December means holiday parties at work and with loved ones, and plenty of chances to make a toast. Whatever you do, don’t re-enact the famous scene from the film “Bridesmaids,” where Kristen Wiig attempts to out-toast nemesis Rose Byrne at their best friend’s bridal shower. We offer these 5 strategies to make your toasts memorable:
- Prepare ahead of Time. Scribbling on a cocktail napkin at the holiday work party moments before speaking will likely turn out a mediocre toast that no one recalls five minutes later. Look ahead in your calendar to those special events where you want to be “toast ready.” Then carve out time to prepare. You’ll want to pull your thoughts together in a way that shows you at your engaging best.
- Don’t Make it about You. Whether attending the office holiday party, or a gathering of loved ones for a special celebration, you have a chance to appreciate and acknowledge colleagues and friends. Take the opportunity during this festive season to let others know how you value their contribution at work, or their presence in your life. Making colleagues or family sparkle and shine is a gift in itself.
- Get Creative. As you prepare your toast prior to the event, let the creative juices flow. You might select a brief, fitting anecdote or story to tell. (Just be sure to keep it focused, and crisp, and don’t ramble.) Perhaps you’ll Google search to find the perfect quote to add to your toast. You might even try a bit of self-deprecating humor or use “just in time” humor, based spontaneously on something that happens at the event prior to your toast. Whatever you do, making your toast creative will engage your audience of party-goers.
- Don’t forget to KISS. We recommend, Keep It Short and Simple. Three minutes or less is a good target for a toast. If it goes over 5 minutes, party guests will fidget and long to be seated near the punch bowl (and the exit). Give guests the gift of surprise and delight by finishing up fast.
- Write and Rehearse. For an important toasting event, winging it is recommended for only the most seasoned toast-givers. Once you’ve crafted the toast, write it in bullet form on a small card. Don’t turn your note card into a teleprompter with full sentences! These will be difficult to read. As you stand before the crowd to deliver that moment of inspiration. Finally, we suggest you rehearse ahead of the event. Literally stand and deliver your toast out loud, a minimum of 3-5 times. Rehearsing in front of a mirror will assure that your style also looks engaging and confident.
We wish you warm holiday cheer and enjoyable celebrations with colleagues, family, and friends. Make the festivities even brighter, with an engaging toast to remember.
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