Have a company party, holiday gathering with clients or perhaps a festive New Year’s Eve celebration? If so, be prepared to step up and deliver your holiday toast with grace and finesse. Here are some helpful tips.
Get everyone listening
Skip whistling or glass-clinking to get people’s attention. Simply announce that you will be making a toast, and enlist the help of those around you to help quiet the room.
Know your audience
Who is in the room? Make sure your comments are appropriate. With friends and peers, feel free to be spirited and even a bit personal. If the guests are older family members or co-workers, you will want to avoid off-color jokes. It’s a happy occasion, so you should always be warm and upbeat to reflect the mood of the party.
Nix the clichés
Clichés are called clichés because everyone has heard them before. Phrases like “raising your glass” are tiresome. Your authentic personality and heartfelt sentiments will be more likely to resonate with guests and make them smile.
To joke or not to joke?
It’s tough to be funny. Unless you are a natural comedian, you might not want to risk a joke falling flat. If you do decide to give it a try, make sure it’s appropriate to the occasion and never embarrass other guests.
Keep it under a minute
Make your toast short and sweet: somewhere between three and ten sentences, according to Lizzie Post, great-great granddaughter of Emily Post and co-author of Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th edition.
The four S’s of delivering a toast
Here’s some delivery advice from Diane Gottsman, modern manners and etiquette expert:
- Stand up and raise your glass
- Smile and make eye contact with the group you’re addressing
- Say something heartfelt
- Sit and enjoy the party
An idea to engage a small group
If you’d like to get others in a small group setting to participate in a shared experience, try this idea from Brian Van Flandern, author of Craft Cocktails and Vintage Cocktails:
“The host begins by holding a bottle of wine or champagne and sharing a New Year’s resolution (or thought) with her guests. She then passes the bottle to the person on her left—this way the whole table gets to share their resolutions or say a few words.”
Wishing you an abundance of health, happiness & success in 2016!