After many years of service to the organization you work for, a good friend and associate is calling it a day, and stepping into retirement. The company has decided to have a banquet in his/her honor – and they’ve tapped you to deliver the retirement toast at the ceremony. Suddenly, you’re wondering how you’re going to make this presentation, in front the guest of honor and a room full of peers. You can deliver a good retirement toast, and give the guest of honor something to always remember.
Those who are preparing to deliver a retirement toast should be sure to figure out what will best capture the crowd, as well as bring heartfelt emotion from the retiree. Making the right toast begins with properly setting the stage for your delivery. Are all the key individuals there?? Is the guest of honor in the room, enjoying him or herself, ready to receive this retirement toast honor bestowed upon him/her?? If all are in place, and ready to give their undivided attention, the speaker will often clink their glass to elicit full attention.
Once you have the attention of all in the room…what will you say?? You might start by breaking the ice through humor. A good joke told early can really spur interest in the retirement toast you’re making. In fact, a large number of these toasts usually contain various doses of humor throughout the toast. Be sure that whatever anecdote or piece of humor you employ is all in good fun, and not offensive to the guest of honor – as this is his/her moment in the spotlight, not yours…no matter how it may look from your vantage point.
At this time, the presenter will want to get to the genuine sentiment he or she wishes to express in this retirement toast. You can accomplish this by sharing a brief tale about your colleague (as traditionally, toasts go on for a shorter amount of time than speeches), or something such as a poem or little song to commemorate the many years of service that the retiree has given to the organization.
In many cases parts of the actual retirement toast itself will go something along the lines of:
…so here’s to Ross – we will never forget you, or what you’ve meant to all of us…
I just want to say that I’ve been honored to call you a colleague, an associate – and a friend…
We just can’t imagine work without you here – but I guess we’ll be finding out pretty soon… (laughter, if you’re really good)
So making a retirement toast can be a little bit of work – but you can also have a lot of fun with it…and take your colleagues and the guest of honor along for the ride.