Book Review of Toast: Short Speeches, Big Impact by Eddie Rice
Updated: Dec 22, 2022
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I must admit, a part of me shudders at the idea of being asked to give a speech at an event. I don’t have stage fright at all, in fact, I’ve always enjoyed performing on stage whether it’s a play or an improv performance. But the idea of writing a personalized speech and then saying it out loud in front of a group of people who know me is terrifying.
I would imagine that nearly everyone has witnessed at least one awful speech. Unfortunately, they are often the most memorable for that reason. I was once at a wedding where the bride and groom asked a large number of friends and relatives to give a speech. I saw maybe five people completely bomb that day. The ones who bombed weren’t drunk or shy either. They were mostly confident people that rambled on about irrelevant or embarrassing details about the bride or groom - sometimes getting lost in their own stories.
It’s easy to write a bad speech. We don’t give many in life. Most people aren’t able to come up with a good one on their feet either. But what can you do to avoid being the person that bombs their speech?
Eddie Rice’s book Toast Short Speeches, Big Impact is an easy-to-read book that gives you not just great speech writing advice, but the perfect simple step-by-step guides for almost any sort of event speech you could think of, everything from wedding speeches to giving a speech during a company Zoom meeting.
This is the book I wish we were assigned at my speech writing class I briefly signed up for at a community college for fun. I ended up dropping it after the first couple of classes when I felt overwhelmed by both the teacher telling us “to use our gut” and the 300-page book that was tedious to read through before our first speech the next week.
You can easily read this book in a few hours, or if you have a speech coming up the next day you can just jump to the most relevant section and use that guide and general advice to help you put together a great speech. One of the things I love about this book is that he gives excellent examples of speeches to read through in each section and explains why they worked.
I read this without needing to write a speech anytime soon, but I appreciated all the pointers he gave in the book's first half. They seem simple, but you’ll quickly realize how many bad speeches you’ve heard that really needed this advice. Now I feel a bit more confident that I can avoid some of those plunders the next time I have to give a speech.
After reading the book I felt like I could come up with a decent speech that I could confidently present with both the helpful format guides and more general advice. It has great pointers on how to use humor effectively, tips for practicing before you speak in front of an audience, guides on how many words to write for your allotted time, and well-explained simple formats to follow for the type of speech you’re giving.
Speechwriting is a skill we all need to have in life - weddings, retirement parties, and funerals, for instance, will at some point demand us all to write a speech. This book is an excellent quick and informative read to have on hand for when we inevitably need it. I highly recommend adding this one to your bookshelf either to help you polish your current speech writing skills or to help you go from being terrified of giving a speech like I was, to feeling confident that you’ll be able to give a great speech with the simple guidelines and tips in this book.
If you want a copy of Toast: Short Speeches, Big Impact the ebook is only $2.99 and paperback copies start at $6.99 new on Amazon.