Toasts are short and concise, nowhere near as feared as a full-blown speech, however, it carries its own set of principles that ideally should be followed.
Sometimes a toast can be spur of the moment and at other times it can be requested of you in advance. If you're prone to nerves, there's no reason to experience any anxiety to the point where you're forced to let people and their requests down. Here is a few simple guidelines that'll alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty you may feel:
1. Generally, the host of the party or dinner has a reserved right to do the first toast so before you get carried away with an impromptu toast, check with the host first.
2. Keep it short - that will be the distinction between a toast and a speech, a toast shouldn't go over a minute.
3. The purpose of public speaking is that you intend to speak and have the public hear you. Keep your voice clear and loud. Standing is optional as toasts are slightly more informal, however, if it's a large crowded room, it's probably a better idea to stand, it'll help your voice project further.
4. Despite popular belief, it's not necessary to obnoxiously tap a utensil to a glass cup prior to a toast to get everyone's attention. If you stand and ask for everybody's attention, you will achieve the same effect respectably.
5. You may choose to include a humorous anecdote; it's essential that it remains in good taste, a little witty and only lightly teasing.
6. To toast is to publicly show appreciation, so obviously your toast should include praise of the host, the person being celebrated or the wedding couple.
7. To conclude your toast, you should always raise your glass eye-level and say "To.." and the person or person's whom you are toasting to.