Tips on Delivering Toasts and Speeches

Nariman Taweel asked:

Some lucky individuals have a natural gift when it comes to public speaking. They feel little, if any, nervousness of the prospect of facing a large audience.

Public speaking is an unusual experience for most of us. We see the situation as threatening and fear embarrassing ourselves. Breathing may become irregular. Although unpleasant all these reactions are completely normal. Most public speakers experience them to some degree.

The more you speak in public the less nervous you will become. The only way to successfully master public speaking for the first time is to practice in front of the mirror. In order to help you we have provided you with some advice that you will be able to incorporate in your speech making.


Good preparation and planning will give you the confidence to deliver your speech. This will calm your nerves and make the experience more pleasurable.

Preparation, planning and practice is absolutely vital to the success of your speech.


Are witty, serious minded, shy, or extroverted?

How will this affect your speech?

Do not attempt a highly amusing speech if you tend to be a serious person. You will find this uncomfortable and more likely than not, fail to produce the desired affect.

Write your speech to reflect your personality to ensure success.


An interesting speech delivers new information. If at all possible spend a little time getting to know your audience. Research can mean freedom, giving you lots of interesting content for your speech.


This is an important part of your speech which many people overlook. It establishes your style and introduces you to your audience.


Many people feel that they can memorize their speech but more often than not these are the people that become unstuck. Giving a speech is not a test of your memory.

Using speaker notes are acceptable; in fact an audience finds it easier to listen to a speaker that occasionally looks down at his or her notes.

Speaker cards allow you to pause and catch your breath, and to gather your thoughts.


You should never have to shout to be heard. If a room is very large, then usually a microphone should be provided for your comfort. A good, strong, clear voice is best. Try not to mumble or run sentences together.

Pausing at the end of a point can be a powerful statement. Allow for responses such as laughter, sighs, gasps and other emotional responses.

Make eye contact with your audience, but try not to speak to every person in the room as you can not make eye contact with everyone. Select a few key people/ positions in the room, and address these positions to give the impression that you are speaking to the whole audience.

When speaking into the microphone, speak softly until you get used to the microphone volume.

Make sure you pace the speech and do not race through it as it will appear as though you cannot wait to finish.

Try being animated when delivering your speech. Avoid using one tone of voice as you will put people to sleep. Vary the emotional emphasis and your speech will hold the listeners interest.


If you look forward to making the speech, you will undoubtedly perform at your best.

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