A Toast is a short speech in praise and recognition of one or more persons, guest of honor or a special occasion. An effective toast will unite everyone present in joining you in your praise and respect for who or what you are toasting.
The Toastmasters meetings give you an opportunity to practice making toasts so you will be well prepared for making toasts at weddings and other special occasions.
A Toast is a mini speech of about 2 minutes. It should have an opening, a body and a close as you ask people to raise their glasses, stand and join you in the Toast. I recommend you make the topic of your Toast very short. Usually it will be a person’s name or an event, for example “Melinda and Bill” or “To Success”.
Make sure the style of your Toast fits the occasion in both mood and language. A formal gathering will require a more serious style and maybe some humor is appropriate. For informal occasions where most people know each other such as a family gathering , the toast can be lighter in tone and more relaxed.
1. Opening. Begin your Toast by making reference to the subject of your Toast, so the audience is very clear. For example, “I have been asked to propose a toast to the newlyweds – Melinda and Bill” or if the toast is about an organisation or a theme: “I would like to propose a toast to our families”.
2. Body. The middle part of your Toast should give some information about the subject of your Toast and preferably one or two stories or personal references. For example, if you were proposing a toast to a newlywed couple you could say something about the bride and something about the groom, based on your knowledge of the people. A Toast to “Our Families” should include a couple of stories and examples of why you are making such a Toast.
3. Conclusion. As you conclude your short speech you want the audience to stand and to make the toast with you. In this example the toast is to Our Families. Use words like “Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like you all to stand and join me and making a toast to Our Families.” Allow the audience to stand then repeat the topic of the toast. “Our Families”. The audience should repeat the topic after you, take a sip of their drink and then set down.
Stay standing while the Toast is made. You may need to ask the audience to be seated, but if you sit down they will usually follow your example.
Avoid clichés like “Down the hatch!” or “Bottoms up!”.
You can learn more in the Advanced Communicator manual “Special Occasion Speeches” project 1 – Mastering the Toast.