10 Useful Tips for a Speech about Your Life

Writing guide
Posted on May 19, 2016

Have been told to give a speech about yourself and searching for material to use? If yes, then you are in the right place. There are many incidents in your life which you can focus your speech on. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. The truth is that to write a truly great speech, you need inspiration. And that spark won’t just light itself in your head. To get your mental juices running, you need tips that guide you to the right path.

Here are some great tips which you can use to write an excellent speech about your life:

  1. Steve Jobs gave the Stanford commencement speech and told everyone that settling down is very mainstream. He was the co-founder of Apple but later on he was kicked out of his own company. He claims that that was the best thing that ever happened to him because that pushed him to explore new paths. He became so diversified that Apple had to rehire him. Apple has since created ground breaking laptops, computers and of course the phone that changed the face of regular handhelds, the iPhone. Steve Job’s life story was a clear proof that he never settled for anything less than what he deserved. He became one of the most iconic and influential figures in the modern day technological era.
  2. JK Rowling, who’s the author of the now-famous Harry Potter series, initially faced a lot of hurdles. The idea of Harry Potter was turned down by several publishers. Her speech at Harvard University was around the very idea of the benefits of failure. She said in clear words that what she feared most at a young age was not poverty, but failure. JK Rowling said that she felt extremely sad when she was suffering from failures, but she believes that those very failures helped her strip away the inessential. She took a lesson out of her own life and wrote a beautiful speech, she told everyone that we don’t need magic to change the world because everything we need is already inside us. Especially the power of imagination.
  3. Jim Carrey gave the commencement speech at Maharishi University and, as expected, it went viral. In his speech he told everyone that even if someone plans their life safely, they can still fail, so it’s better to go big or go home. Jim then tells a tale about his own father wanting to become a comedian but decided to go about life in a financially secure manner and ended up being an accountant. His father played it safe but he was fired and the family ended up being extremely poor anyway.
  4. David Foster gave an everlasting speech at the graduation ceremony of Kenyon College. His speech became so iconic that it was translated into various forms of literature. The author put his own imagination and experiences in the speech by telling everyone that they are all part of a gigantic and constantly changing interaction of life forms. David emphasized on the point that it is important to step out of our comfort zones and interact with others, even if it’s extremely unpleasant, to truly experience life. David suffered from depression and his life-story ended on a very bleak note but this speech may have been his answer to everyone who felt like him.
  5. Comedian Stephen Colbert gave a terrific speech at Northwestern University that was full of improvisation and humor. His entire speech was surrounded around the emphasis that life cannot be planned. And where did he get such good material to talk about? His own life. Mr. Colbert told the young graduates that life is good at throwing curve balls on a daily basis. According to him, the most successful people are those who can improvise and deal with life on-the-go. He gave examples out of his own life as well, telling people that life is just like improv-comedy. You don’t know what’s next, but you roll with the punches.
  6. Admiral William H McRaven gave one of the most iconic speeches at the University of Texas at Austin which was based entirely upon his own life experiences. The Admiral refers to the advantages of various routines that are forced upon new navy recruits. He tells people that every morning in basic SEAL training, every time the instructors came in the barracks in the morning they would inspect the bed. According to him, this mundane task seemed unnecessary at the time but eventually proved to be beneficial to him. If we all make our bed every morning, we will feel a sense of accomplishment. This one task completed will start a chain reaction of completion of various other tasks throughout the day. Simply putting it, he said everything that he achieved in his life was because he believed that if little things can’t be done properly, the bigger ones won’t be done at all.
  7. Kurt Vonnegut gave the commencement speech at Agnes Scott College and talked about how important it is to never worry about the small things that happen in life. Once again it’s evident that a very well-constructed and inspirational speech was given while keeping personal life in perspective. Mr. Kurt told the youngsters that in order to live a happy life, one must learn to let things go. He simply told the kids that you shouldn’t expect people to forgive you if you yourself don’t have the capacity to forgive others. He emphasized on the point that it is extremely unhealthy to live your life while having a personal vendetta in your heart.
  8. Neil Gaiman gave a commencement speech at the University of the Arts. As Mr. Gaiman is well-known for his work in various literary mediums including journalism, novels and comic books, he decided to make a speech on how distracting the success can be. He told everyone how his success forced him to deviate from his work and that instead of replying to a plethora of fan-mails he should have written more. His message was that no matter how much success you attain; you should never let people stand in the way of the things you love to do.
  9. Barack Obama gave an impressive keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. The core theme of this speech was all about how anyone, if dedicated enough, can beat the odds. He talked about his own life where he never had the support or the confidence of his peers that he would make it this far. Four years later he became the president of the United States of America.
  10. Bill Murray is one of the most iconic comedians of this and the previous century. He once had crashed a bachelor party and gave an extremely insightful speech. Bill tells the bachelors to travel the world with the girl he wants to marry and go to places which are extremely difficult for tourists and if you make it back to the states still loving each other, then she is the one for you. What he meant to say is that it is easy to love when the circumstances are easy and less challenging. And we bet that Bill must have given this speech based on his own life experiences.

So that’s it. We believe you can use these tips to help you write a good speech about you or your life. Whether it’s a commencement speech or a bachelor party, the idea remains the same. We will even be helping you out with the topics and a complete guide on this genre which you can read in the next articles.

About MUM. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2016, from https://www.mum.edu/whats-happening/graduation-2014/full-jim-carrey-address-video-and-transcript/
Everlasting Speech – Alumni Bulletin – Kenyon College. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2016, from http://bulletin.kenyon.edu/x4276.html
Jacobs, P. (2015). A Navy SEAL commander told students to make their beds in the best graduation speech of 2014. Retrieved April 28, 2016, from http://www.businessinsider.com/mcraven-best-commencement-speech-university-texas-2015-4
Neil Gaiman: Keynote Address 2012. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2016, from http://www.uarts.edu/neil-gaiman-keynote-address-2012
Northwestern University. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2016, from http://www.northwestern.edu/about/our-people/stephen-colbert.html
Text of J.K. Rowling’s speech. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2016, from http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2008/06/text-of-j-k-rowling-speech/
Text of Steve Jobs’ Commencement address (2005). (2005). Retrieved April 28, 2016, from https://news.stanford.edu/2005/06/14/jobs-061505/

Upgrade your essays with these FREE writing tools!
Get started now