Today one of my clients is throwing one of her good friends a 40th birthday party. She actually used to date him and now they’re good friends. She has the perfect dress, has supplied the beautiful country club for the party and now she was considering whether or not she should also give a host!

My answer to her? ALWAYS give a toast if you can!!!

First of all, whoever is throwing the party has a responsibility of welcoming people to the event. It’s nice to publicly introduce yourself and welcome everyone. It also establishes your credibility when you speak in front of people

Next, it’s an opportunity to show off! When people see you completely composed in a somewhat stressful situation, they’re impressed. Little do they know how much preparation when on behind the scenes. You can make it look like you pulled the toast out of thin air!

When writing a toast, there are a few things to do that will make your job easier.

How do you want to come across? Do you want the toast to be fun, lighthearted and funny or do you want it serious? This will help you determine the “story” that you share during the toast.
How do you feel about the person? What do they mean to other people? How do people respond to them as individuals? Are they funny, articulate, smart, a great dresser or a terrific story teller? Be specific and write down all of the adjectives that you can to describe this person.
What is a funny story or a really great story that you can tell about this person? Is there some secret passion that this person has that causes them to spend excessive time on something? Was there a time that the two of you were together that impressed you or made you laugh? What story can you think of that EXPLAINS what this person is to you? This can be lighthearted or serious, depending upon the tone that you want to create in the room and with the toast.
Lastly, what does this person mean to YOU? Do you want to honor them? Do you love them? Do you admire them?

After you’ve put together your toast it should look something like this:

“Welcome to the 40th Birthday party for our friend Clyde. It’s great to see everyone here. For those who know Clyde, you’ll know that he is a determined, fun and successful individual. But there is something that you might NOT know about Clyde!!

Tell funny or poignant story here…. And when the laughter dies down..

“So tonight, we wish to honor you Clyde, for who you are to all of us. We appreciate you, we love you and we wish for you many more happy and healthy years to come.”

The story that you tell is extremely important. But even MORE important is how often you practice this speech! Practice it in front of the mirror dozens of times until the words role off your tongue gracefully. Tape yourself as you practice and rewrite it as you go along. Practice visualizing yourself in the room beforehand, and practice looking at people in the eyes so during your speech you’ll be able to do that with ease. During the last part, when you’re bringing honor to the person, look at that person RIGHT in the eyeballs with as much sincerity as you can muster up, to let them know that you genuinely do care.

If you do all of these things, you’ll blow the people away. The response you’ll get is “wow, I wish I could just pull something like this out of my hat” and “that was such a great toast… good job”.

No one has to know that you practiced over and over until it felt right. No one has to know that you changed the toast dozens of times until you got the story right. But what you and everyone else WILL know is that after you’ve given the speech and knocked it out of the park, your status will be elevated.

By presenting an incredible toast you will have created a great memory for the person you are honoring. And THAT is who its all about, after all!