How fun would it be to talk with people every day who are planning to prepare and deliver a toast at a best friend’s or sibling’s wedding, and helping them come up with the right words to properly toast the love and commitment of the newlyweds?! All I would talk about all day is about love and friendship, and I’d meet many happy people and hear lots of stories about the bonds that hold together friendships and families.
A NYT article published in the Sunday Styles section ten days ago described the role that some writers are playing – that of “ghostwriter of toasts” (or “toast whisperer”). They help would-be toasters who are tongue-tied or merely a bit ill at ease with public speaking. Toast writers are responsible for coaching people on the tone, style, content and delivery of sweet sentiments celebrating someone who’s near and dear to them.
From the article: “Mr. Ruggiero is one of a growing number of people who turn to ghostwriters to help them prepare speeches not for professional situations but for social and family ones: weddings, anniversaries, Sweet 16s, bar and bat mitzvahs, baby namings, even funerals.”
It’s not something that clients typically want to brag about or give testimonials about (although I’m not sure why it’s anything to be ashamed of). Many clients who hire outsiders to write their toasts feel like they should be able to speak eloquently from the heart about their friend or loved one. Instead of trusting themselves not to say anything stupid (such as, “I will always remember Randy because of the night we got so drunk we crashed my car”), and to avoid rambling on so long that hecklers interrupt them, they enlist professionals to provide the right words and a little “performance” coaching. It should be something they are proud of (hiring a toast writer), because it’s like expressing the sentiment, “I love you so much that I hired someone to help me properly honor you in my toast.”
It’d be a win-win-win way to make a living. The toast writer./coach makes a little money (usually around $500); the client who delivers the toast is remembered for his or her witty words and fabulous presentation skills; the person being toasted is honored; and those in the audience participating in the toast say “Oh, isn’t that sweet?” and “Hear, Hear!” and “I wish I could give a toast like that.”
And then when everyone drinks champagne, the toast-maker breathes a sigh of relief and sends a thumbs-up and smiley-face text to the unnamed (but fully appreciated) “toast whisperer.”
But, alas, life is about more than love. It’s also about presenting and publishing and posting and communicating with audiences in multiple ways on multiple levels. Whatever you need in the way of the written word, ask for help when you feel stuck or otherwise not up to the task. You can reach me at 404.909.1582.
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