Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The toast post: Tips for speakers on making a celebratory toast

'Tis the season for toasting, which means it's time for all sorts of advice on how to raise your glass without also putting your foot in your mouth. One of the better guides we've seen on this topic is in this month's Cooking Light magazine.

Their tips on how to give a good toast work for any speaking occasion: know your audience, be brief, and practice, practice, practice. I'd add to that some advice on the importance of eye contact and ways to quiet your nerves.

The guide also helpfully suggests that you might want to skip the toast altogether, especially if you don't have something different or personal to say. (Author Dan Okrent, quoted in the article: "My failures as a toaster have always been for people I didn't know well enough, and I'll never do that again.") But if you do have to stand up and say a few words, here are some ways to make sure your toast offers something unique.

Have you given a toast that went over well--or brought the occasion to a crashing halt? Share your stories and advice in the comments.

(Regular contributor Becky Ham wrote this post. Let's toast to her!)

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