Archive for April 2nd, 2007

Toasting, Roasting, And Speeches In General

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

Toasts are an important part of wedding receptions, birthday and anniversary celebrations, retirement parties, and many other gatherings. They pay tribute to the guests of honor or to the hosts of the event.

Roasts are humorous insults directed at the honoree, and funny stories told at that worthy person’s expense.

Speeches are… boring (to everyone except the person talking).

Now that we have defined our terms, let’s look more closely at how and when each is appropriate.

A toast is short, sweet, and G-rated. It should be delivered from the heart, not from prepared notes. (If it’s longer than a paragraph, it isn’t a toast – it’s a speech in disguise.) A single quote from the Bible, Shakespeare, or Will Rogers is fine. Multiple quotes and anecdotes are s-p-e-e-c-h-e-s. Toasts (remember: short, sweet, and G-rated) are appropriate at any gathering.

A roast is funny. Both the honoree (the butt of the joke) and the guests should be amused. In the real world, this requires restraint and maturity on the part of the roaster. PG or R-rated stories must only be told in front of an age-appropriate audience. It is okay for the roastee to blush, but not to flush (become angry or embarassed.) It is never permissable to tell a story from the honoree’s past that will create a problem for them with their spouse or family in the future.

A speech is any address which can be outlined (Intro, Main Points, Conclusion) or written as more than one paragraph. At gatherings where guests have come great distances or are themselves honored personages, it may be advisable when introducing them to the audience to have a written list, so that none are left out. Similarly, when thanking multiple hosts, committee members, or contributors to a party, a written list is appropriate. Finally, a short letter to the honoree from a head of state or other dignitary can be read to the guests. Otherwise, speeches longer than 60 seconds have no place at most receptions and galas.