Giving a memorable toast isn't something most of us necessarily practice, but it's one of those things that's embarrassing if you don't do it right.
Toasting seems like a simple thing to do. You get up, say a few nice words and sit down. But there's more to it. Here are five things to remember.
1) 4 S's of toasting: Stand, Speak, Sip, Sit.
2) Avoid the most common faux pas of toasting by never taking that first sip if you are the object of the toast! Don't even touch your glass. (It would be like singing "Happy Birthday" to you.)
3) Another common faux pas of toasting: Not returning a toast given to you by the host. Always return a toast! Just before or at the start of dessert, return a toast by appreciating your host: "I'd like to propose a toast to X and his awesome hospitality."
4) Understand the types of toasts and you'll never mess up an opportunity to honor another and cement a connection.
"Welcome Toast" lets guests know that they are appreciated and is given after all are seated and before the meal begins.
The "Honor Toast" is given by the Host and directed to the Guest of Honor; it is given before the entrée is served. The "Reciprocal Toast" is given by the Guest of Honor to thank the Host for the hospitality and good food; it is delivered before dessert.
5) Especially in recessionary times, appreciate what's good in life and toast your friends, family, and the positive as frequently as possible. Teach your children that toasting is a simple way to connect with and appreciate others. Try, "And here's to our family enjoying this wonderful food together."
Susan Fitter Sloane is the founder of Global Manners, an international lifestyle and etiquette consultation company.