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Archive for Sunday, November 27, 2005

Toasting tips for New Year’s

November 27, 2005

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Although toast making isn't governed by any set-in-stone rules, there are some guidelines floating around to point you in the right direction.

Sip judiciously, and consider these bits of advice:

Keep it simple. A toast should be short and to the point. Nobody wants to stand through a year-in-review monologue. If you notice people getting antsy during your speech, you've probably gone overboard.

Consider the company. Make sure you deliver a toast that's appropriate to both the audience and the occasion. For family gatherings, that might mean focusing on warm words that celebrate your togetherness. For large groups of friends, something wittier might be in order.

Language, please. ALWAYS cut out the vulgarity. Is it really so hard to keep it clean for a few minutes while you deliver what's intended to be a classy gesture? It's best to avoid crude language, sexual innuendoes or dirty jokes altogether.

Practice makes perfect. Good orators will tell you that - however ironic - it takes practice to sound spontaneous. Try rehearsing your toast as you would any public speech: out loud and in front of a mirror or some friends. It's not a bad idea to have a couple of short toasts memorized in case you're nominated to give a spur-of-the-moment toast.

Stand tall - most of the time. When delivering a toast, it's always best to stand. If anything, standing will get people's attention and help quiet them down. Despite popular practice, experts recommend NOT rapping on a glass to signal for quiet. You could end up with nothing to toast with. The standing rule does not apply if you're the person receiving the toast, at least until the toast is complete. Nor should you raise your glass or drink to yourself. However, it is customary to stand and respond afterward, even if that just means saying thanks.

End clearly. Define the end of your toast by saying "cheers," asking the audience to "raise your glass" or some other definitive gesture.

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