Public Speaking Tips – Page 2 – Talking in Public

Category Archives for Public Speaking Tips

Congratulations Speech

Continuing the series of using speech templates, I am looking at the most common reasons/occasions for making a speech or presentation and giving you an easy to use template so you can write your presentation more effectively.

In this post I am looking at the “congratulations” speech which sometimes is combined with a “toast”.

Speech or Toast?

When you are expected to make a speech and propose a toast you should prepare two separate speeches. One is the speech of the agreed timing, the other is a formal toast of no more than one sentence.

What is a Toast?

A toasting speech is a short speech designed to convey words of congratulation, appreciation or loyalty, prior to “drinking” to seal the group’s agreement to the sentiment you have expressed.
It is customary to stand to deliver the toast either where you are seated or from a rostrum centrally located in the room where you are enjoying the celebration.

The Toast

It comes at the end of your prepared speech and is completed when you raise your glass to a height level with the top of your head and out towards the group you are addressing and announce the words you want the group to repeat as the subject of the toast. The group stands, repeats the words and everyone takes a sip of their drink before being seated again.

Writing a Speech

The Congratulation Speech

To use the template simply, let’s ask and answer some questions. These questions fall into two groups – CONTENT QUESTIONS and OCCASION QUESTIONS.

In both cases they are based on 5 topics:
WHO WHY WHAT WHERE HOW

Content Questions
WHO IS THE SPEECH FOR?
Confirm the name of the person about whom you will be speaking – I know it sounds crazy, however you don’t want to do all this work only to find it was the “other” Fred Bloggs!

WHY ARE YOU MAKING THE SPEECH?
Is it a responsibility of your position, do you know the person best, have you known them the longest ?

WHAT IS THE TOPIC?
Are you going to talk about the person and his/her work or study?

WHERE ARE YOU MAKING THE SPEECH?
Do you know the location well, can you have a practice run, will there be other distractions?

HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW THE SUBJECT?
Is it the reason you are making the speech? Answering this question will also give you an idea of how much topic research you need to do. It is also related to how well do the audience know the subject.

Occasion Questions

WHO IS IN THE AUDIENCE?
You must think about the audience so that your speech includes them or they will lose interest.

WHY ARE THEY THERE?
Are they there by choice? Is there a mix of work and other associates? What are they expecting from this occasion?

WHAT IS THE OCCASION?
Is this the only time the audience will see this person? Is this one of a series of celebrations?
Is this a formal or intimate celebration?

WHERE ARE YOU MAKING THE SPEECH?
Think here about the physical location as well as the “what” of the occasion (look at the content questions again)

HOW WELL DO THEY KNOW THE SUBJECT?
Is this a mixed group of co-workers and family? Are there people who don’t know the person?
Do you need to include a brief history of the person in your speech?

Now let’s have a look at using the speech template I have prepared.

The Blank Template:

It is my pleasant duty to congratulate on your behalf, our (guest/s of honour, colleague) ..….
I have (known, worked alongside) ……. . for many years. On this occasion it is important to mention …….
……… has honoured us by allowing us to help join in these celebrations today. It is my pleasant duty to ask you to join me in expressing our congratulations to …….
Ladies and gentlemen, the toast is ………

Let’s fill in the blanks :

It is my pleasant duty to congratulate on your behalf, our (guest/s of honour, colleague) ……

This is the best place to start as it focuses both you and the audience on the person who is most important in this speech. Depending on whether this is a business or social occasion you choose either “colleague” or “guest of honour”. e.g. It is my pleasant duty to congratulate on your behalf, our colleague Fred Bloggs.

I have (known, worked alongside) ……. . for many years. On this occasion it is important to mention …….

I have worked alongside Fred for many years. On this occasion it is important to mention the three qualities that have led to the success we are celebrating with him today. Firstly, I must acknowledge his unsurpassed customer focus. Many of his clients depend on him to provide urgent answers for their businesses – he never fails them. Secondly, his positive attitude that has always helped me to face those challenges of life that seem to appear when we least expect them. And lastly, his generosity of spirit that has seen all his colleagues benefit from his sharing of his experience.

……… has honoured us by allowing us to help join in these celebrations today. It is my pleasant duty to ask you to join me in expressing our congratulations to …….

Fred has honoured us by allowing us to help join in these celebrations today. It is my pleasant duty to ask you to join me in expressing our congratulations to our latest Million Sales Member, Fred Bloggs.

Ladies and gentlemen, the toast is Fred Bloggs.

This is the toast – one simple sentence that gives the guests time to stand and raise their glasses and repeat the name you have given them.

stop

A Word of Warning…

A note about anecdotes and reminiscing:
• Always be positive with your anecdotes
• Use as many as will fill the time you have been allocated
• Keep them short and relevant for the entire group of guests
• Do not relate potentially embarrassing, negative or private information

Find out how long you are expected to speak:
• Write your speech with peak attention and comprehension time in mind;
• For a 10 minute talk, you will have 8 minutes of peak attention from your audience;
• Audiences generally need more time to settle at the start of a speech than at the end.

Now we’re ready to start practising your speech for presentation to an audience.
First read the complete speech out loud to give yourself a base time. Then review that time to see how it matches the time you have been allocated. Add more content if you are short, remove some content if you are already over time.

Why Do I Need to Practise?

You haven’t done all this work just to read your speech….you are going to present it.