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Give good toast

What to say Monday night

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While a good New Year’s Eve toast seems like a string of eloquent words simply strung together at just the right moment, there was likely at least a bit of work beforehand to make that speech sparkle.

Here are some tips from Toastmasters, a group designed to make speakers better at their craft:

The first tip is to recognize that everyone is nervous to some degree when they speak in front of audiences, so funnel that nervous energy into creating a dynamic toast. A big trick to doing that is to know what you are going to say before you say it. Even the most “spontaneous” toast has been thought about before the glass of bubbly ever finds its way in the air.

“If you’re with a small group of friends, make it sincere and personal (from the heart).  If you’re at a large party, use humor. Politics — there’s so much material there (Bush/Cheney), goals — reach last year’s New Year’s resolutions, stock market/economy/sub-prime mortgages,” says Toastmaster organizer Stephanie Shinn, whose group Thank God It’s Today meets at noon at The Tacoma Art Museum every Wednesday.

“Avoid religion, handicapped and gay/lesbian.”

Practicing a toast never hurts, especially when it comes to comedic pauses or pacing. Don’t afraid to be yourself as long as you keep the audience in mind. When it comes to content, it always helps if the toast includes comments on something you know about or is well suited for the audience. Humor is great as long as everyone gets the joke.

Other than that, have fun and relax. You are giving a toast not a State of the Union speech. Everyone in the audience wants you to succeed. Relax, slow down and breathe.

There are Toastmaster Clubs around the South Sound. For a group near you, visit:

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