Too Personal

The season is here for weddings, graduations, and other festivities. Time to tune up your toasting skills. Recently, we coached a client who wanted to welcome their son’s wedding guests, as well as deliver a meaningful tribute to the bride and groom.

We interviewed our client about their son and what formed his character. Our client gave a list of his accomplishments, as though their son came into the world baked to perfection. We asked for stories of challenges, stumbles, or quirks. The reply was “we can’t say that.” The parents were afraid it would be too personal or viewed as negative. Unfortunately, bland, general, and only positive statements sound like a Hallmark card and don’t engage audiences.

To make a tribute memorable, recall events that formed your subject’s character through being tested. Or their eccentricities that later became advantages. Or flaws that made them unique. Relate specifics from your perspective and you will not only touch a nerve, but also honor your loved or respected subject.

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