Whether you’re wishing a newlywed couple many years of happiness, or giving a speech at a bar mitzvah, a toast gives you the chance to show how much you care. To give the best toast possible, you need to have the perfect balance of humour and sincerity.
Picture: Madeleine Ball
In a recent article, Bruce Feiler at The New York Times spoke with some professional speech writers, or “toast whisperers”, who make a living writing other people’s toasts for special occasions. You may not want someone else writing your speech for you, but Victoria Wellman, the founder of the ghostwriting company Oratory Laboratory, suggests a good toast comes down to two main components:
“We always say a speech should be about 70 per cent humour, 30 per cent sincerity. When you are sincere, when you truly break down how you feel about the person, people know it’s real.”
When you sit down to write your speech, find the humour first and let the sincerity follow. If you want to use personal stories about someone, stay away from really embarrassing things and keep it tame. You also want to keep it short, because nobody likes a toast that never seems to end. Prepare yourself beforehand and you’ll give the most memorable toast of the whole affair.