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Celebrations abound that beg for toasts: New Year’s Eve, graduations, job promotions, awards ceremonies and baby showers. These 7 steps to a perfect toast will help you feel prepared, confident and refined, whether it’s a business dinner with a guest of honor or ushering in the New Year.

  1. To give a toast, remember the 3 B’s: Begin, Be Brief and Be Seated. You don’t want to be remembered as the person whose toast was too long or horribly inappropriate. One to three minutes is good. Plan your remarks ahead of time and practice in front of a mirror. Use the toastee’s name versus starting with “I.”  “Tonight, you see (person’s name) sitting here very relaxed. She deserves to sit and relax because she is being honored for her extraordinary work and leadership to help our city exceed our United Way goal! (Offer heartfelt congratulations and thanks.)  Please raise your glass with me to honor and thank (person’s name) for this extraordinary accomplishment.”

Hint: Hold the glass at chest level while sharing your remarks. Then raise it toward the person being toasted as you say cheers. Next,  take one sip. Note: you may also toast an entire team as a  whole if they have  worked on a project together.

Tips for rocking your next toast.

  1. Extend the glass toward the center of the table, raising it only to eye level. And, be sure to give eye contact to the person across from you.how to give a toast - toasting
  2. What to say: Cheers, Prost (German, meaning ‘cheers/to your health’), Sanťe (French, meaning ‘to your health’), Salute (Italian, meaning ‘health/cheers’). And, know your cultures. For example, in China, keep your glass lower than others to show deference.
  3. Clinking of glasses is tradition.  People enjoy the sound of the clink, but, do clink gently. It’s not necessary to clink with everyone at the table, and don’t feel offended if someone does not clink with you. Clink with the person across from you and persons on either side of you.
  4. Take only one sip. A toast is not meant to quench the thirst but is a show of respect and honor to a guest or the host who offers the toast.
  5. At a business event, it is polite for the senior level person to make the toast. If a junior-level executive wishes to propose a toast, he or she would ask permission of the host ahead of time to see if the Sr. level person is planning to give a toast.
  6. Participate in a toast even if you don’t drink alcoholic beverages. Raise a glass of water, iced tea or soda water. The main thing is to participate so that you don’t appear socially unsophisticated. And never turn an empty champagne or wine glass upside down if you don’t want wine or champagne poured for the toast. Just hover your fingers over the rim of the stemware and say, “no thank-you” to the server.

When we think of toasting, we think of togetherness as one to celebrate a person or event. And in summary, good social etiquette includes how to give a perfect toast. When you use these 7 tips, your tribute will convey to the honoree and others that you are confident and polished! Cheers!

You may also like to read Toasting Etiquette Tips for New Year’s Eve.

Rachel Wagner is a licensed business etiquette consultant, trainer and speaker. As an authority on etiquette and protocol issues facing today’s global business arena, she shares engaging and interactive content with corporate clients from a variety of industries across the United States. She is the etiquette expert for Fox23 in Tulsa and has been quoted or featured in local and national media outlets including Forbes, Money and the Washington Post.

Image Source: Matthieu Joannon on Unsplashed