The holidays are upon us and it’s time for the annual company and family parties. Speaking in public can be anxiety provoking but when you are called on to make holiday toasts at your office or at a friend’s party, the pressure just increases. When giving a holiday toast you want it to be a warm, memorable and entertaining message that sets the tone for the entire gathering. This prospect can be very daunting. However, with these tips, giving a holiday toast or speech will be simple and easy. Soon you will find yourself giving toasts at family and business events. Everyone will want you to speak!
1. Rehearse and outline what you want to say
You need to outline what is your focus of your toast and you need to practice it several days in advance. Get a friend or family member to listen while you practice.
2. Watch your pace
The holidays are an exciting time, so speak slowly, clearly and loud enough.
3. Create thoughtful content
Welcome everyone who has gathered and share your thoughts and feelings about the holidays. Share a personal story or sentiment and include an appropriate holiday-centered quote. Be appropriate with your audience and close with a traditional saying.
4. Give thanks
The holidays are a time for gathering with loved ones, so if you are the host of the dinner toast to those who have come to share your food and home. If you are a guest, be sure to thank the host for opening his home to you all and for the bounty of the feast. Thank individuals for their contribution to the company. If your group is small, mention each person individually. In larger firms, thank teams or departments who succeeded in special initiatives or projects. Thank your partners and alliances, especially if they are sponsoring your company celebration.
5. Stand up
Unless the gathering is very small and informal, you should stand to get attention and deliver the toast. It ensures that everyone can hear you and lends a certain ceremonial splendor.
6. Raise your glass
When you are starting your toast, hold your glass about waist high. At the conclusion of the toast, raise the glass to your eye level to signal you are finished. You can then touch glasses with others around you and take a sip. A holiday toast should be no more than a minute or two, a short focused toast is always better than a lengthy disorganized one.
7. Share successes
Share specific kudos about your team members with their spouses. As you know everyone wants to feel appreciated and recognized. And saying this to the spouse lets the spouse know you appreciate his or her sacrifices and support, as well.
8. Highlight the future
As the year winds down, it is appropriate to turn your attention to the coming year’s main events and the contributions each of your employees need to make. Talk about the goals and make sure you use words and a tone of voice that will help people remember these goals as they enter the New Year. Try placing extra stress on the most meaningful words and be passionate about your excitement for the coming year.
9. Remember special circumstances
Don’t forget to offer a fond memory and kind words for the dear colleagues who have passed on, or are not able to be with you because of illness, injury, military duty, or other reasons.
Try one of these toasts:
· Here’s to all of us, God bless us everyone! (Tiny Tim’s toast from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol)
· Wishing you more happiness than all my words can tell, not just for the holidays, but for all the year as well.
· May peace and plenty be the first to lift the latch on your door, and happiness be guided to your home by the candle of Christmas.
· To us and our success as a group this past year, and to you and your families for health, peace, and more wonderful times in the coming year.
Above all else, may your celebration and your New Year be filled with laughter, energy, and goodwill for all!