So you have to write a graduation speech? Congratulations! Now take a deep breath, and keep these 10 things in mind when you’re sitting down to write that speech. (Try not to procrastinate!)
1.Humor – If you’re good at humor, use humor. If you aren’t, then you might want to avoid it. Be yourself in your speech. It will show if you try to force words out of your mouth that you wouldn’t normally say.
2.Anecdote – Lots of the people in your class, especially if you’re in a small one, will know everyone else. Maybe there are stories from freshman year that everyone knows. You can share those, as long as they aren’t embarrassing. If they show how much you’ve all grown, that’s even better.
3.Hope – You’ve got your lives spread out ahead of you. You are on the path less traveled! Deliver a message of hope in your speech in some way. This is the best time in your life to have hope.
4.How you got there – It’s perfectly appropriate to discuss the past and how it’s shaped how you and your classmates ended up sitting on that stage in front of your families. This can be part of the anecdotal part, but doesn’t have to be.
5.Example – Include at least one story about your class. Something that involved lots of people, something that will be a fond memory for a long time. Even if the people watching don’t understand it, your classmates will, and that’s who this whole graduation event is really for.
6.Clarity – While writing, make sure that the words you use are simple, eloquent, and that they’re not difficult to pronounce. Practice reading the speech in front of other people both in person and over the phone. Ask them to point out when something doesn’t sound quite right. Even if it’s grammatically correct, if the people listening don’t understand you then your work choices need to change.
7.Write for your audience – So, who’s your audience? Well, your classmates, everyone in that audience, your whole school (you’ll probably be asked to give the speech at an assembly too), and your teachers and school administrators. Keep in mind that this speech is for all of them.
8.You’re representing your whole class – Do not make this speech only about your specific situation. You’re representing every student who’s on that stage with you. Remember that when deciding what to write about in your speech.
9.Quotes – Find a single quote that sums up what you want to say. Any more than that, and it will get confusing. Use it both at the beginning, then at the end, to close the speech and bring it full circle. If it’s a quote that many of your classmates know as well, it’s even better.
10.Thanks – Don’t forget to thank the people who have gotten you to where you are. They put a lot more effort into it than you might ever realize, and deserve to know that you appreciate them. Teachers, parents, siblings, coaches, administrators, they’ve all worked these last 4 years to make sure that you had what you needed to succeed.
Congratulations on your achievement!