We’ve all been there – one minute you’re at a social gathering having a grand ol’ time and the next, you’re being pushed to give an impromptu toast. Or, your closest pal asks you to be the Best Man at his wedding and then follows that invitation up with a warning not to get too raunchy with your toast at the reception.
Do these people think you’re just naturally gifted at coming up with appropriate, crowd-pleasing toasts? Is this a talent we’re supposed to develop as soon as we hit puberty?
Don’t sweat it, dude. Very few people actually have a God-given ability to just stand up in front of a crowd and enchant an audience like Don Draper. Here are a few simple things to keep in mind, whether you’re asked to speak on the spot or you have a little bit of time to prepare:
- Keep it short and sweet. Unless you’re extremely funny or interesting (doubtful), don’t flatter yourself by thinking people want to listen to you talk. Most people appreciate a short toast more than you’ll ever know.
- Speak from the heart. We tend to overthink things when creating a toast, but stop for a minute and think about why you’re there and why this is important to you. But remember, there’s no crying in the Man Cave.
- Don’t talk about yourself. Remember why you are there and who/what you are toasting. If this was about you, you’d be sitting down and someone else would be toasting you. Put the ego away.
- Don’t drink and toast. If you’ve had a few too many, don’t clink your glass because you’ve suddenly become inspired to give a toast. Whatever you’re thinking of saying, don’t.
Above everything else, just be real. Say a couple sentences about the person or event and leave it at that. They’ll appreciate the sentiment and if you’re lucky, someone may just buy you a drink to celebrate the fact that you didn’t blow it.