Follow These Tips

How to Give a Great Toast

October 24, 2013
Words by Toastmasters International
Photos courtesy of Thinkstock

With destination weddings come opportunities for the best man, maid of honor and others to honor the happy couple with a traditional toast. Toastmasters International, the global organization devoted to communication and leadership skills development, offers proven tips for delivering a memorable toast with confidence and finesse.

The most important piece of advice: Keep it personal and be sincere. “Speaking from the heart is the key to a great toast,” says John Lau, president of Toastmasters International. Consider sharing a personal anecdote or story that highlights the bond between the blissfully wedded couple. The toast should focus on the newlyweds, not on the speaker. 

For more on toasting tips, view the Toastmasters video How to Give a Toast. Weddings aren’t the only opportunity for a toast; here are some proven pointers on how to give a memorable toast for any special occasion:

  • Be prepared. The best toasts include an opening, a body and conclusion.
  • Get personal. A toast should be original, heartfelt and customized for the occasion.
  • Practice makes perfect. Rehearse your message in advance in front of a friend or group.
  • Use humor, but make it tasteful and appropriate. Don’t use potentially offensive or embarrassing language.
  • Be creative. Avoid clichés and consider using a relevant quote to illustrate your words.
  • Be brief. A toast should last no longer than three minutes.
  • Stand, lift your filled glass by the stem and say, “I’d like to propose a toast.” Pause to allow guests to shift their attention toward you and give them time to lift their glasses. When you start speaking, lower your glass to about waist height.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. The toast sets the tone for the wedding, so you want to be in top form when delivering it.

In addition to toasting advice, Toastmasters offers many speech tips for special occasions. To practice your toasts or speeches, find a Toastmasters club near you by visiting www.toastmasters.org/findaclub.

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