How to Make a Toast

What better source for how to make a toast than the Toastmaster magazine for communicators and leaders which had an article Here’s to Toasting! in December 2017 issue. Paul Dickson, who is referenced in the article, is a freelance writer of more than 65 non-fiction books, mostly on American English language and popular culture. He has written two books on toasting:

Toasts are an important way in many cultures to recognize, celebrate, and share a moment with others by calling attention to the extra meaning and significance of an event. These moments of celebration can be made more precious by bringing people together in expressing good wishes.

Like any speech, toasts should be concise (2 minutes maximum except for special occasions like weddings or funerals) with beginning, body of 2 or 3 points, and a conclusion but in a short toast there are a few words at the end that people can repeat with you.

The short script of the toast itself might go like this:

  • Introduction
  • topic and good wishes
  • Raise your glass
  • “Please raise your glass and repeat after me”
  • Express a few words on the topic that everyone can say together
  • “Cheers!”

PS. The Art of Manliness blog has written a very good post on the history of toasting, how toasting has gone out of fashion, and what some of the benefits are that make it worth bringing back as a new and improved way of celebrating. That blog also has suggestions that apply equally to men and women on how to give a toast.

The Importance of Theory of the Business

Summary

This article is a summary of a classic by the father of modern business management Peter Drucker on the need to test business model assumptions. In the source article IBM and GM are used as examples of the need to refresh the “Theory of the Business”.

The Central Challenge

– “what to do” is increasingly becoming the central challenge facing managements
– The root cause of nearly every one of many business crises is not that things are being done poorly. It is not even that the wrong things are being done. Indeed, in most cases, the right things are being done—but fruitlessly. What accounts for this apparent paradox? The assumptions on which the organization has been built and is being run no longer fit reality.
– Every organization, whether a business or not, has a theory of the business. Indeed, a valid theory that is clear, consistent, and focused is extraordinarily powerful.

Theory of Business Assumptions

A theory of the business has 3 parts which are assumptions about:
1. the environment of the organization: society and its structure, the market, the customer, and technology.
2. the specific mission of the organization.
3. the core competencies needed to accomplish the organization’s mission.

The assumptions about environment define what an organization is paid for.

The assumptions about mission define what an organization considers to be meaningful results; in other words, they point to how it envisions itself making a difference in the economy and in the society at large.

Finally, the assumptions about core competencies define where an organization must excel in order to maintain leadership.

Specifications for a Valid Theory of Business

There are 4 specifications of a valid theory of the business:
1. The assumptions about environment, mission, and core competencies must fit reality.
2. The assumptions in all three areas have to fit one another.
3. The theory of the business must be known and understood throughout the organization.
4. The theory of the business has to be tested constantly.

Time for a Change

When a theory shows the first signs of becoming obsolete, it is time to start thinking again, to ask again which assumptions about the environment, mission, and core competencies reflect reality most accurately—with the clear premise that our historically transmitted assumptions, those with which all of us grew up, no longer suffice.

Theory of Business Update Needs

1. There is a need for preventive care—that is, for building into the organization systematic monitoring and testing of its theory of the business.
2. There is a need for early diagnosis.
3. Finally, there is a need to rethink a theory that is stagnating and to take effective action in order to change policies and practices, bringing the organization’s behavior in line with the new realities of its environment, with a new definition of its mission, and with new core competencies to be developed and acquired.

Source:
[https://hbr.org/1994/09/the-theory-of-the-business]

The True Nature of Personal Leadership

I really like this quote about personal leadership because it helps us to keep the focus on our human endowments:

“In his book, First Things First, Stephen Covey notes that the development of what he calls our four human endowments:

  • • self-awareness,
  • • conscience,
  • • independent will, and
  • • creative imagination
  • is at the core of personal leadership. It is our personal leadership that helps us to do our best creative work. Personal leadership means having the clarity to know what meaningful work looks like, and having the wherewithal to do that work.”

    33 Presentation Tips

    Pat Flynn on the Smart Passive Income blog provides 33 tips for public speaking in a 38 minute video. I like his suggestion about mingling with the audience to understand them better before the presentation. I don’t like his suggestion to start things off by showing a video because your presence right from the start should be used to begin developing a rapport with the audience. His alternative of telling a story is much preferable in my opinion and I would go further to emphasize not relying on over scripting which can make you come across as being robotic rather than being spontaneous and engaged. There is lots more in the video so give it a try if you are looking for suggestions to creatively make your presentation more interesting.

    Preparing for Your Next Presentation Performance

    Darren Hardy of Success Magazine

    Darren Hardy, publisher of Success magazine, has provided a concise article on the 6 preparation rituals he uses to achieve success in his presentations. These rituals are for preparing to perform a completed presentation and not a process used to develop the presentation which is another topic that will be covered in my blog. I agree with all of his performance preparation suggestions and especially endorse having a routine of your own to systemize your presentation preparation. I think his third recommendation to write down notes on the beginning of your presentation is ok but what is much better is to use memory techniques with particular focus on your start so you can get rolling and use the momentum to deliver your best performance. My observation is that even the most inexperienced speakers can perform much better and are more convincing if they memorize the key points of their speech rather than relying on notes. Most memorization techniques rely on location and visualization prompts (e.g. method of loci) but more complete coverage of that topic will be included in a future post.

    Craftmanship with Dignity for Great Work

    99u, byline Insights for Making Things Happen, is a very worthwhile site for actionable improvements and today it had an insightful article on The Craftman’s Guide for Working with Dignity.The 99u article makes a good case for why craftsmanship and dignity are so important in work and life. It encourages people to think about what they can do to increase their dignity. It also makes the point that this applies to modern knowledge work as much as traditional occupations.

    Three attributes were identified and their relevance to dignity explained:

    1. Curiosity
    2. Craftmanship
    3. Humility

    What struck me was that these attributes are also essential for innovation and creativity. Restating it in a slightly different way:

    • Having fun
    • Caring and showing care
    • Learning and applying improvements

    are all important in doing great work. It seems to me that caring and attention are becoming increasingly precious in a world which seems to be tempted towards being unconsciously automated and distracted.