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How (and how not) to give great birthday toasts

Birthday Toasts

Glasses have been clinked, conversation has been paused, and fate (or a harried host) has selected you to deliver a birthday toast. Here’s what you can do to compliment the living birthday cake out of the Guest of Honor.

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  • Remember: Your audience is pulling for you! They want you to succeed, and they know you’re trying to convey their feelings, too. Also, they don’t like feeling awkward any more than you do.
  • Smile—speak—raise your glass—drink—smile—sit. That’s all you have to do. No one ever says, “That toast was too short.”
  • Start with something semi-personal—a hobby like golf, for instance, or a Facebook addiction—and turn it into a compliment. Like this: “Jeff, we hope you have a great birthday, and remember…we love you more than you love golf!” Or…  “Tina, we hope you have a great birthday…and we expect to hear all about it on Facebook!”
  • If you can’t think of a personal angle, there’s no shame in just going for a warm compliment. Try one of these: “It might be your birthday party, Steve, but we’re the ones with something to celebrate because we know you.” Or… “Tonight we celebrate 30 years that Sara has made the world a better place to be, and here’s to the next 30!”

All done? Then it’s time for another drink and more cake, and everyone will remember that you were awesome. Or at least nice, which is actually better than awesome.