The toast/joke should last about 30 seconds. If possible, try to tailor your toast or joke towards the theme of the meeting.
The Toast is a mini-speech with a definite structure to it – introduction, body and conclusion. The purpose of proposing a toast is to honour a person or persons, an institution or an event.
Try to avoid proposing a toast to controversial persons or subjects.
A toast is structured as follows:
* Address the Chairperson and audience.
* Introduction: Begin with an introductory sentence that lets audience know this is a tribute or honour.
* Body: Mention a few reasons why you are toasting that person and what makes them worthy of a toast at this time. Invite the audience to fill and raise their glasses. Then mention the name of the person you are toasting.
* Finally, conclude by a short declaration to that person which members of the audience are expected to repeat after you, eg., “To Our Club!”
Keep your declaration down to 3 or 4 words so that audience can repeat it easily and in unison.
Example: Mr./Mme. Chairperson, fellow Toastmasters and guests. Tonight I would like to pay tribute to our wonderful club. This Club has contributed to the personal growth of so many members. Everyone has dedicated their time and energy towards mentoring, educating and ensuring that all our meetings run smoothly. Would you please raise your glasses and let us drink to the health of The XYZ Club! To XYZ!
The Joke sets a fun tone for the meeting.
Prior to the meeting:
*Prepare a joke to deliver when you are called on during the meeting.
*Time yourself to make sure it is 30 seconds or less.
*Avoid the same controversial topic areas that you would avoid for a speech.
*Since it is only 30 seconds, this is a good opportunity to memorize the joke, so you can concentrate on delivery and timing, critical components to maximize the effect of your humour. Remember to use pauses and pacing effectively.
*Test your joke out on a friend or family member before doing it in the meeting.
During the meeting:
*When called upon by the Chairman, deliver your joke.
*Pause after the punchline to support, enhance, and receive any laughter the joke may have generated before sitting down.