Effectively, energetically giving a toast, raising a glass, honoring a holiday or person, is both an art and a science!
While most people say comments such as "Here's to Steve!", or "Cheers to a good night!", and those are alright to get through a step in recognizing a person or a time, those experiences are neither memorable nor thoughtful.
Toasting can seem rushed or even forced if there is no planning, and yet you want toasts to be from the heart. To bring timing and a plan together, think of 'tis the season (at all moments or days of the year) when you want to raise a glass and hear that "clink" of cheer.
Similar to how you can introduce a person with TIS (Topic, Importance to the Audience, and then Speaker credentials before that person's name), a fun, memorable toast has those three parts. Before a toast, ensure people all have had a chance to get water, soda, wine, or whatever they are drinking, and share your TIS with this twist:
T - Thanks/Today/This - Start your toast not by rattling a fork or spoon on a glass or yelling "Okay everyone" or "If I can get your attention", as those approaches can be jarring and even startling. An example that is compelling is to say something like "Thanks for joining us today", or "Today is a very special day for many reasons". The T in the TIS gets people attention in a positive way, and gives a reference for what is happening as it foreshadows where you are going!
I - Importance/Insights - Move from the T's connection aspect to the toast to the importance and insights about what or who you are raising your glass to celebrate. Without saying things such as "Everyone knows" and "Obviously", you can happily share some points about the individual or holiday such as "It's heartwarming to see how many people have been touched by one person here tonight".
S - Share who/what, specifically - Wrap up the toast with a clear statement of who/what is being honored. Yes, it is okay to say "So, let's smile and raise a glass to our host, Raji Patel", and another approach is to elaborate with adjectives or another context
An example for a virtual Thanksgiving toast is:
Thank you for joining us! Today is a special day for giving thanks.
Thanksgiving is traditionally about food, gathering, and sharing. While we have been eating good grub in our separate locations, and we are gathered differently this year, we are getting to share by staying connected.
So, with much appreciation for each of you, and gratitude for sharing this moment. Here's to each of you feeling loved and appreciated today and throughout the rest of the year! Happy Thanksgiving!
You may have noticed the lack of the word "I", and the focus on brevity and positivity, and those efforts are intentional for making everyone feel included and keeping to mood up! No matter with whom or how often you toast, make the 'tis the season lift come from your TIS approach!