Francine Provost

5 Tips to Make a Toast that has Punch during the Holiday Season

5 Tips to Make a Toast that has Punch during the Holiday Season!

Not everyone feels comfortable making toasts, and few know about the etiquette involved. But if you are toasting someone during this holiday season, or anytime, you do want to deliver your toast with polish and expertise.

My best advice is: prepare what you’re going to say and “be authentic”. Presenting a toast is not an exact science; however, if you follow these tips, you will deliver professional toasts that people remember!

  1. See that all glasses have been filled before you start your toast. Cold beverages should be used in all cases (e.g., no coffee or tea).


  2. Get everyone’s attention by standing. Then say, “May I have your attention please?”  Or stand and quietly raise your glass high enough for everyone to see (then place your glass on the table until you are ready to raise it). It’s not proper etiquette to hit your glass with a utensil.


  3. Rehearse what you plan to say so that your toast is to the point and professional. This should go without saying, but… make sure you are sober when you give your toast.


  4. Once you have finished speaking, hold your glass up and look at your audience and nod. Avoid clinging glasses.


  5. Offer your toast to a person and not an object or event, for example, “to all those who worked at making this event a success”, rather than, “to the success of this event”.


Have fun practicing toasts during the Holiday Season!

Everyone here at EKIPTEAM,

wishes you a peaceful and safe Holiday Season.

All the best for 2018!



4 Tips to Pave your Road to Agreement, Not Disagreement!

4 Tips to Pave your Road to Agreement, Not Disagreement!
Feedback or Criticism: Your Choice!

By Francine Provost, EKIP Training and Consulting

Sonia was just getting ready to head home after a long and busy day when a colleague comes to her desk and says: “Your approach in this document is all wrong! Management will never read your report!” Feedback? It smells more like criticism to me.

Criticism is not only emotionally painful but it rarely accomplishes what we want, i.e. better results. Continue reading

Six Tips of Quality Conversations

I love my cell phone and my iPad; couldn’t live without them now! You? At the same time, I’m noticing that instead of adding to the numerous ways we can communicate, many times these great devices compete or even replace them. We have forgotten the sound of the voice, the personal touch, and the power of having a conversation one on one. More than ever, relationships make the difference in productivity, sales, and happiness.

The critics of society deplore the decline of the art of conversation, and the experts are inclined to blame the gadgets of our cyber-era. Let’s see how we can still have quality conversations and bring more collaboration into the workplace and with our families.

  1. Put your phone away and be totally present. That’s an obvious one to start with. Right? But I mean REALLY put your phone AWAY. That’s the first step in quality listening, contributing to an inspiring conversation and showing you are there with them enjoying the moment.
  2. Ask way more questions. Many of us are prone to making statements, sharing our own experiences in answer to their examples, or doing small talk when we could be asking more and better questions. Questions help you learn about the other person, they help you understand them better and they create great opportunities to connect on a deeper level. Be careful not to sound like Inspector Columbo; instead ask open ended questions like journalists do (What, When, How, Where, etc.). For example, rather than asking someone if they were angry (closed question), ask them how they felt about the situation. You will get richer content and more interesting information.
  3. Adjust your communication style to the other person. If you learned about the DISC model with me, you know it is wise to adjust your communication style for a moment to “meet” the other person where they are. I don’t mean that you should become someone else, but if the person in front of you is a reserved type and you are more of an extrovert, please slow down for a moment.
  4. Avoid getting lost in details. Nobody wants to know the exact time you got off the bus, and the name of each street you walk by to find the store you were looking for, and the number of people at the cash counter. Too much details gets really boring and make the other person lose interest. Keep in mind the big picture, think of the message you want to communicate, and be brief. Spend more time listening than talking.
  5. Become the greatest listener. Stephen Covey said “Most people don’t listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Practice listening in a way that will help you learn about the other person, understand who they are and where they want to go. Be prepared to be amazed by what you will discover of them. It’s not necessary to like everything you hear, or everybody you have a conversation with, but can you learn something from every conversation.
  6. Suspend judgment. This is the art of not judging or internally critiquing what someone is saying. Instead, open your mind; be ready to reassess your beliefs because of the new learning that’s taking place when you have a true present and profound conversation.

We have more capacity to connect than we think. It’s not because electronic devices are very useful and present in our lives, that we should eliminate the art of conversation. In our century, listening is one of the most important and powerful skill you can develop.

Buddha once said: “A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker.” So let’s practice our communication and listening skills so we can be inspired by others.

Have a great week!


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Are you a Perfectionist?


Are you a




Which accepts only perfection gets too rarely satisfaction.



Do people tend to call you a perfectionist? Maybe you have a colleague or a boss that you see as a perfectionist? Or perhaps you live with a perfectionist. Continue reading

Three Mistakes to Avoid When Faced With Yet Another Change

autumnNew season, new colors! It’s already October and you’re probably back into the full swing of things. Maybe you came back a few weeks ago after a wonderful vacation to find out that yes, one more change is happening this year. Maybe it’s a new system you have to learn; maybe it’s reorganization; maybe your office is moving; maybe you’re getting a new boss. Continue reading

How to Recognize DISC Styles When You Don’t Have a DISC Report in Front of You?

2016-09-22_ekip-newsletter-sept-2016Are you sometimes wondering who the person you’re dealing with really is? Maybe they seem strange to you, or maybe their behavior leaves you wondering “What was he thinking?

Although it’s true that some people appear to be weird to us, many times it’s a question of not understanding where they’re coming from. Continue reading

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