Toasts To Remember

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Toasts To Remember

champagne-237239_640Wedding season is upon us. The summer air is perfect for weddings and that means toasts to the happy couple! Are you a best man, maid of honor, or a parent that raised the bride or groom? Then get ready to brush up on your public speaking skills because you will be writing your toast before you know it! Speaking in front of a whole banquet hall full of people may seem overwhelming, but a few helpful tips might go a long way:

  • Start with a story – something you remember and would be fun for all guests to hear.
    • Keep the story short – no more than 1 minute (about 225 words)
    • Try humor if you are funny.  If you’re not, don’t try to be (it usually doesn’t work well).  If you do use humor, keep it clean!
    • If you’re not using humor, try “sincerity”.  It’s a key ingredient in any good toast, or speech for that matter
  • Tell the couple how happy you are for them and give them your best wishes for a wonderful life together.
  • Practice your speech at least ten times, aloud.
  • Maintain eye contact with the couple and the guests
  • Keep the tone of the message upbeat
    • Use inflection to add “meaning” to the words
    • Smile with your eyes, as well as your lips – it will give your voice a lift and make you sound more interesting
  • Keep your arms and hands open to the couple and guests when gesturing
    • Use broader, sweeping gestures, instead of little tiny gestures
    • With a champagne glass in hand, be careful not to spill!
    • No hands in pockets; no hand wringing
  • Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them.  You know them best – help the guests see all that is wonderful about the couple.

Next, we’ll write tips on channeling your nervous anxiety into good energy.  Try those steps before your next important toast.

Put it all together and remember, it’s not just WHAT you say, but HOW you say it that makes all the difference! These tips very well might have your fellow wedding guests remembering your toast long after their champagne glass is empty.

About the Author:

Ellen Dunnigan founded Accent On Business in 2001 specializing in public speaking, communication skills, and executive presence for leaders in business. She has 25 years of experience with professional and nonprofessional speakers in healthcare, media, politics, engineering, sports, and other industries. Ellen’s coaching in speaking skills gives established and emerging leaders greater confidence and credibility. Her leadership programs in accountability, alignment, difficult conversations, and organizational communication have helped leaders expand their influence. Ellen is known for her practical “how to” style.
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