How to be the Toast of the Town
Begin! Be Brief! Be Seated!

Weddings, graduations, births, birthdays, anniversaries, retirements -- all special occasions calling for a toast to the celebrant. This gracious gesture can be delivered by anyone and can make a simple moment special. Are you panic-stricken when you are the one giving the toast? To relieve your anxiety, all it takes is a little forethought, practice and familiarity with some toasting etiquette and protocol.

  • Mark Twain said, "It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech." Since a toast is a speech in miniature, practice, practice, practice.
  • Embarrassing or questionable stories can turn a toast into a roast. A good toast is a gift, not an insult; make it appropriate, flattering and memorable.
  • Remember to KISS - keep it short and simple. Think three sentences maximum. Do not read it from a piece of paper.
  • Stand when offering a toast. By standing, you command enough attention to quiet everyone down. Wine, champagne, and non-alcoholic beverages are all acceptable.
  • Never drink a toast or stand when a toast is offered to you. It is like applauding yourself. However, you should always stand up and respond to the toast, even if just to say thank you for the gesture.
  • End on a positive, upbeat note. Lead your audience to a conclusion with "Raise your glass," "Cheers," or another appropriate gesture. Raise your glass, clink with a partner, and take a sip.
The ability to offer a toast is indeed an art. To be the toast of the town, be yourself, be sincere, and remember the 3 "B's." Begin! Be brief! Be seated!

You may reprint this article with an attribution to Gloria Auth, Protocol Plus,

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