Being in the Catering and Event Planning Business for as long as we have, we’ve seen a lot of toasts over the years. From corporate banquets and award dinners to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs. And of course, those best man and maid of honor toasts at weddings.
People fear public speaking, just as much as they fear death. They are literally “scared to death.” So, if you find yourself asked to make a toast or dinner speech, we can help.
We’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. So, what makes for a terrific toast? Here are some easy to remember and use do’s and don’ts that you can call on, whenever you find yourself in the spotlight
#1 Always Start with A K.I.S.S.
Now, we don’t mean that literally. To keep it easy to remember, the letters in the word kiss stand for:
By keeping your toast or speech short and sweet, you stand a better chance of keeping everyone’s attention. We know that you feel obligated to fit everything and everyone in, but the reality is, people have short attention spans today.
Make sure, that you have it planned out and timed, so that you don’t ramble on and on. If you get nervous when speaking in public, (most of us do) this will keep your time in the spotlight to a minimum.
#2 Assume the Position:
Next, you should position yourself properly. Pay attention to where you are in relation to the one or ones being toasted. You should always stand up, with good posture.
If there is a microphone, speak into it clearly. Nobody likes it when the speaker is moving the mic around while they talk, and you get about every third word.
Last, but not least, face the subjects of the toast. Try to keep as many people in view as possible, but you should direct your attention towards the bride and groom so to speak.
#3 Know Your Audience:
If you know there are a lot of important people in the crowd, like your boss. Or, at a wedding you know that there are lots of family members who might not be as young, hip, and cool as you are, it’s probably not a promising idea to drop the latest slang and jokes laced with profanity.
If the audience is you and your friends and everyone talks like that, by all means, let it rip. The key is to know who is out in the crowd and be sensitive to how they will react.
You do not want to create an uncomfortable atmosphere by forcing the groom to explain to his grandmother what “Lit”, and “AF” means.
#4 Practice Makes Perfect:
Before you hit the stage, spend a little time rehearsing. This will ensure that your speech isn’t too long and flows smoothly. It also gives you a chance to get the jitters and nerves out of your system.
You may want to have someone listen to you or record yourself. That way you can see how it sounds. Pay particular attention to filler words, like “Um” and “Ah,” you’ll want to drop those as much as possible.
By putting a little time in before the big event, you’ll avoid making mistakes, tripping over your words, and give yourself the opportunity to see how something sounds when spoken out loud rather than just read on a page.
#5 Don’t Overindulge:
We see this quite a bit. There’s an open bar and before you know it, inhibitions and common sense are both dropping to interesting levels.
We know you’re nervous and a little liquid courage is a huge temptation. There’s nothing wrong with a cocktail or two but know your limitations.
We’ve all seen those embarrassing videos of some drunk wedding complete with an awkward toast. Lots of times, these are hysterical. That’s fine, if it’s not you on center stage.
Remember everyone has cell phones. Whatever you say is going to end up on video and social media. You don’t want to have to live this down over and over. Especially if it is a work function. You could find yourself forever branded as “drunk at the company party guy.”
Ending up beyond your limit is a guaranteed way to mess up all the other tips as well. It tends to make you ramble on, you can’t pay attention and lose focus, you forget where you are and now start telling inappropriate jokes. It’s just a recipe for a disaster.
Take it from us, we’ve seen hundreds of toasts and when done well, they can have an impact and create some great memories.
Done wrong, they create memories, all right. Not the ones that you cannot forget, no matter how hard you try.
So, remember these Five Tips:
· Start with the K.I.S.S.
· Focus your attention
· Know your audience
· Practice makes perfect
· Don’t get drunk before hand
Need More Tips and Advice for that Perfect Event?
Reach out to us and we'll be sure to help you in any way that we can!