Friday, April 15, 2011

Be Warm, Witty and Wise

Learn the three components of a tasteful toast.

As a professional magician and frequent attendee of social gatherings, I believe toasting is one of the easiest ways to turn an ordinary party into an extraordinary celebration. I’ve witnessed how a few spoken words can enhance an evening, enchant guests and promote re-telling of stories about the special event, starting with the toast. You, too, can convey your own magical message by learning the three components of a tasteful toast: Be warm. Be witty. Be wise.

Be Warm

In the popular 1970’s television show Fantasy Island, Mr. Roarke, played by Ricardo Montalb├ín, warmly greeted his guests in order to set them at ease. He’d say, “Good afternoon everyone, I am Mr. Roarke, your host. Welcome to Fantasy Island.”

We can learn from our history of the mini silver screen. If Mr. Roarke’s simple and genuine introduction worked well for six seasons – 158 episodes – then we can follow the script, too. Address the audience, introduce yourself and provide a sincere welcome.

Be Witty

After the hospitable welcome, people will pause for a few moments to listen for more information. For example, “Dinner is served in the main room. Please take your seats.” In my experience, this is an excellent time to proffer a brief humorous observation.

Below are a few generic funnies:

  • All our guests make us happy; some by coming and others by going.

  • Home: the place where you’re treated the best and grumble the most.

  • Never eat more than you can lift.

Be Wise

Next comes sage advice. What to say will vary depending on the wisdom to impart on the occasion: birthday, wedding, divorce (yes, that’s true!), baby shower, new job, or promotion. Quotes, proverbs, Tasteful Toasts, or writing words from the heart offers a vast array of appropriate remarks.

  • Baby: To the new parents, who are about to enter a “changing” world!

  • Promotion: May the work that you have be the play that you love.

  • Divorce: Always remember that hindsight is the best insight to foresight.

Put it all together and you’ll have three sentences – one warm, one witty and one wise:

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, my name is Michael Varma and I am your emcee for the evening. Welcome to Captain Sunny’s retirement party. He’s a man who knows everything and now has plenty of time to tell you all about it. Sunny, remember it’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years.

Practice your lines a couple of times to ensure a steady delivery, then let the festivities begin!


M

ichael Varma is a freelance writer, award-winning presenter and professional magician. To learn more, visit www.MichaelVarma.com. Contact Michael Varma, the author of Tasteful Toasts, for permission to reprint this article. Copyright April 2011 Magical Concepts.


 
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