Some people find toasting intimidating, especially in front of a crowd, but there are some secrets that can make it easier whether it be at a New Year's Eve party, wedding, or birthday celebration.
To get the group's attention, never bang on a glass; simply stand, holding your glass in the air. (Toasts should be offered standing, unless at a private, small affair or in a public restaurant.)
The person being toasted remains seated.
Don't hold your glass in the air during your toast. Set it down after you get their attention, make your toast, then raise your glass and ask the others to raise theirs for your formal, final words. You can also ask the group to stand for the final words.
Guests respond by taking a sip of their drink, not draining the glass. For those not drinking alcohol, toasting with water or a soft drink is acceptable. The person being toasted does not drink.
The guest of honor often returns the toast, thanking the host for their kind words and then proposing a toast of their own to the host.
It's all in the delivery
First and foremost, don't start off the toast by apologizing for any problems you think you may have in delivering it. Making your listeners aware that you are nervous will make them uncomfortable too. In order to feel more comfortable get familiar with the place and the people you will speak to. Of course you want to be eloquent, so speak slowly, clearly and loud enough if a microphone is not available.
Finally, if the toast is to honor a certain person, a fun story about him or her is appropriate, but refrain from referring to an "inside joke" which only a few people would understand.
Humor is good, humiliation is not
It is ok to open up the history books and tell some fun anecdotes during a toast but avoid anything that will potentially embarrass you or others.
Keep the toast clean especially if there are children in the room. Make sure to end on a bright note.
For the toasted
If you are the one receiving the toast stay seated. If you stand it seems as if you are congratulating yourself. The person being toasted never drinks to him/herself nor even touches their glass during the toast. However, the person being toasted should always stand up and respond to the toast when it is finished.
The rules change a bit if the toast is not directed at a particular person but is meant for everyone in the room. In that case, everyone can join in.
Champagne or wine are traditional for making toasts, but non-alcoholic beverages such as water, juice and soda are acceptable substitutes. So go on and raise a toast to good toasting times!
It is not for nothing that the eyes are called the windows to a person’s soul. Eye contact creates a strong connection between two people and also creates an impression of sincerity and trustworthiness.
• Look at a person when being introduced to him/her, maintain the eye contact even while speaking. Eye contact with another person shows your interest in him/her. It also forces you to pay attention to what s/he is saying. • Make soft eye contact, i.e. look into the other person’s eyes, and then shift your gaze to other parts of the person’s face occasionally. • While speaking with a group of people, look at one person for a few seconds and then shift your gaze to another. • Making eye contact does not mean that you try and stare a person down with an intense pupil-to-pupil gaze. Staring at a person is the quickest way of making him uncomfortable and so, putting him on the defensive.
A handshake is a universally accepted way of greeting people, as also a universal source of worry! While everybody has their own theory about the correct way to shake hands, the general rule is to keep the handshake firm, brief and as far as possible, dry.
• On being introduced, offer your right hand. Smile and make eye contact. Offer a greeting. • Keep the handshake firm and brief. This is not a show of strength, so don’t try and cripple the other person. At the same time don’t let the handshake be a half-handed, limp, wet fish sort of grip. • Do not attempt to hold hands till introduction is over. A good handshake lasts for about 3 to 4 seconds.
If you offer a handshake and it is refused, just withdraw your hand. Under most circumstances you have followed protocol while the other person has been ungracious in refusing to respond.