I'm a public-speaking expert. Here's how to give a memorable toast at your company and family holiday parties.


Offering a toast is a wonderful way to add warmth and meaning to any holiday gathering. Whether it's the combination of alcohol, family, and heartfelt words or simply the opportunity to bring people closer together, a successful toast can leave a lasting impression. As someone who has been helping individuals conquer stage fright and craft the perfect toast for over 35 years, I have a few tips to share.

In crafting a successful toast, I'm a big advocate of the 80-20 rule, which highlights that 20% of a successful toast pertains to the technique and structure, encapsulated in five essential steps. First, it's important to introduce yourself, especially to any unfamiliar faces in the audience. Next, clearly articulate the theme or message of your toast. Consider incorporating a funny or poignant story to captivate your audience. Conclude with a call to action, such as raising a glass in honor of the occasion, and express gratitude to everyone present.

However, the remaining 80% of a touching and memorable toast lies in genuinely connecting with your audience. Whether sharing moments of joy, reflecting on touching experiences, or expressing appreciation and respect, tap into your emotions and allow yourself to be vulnerable. By authentically connecting and expressing genuine emotions, you will undoubtedly move and touch everyone in the audience, regardless of the specifics of the other 20%.

This holiday season, consider taking the brave step of offering to make a toast. The holidays provide a unique opportunity for individuals to shed their daily facades, allowing for genuine and heartfelt connections. Embrace the moment, and offer to give a toast that will bring warmth and authenticity to the gathering.  

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