May means the arrival of wedding season.

For many, this is a time of great anticipation, filled with the promise of joyful dancing, bright bouquets and fruity cocktails. But for the few VIP guests preparing for a champagne toast, it may just be their dooms day. Even the most gregarious extrovert experiences trepidation at the thought of delivering a half-hearted, lame toast…

So, when the time comes, refer to these helpful tips and grab that mic with confidence and ease;

Create a Road Map – In other words, don’t wing it. A written speech to follow verbatim may not be necessary, but have some sense of what you’re going to say. Tangents turn into rambling, and rambling will frustrate your audience. Develop a beginning, middle and end and some high points you want to share.

Keep it Short & Sweet – Don’t stand between guests and their meal. A 45-second stint won’t seem heartfelt; thirty minutes is painfully, painfully tedious. Aim for three minutes, five minutes max.

Relax & Breathe – You are surrounded by the people who love you most in the world. Just remember, you aren’t addressing the President of the United States – these are your friends and family…relax, breathe and have some fun with it.

If Your Joke Flops, Own It – We aren’t all comedians. But, we’ve all laughed at ourselves once or twice. If your joke flops, own it. Say, “Well, that went over well,” or “tough crowd,” you’ll at the very least get the sympathy laugh.

Steer Away from Inside Jokes – Share stories that resonate well with everyone and remember, most of the audience didn’t go to highschool with you.

photo by Meg Runion Studios with Colleen Miller Events at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards.

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