Giving a toast is an opportunity to create a moment of magic. Your toast can frame the whole event and make it truly memorable. To be a nobleman is to know that moments like these matter. But don’t be fooled; just because a toast is short doesn’t mean it’s easy. Usually the shorter the toast, the more preparation is required.
1. MAKE IT ABOUT THEM
Make the first word about the focus of the night, whether that’s an event, a couple or a person. Don’t start with “I’ve known John…”. Start with “John is…” Stay away from “I” and “me.” This will have two benefits. It will make your toast about the true reason for the celebration, and it will reduce your nerves as your focus will be on the purpose of your toast, not yourself.
2. FOLLOW A FORMULA
Don’t trust your intuition completely with this one. All memorable toasts that sound natural follow a winning formula. Sure, you can add your own humor and personality, but make sure to follow a proven structure. Here is a formula to follow. Open with a short sentence about the person showing your gratitude, share how you relate to the person, tell a story about the person, acknowledge why that story shows their true values, raise your glass and cheers.
3. RE-LIVE THE STORY
Great stories are never re-told, they are re-lived. When you share a story about the host, make sure to tell it like you are there. I’ve noticed the more eccentric or loud you can be in a specific moment of the story, the more laughter you’ll get from the audience.
4. FOCUS ON THE FEELING
Toasts are memorable because they make the audience feel something. The emotion of gratitude for the person or event will always work well. Your audience will feel it when you feel it. A practical way to do this is to mention the “value”or lesson you learned after sharing a story about them. For example you can say, “The reason I shared that story is because it displays how generous they are.”
5. ENJOY THE MOMENT
When you have fun, your audience will also. Be authentic and true to your nature. A toast is a short but powerful moment that can make an event truly memorable. Spend some time to gather your thoughts, practice out loud, and don’t forget to have a full glass ready for the cheers!
By Colin Boyd
Photos by Chris Glenn