I'm participating in Angela DeFinis' 2009 Blog Carnival on Public Speaking and the Holidays. Head on over to check out other authors' tips and insights.
As we embark on the festive holiday season, you will no doubt find yourself in numerous situations where a toast or a few words to a group will be in order. Just because you're at the company Christmas party or at the dinner table with Grandpa Horace and Aunt Willamina, don't leave your presentation skills back in the office.
TIPS FOR TOASTING
A few tips to keep in mind as you toast the season:
- If you know you're going to be asked to say a few words, do choose your remarks in advance. Very, very few people are naturally good extemporaneous speakers. As Mark Twain said, "It usually takes three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech."
- Even if you're not explicitly tasked with holiday remarks, prepare some anyway. You never know when it might be opportune, appropriate or just plain charming to have a clever or heartfelt toast or mini-speech to contribute to the occasion.
- As in all presentation situations, make eye contact with the entire group and speak clearly, slowly and loudly enough so everyone can hear.
- Practice enough so that you can say what you want to say smoothly and confidently. Even the best words and sentiments will be rendered ineffective if you stumble through them.
Here are a few of my favorite toasts...use them as is, or personalize for your situation.
May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night and the road downhill all the way to your door.
May peace and plenty be the first to lift the latch to your door and happiness be guided to your home by the candle of Christmas.
In the coming year, may good fortune precede you, love walk with you and good friends follow you.