte Dontsi, president of the Moderator Toastmasters club in Montreal.

Remember, it’s not about you. Your toast should focus on someone or something else.

Use powerful adjectives to describe the person you’re toasting.

Be careful with humor. “Humor is a double-edged sword,” says Harold Osmundson, DTM. “It can work for you if you can pull it off naturally. But if you try too hard to be funny, it steals attention from the toast and the subject of the toast.”

Practice. Hone your delivery by practicing your toast a few times.

Write down your first toast. “When you stand up that first time and the audience is looking at you, you may very well forget what you have to say,” says Past International President Ted Corcoran, DTM. “It’s important, for the first time, to have what you are going to say written down, even if it’s very simple.”

Tell the audience when it’s time to raise their glasses. “Raise your glass, ask the audience to raise their glasses, express feelings toward the subject and finally say ‘Cheers!,’” Osmundson says.