How to Make a Toast at a Business Event

Making a toast reflects your esteem for the person that you're toasting. Toasts can be made with wine or any other beverage. Traditionally, you do not toast to yourself, although some people now think that it's okay to raise your glass in response. In either case, you do not drink if you're the one being toasted.

Toasting was once a man's job, and only the men drank the toast while the women nodded and smiled. Now it is perfectly appropriate for anyone to make a toast and for anyone to respond to the toast, regardless of gender.

Here are a few toast-making rules:

  • The host can and should propose the first toast (a welcome toast) to begin the dining.

  • If the event has a guest of honor, the host proposes a toast to that person.

  • If the guest of honor is a very important person, it's a sign of respect for everyone to rise to perform the toast.

The guest of honor, regardless of gender, generally responds to the toast by thanking and toasting the host, and thanking everyone for their attendance. In fact, guest of honor or not, if you're toasted, you should always respond with a toast.

At large events where you want to command the attention of a room or of more than one table, rising for the toast is traditional. For smaller events, rising isn’t necessary; simply ask for everyone’s attention. When you have the floor, be respectful; take a minute or less to make the toast; and be seated again.

Clinking your crystal with a fork to get attention is gauche and potentially dangerous.

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