December 29, 1995 in Seven

How Not To Give A Crummy Toast

Wendy Lin Newsday
 

It’s a quarter to midnight and you’ve just uncorked a bottle of the bubbly. The glasses are filled and everyone is poised. Suddenly, all eyes turn to you for the toast.

Here we give you some advice on how to maneuver the New Year’s Eve ritual - what to say when the clock strikes 12.

But Keep in mind that you’re toasting a special opportunity. It provides you with an excuse to remind your family, friends, co-workers or whoever is gathered with you, how much you value them. A good toast, like a good champagne, makes everyone feel warm inside. It can heal wounds, draw old friends nearer and sometimes bring a tear to the eye.Such eloquence would suit

Amy Vanderbilt declared that toasts should be “either amusing or touching,” and never embarrassing.

Emily Post warned that non-drinkers should not turn their glasses upside down, but raise empty ones instead. And, you must stand when everyone else does for a toast.

Others versed in the art of toasting have their own tips to ensure your success. “I like to make it personal, right from the heart,” said Dick Ward, president of the Great Neck (N.Y.) Toastmaster’s Club, an organization that teaches its members extemporaneous speaking.

Start by getting your audience’s attention. If you’re in a crowd, go up to the microphone. If you’re at a sit-down dinner, stand up, says Eveleine Kennedy, president of a Long Island Toastmaster chapter. “It depends on the crowd, but generally speaking, you’re going to find that most people will quiet down. If need be, clink your glasses.”

State your intentions. Unless there are speeches going on, people won’t know what you want until you say, “I’d like to propose a toast.”

Address your audience specifically. “If you’re toasting the whole group, make the whole group know that they’re being toasted,” Kennedy said.

Then talk about the year past and your hopes for the coming new year. The key, experts say, is knowing your audience. “You can’t propose a toast to the bride and groom without knowing the couple,” Kennedy said.


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