Let’s Give It Up for Dad!

We are in the time of year when Americans celebrate special people and special days. A few weeks ago it was Mother’s Day, then Memorial Day. Coming up we have Father’s Day and the Fourth of July.

A part of any of these celebrations can be a toast. A toast is simply an affirmation in words of a person or an event. A toast has several simple guidelines.

Make sure ahead of time that every one has the appropriate toasting materials–a glass, cup, or goblet–and that it contains the appropriate liquid, whether champagne, iced tea, or water.

 Here are some tips for a successful toast:

  • Keep it under two minutes in length.
  • Begin with the purpose of the toast.
  • Say something specific that affirms the person or event.
  • If possible, include a relevant quotation.
  • Finish with a version of “so we toast you today, Dad.” At the same time raise your glass to let people know they are to do the same.

In general, I don’t recommend a manuscript for most speeches, but the toast Is one where a script works well. You are less likely to get emotional because you are concentrating on the words and your words will be more carefully spoken.

So let’s say we are toasting Dad, celebrating Father’s Day.  Do not do this without proper preparation. It’s apparent the toast is going to be awkward when the toaster begins with, “There are so many things I could say about this man.”  Or “I don’t know where to begin.”  Avoid those kinds of beginnings by starting with “We are here to toast Dad on his special day.” 

Although my father is deceased (if the person is deceased we call the affirmation with words a eulogy!), if he were alive this might be my affirmation:

“Dad, you truly are dedicated to your children; you never missed any of our ballgames, you drove us to piano lessons, you waited on us when we were sick, and you always had time to listen to us, and yet you never complained. 

“Charles Wadsworth said, ‘By the time a man realizes maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.’ I hope you realize, Dad, that we always appreciate you as someone who is not wrong, but is instead one who is wise and serves as an excellent role model for all of us.”

The final line might be simply, “For all of these traits we salute you, Dad.”

When Father’s Day comes, take him to his favorite restaurant or cook his favorite food. Make the activities all about him, and a highlight of the day will be your customized and carefully prepared toast.

Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, presents keynotes and seminars to corporations and associations whose people want to speak and listen effectively. See additional articles and resources at www.sboyd.com. To book Steve, call 800-727-6520 or reply to this email.

Steve Boyd
Steve Boyd
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. Steve won the Toastmasters International Speech Contest in 1970 and was chosen Outstanding Professor of the Year at NKU in 1984, among other awards and honors. Since retiring, he volunteers with nonprofits, spends time with family, travels, preaches occasionally, and enjoys reading and writing. Contact Steve at (859) 866-5693 or at steveboyd111@gmail.com.

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