20 Topics for a Graduation Speech

Topics and ideas
Posted on June 1, 2016

If you have been chosen to deliver a graduation speech for your class, kudos on being chosen as the voice of the class. You are very lucky to be given such a great responsibility. However, to deliver a killer speech, you need to write one. If you have delayed this task for so long, chances are that you are suffering from mental block because all you can think of is the deadline. Do not worry; you can check our 7 facts about famous speakers who gave a graduation speech to be inspired by some of the best speeches ever.

However, if you want to put a little extra effort into the whole process, here are 20 topics that are suitable for this occasion:

  1. Goals: The Importance of Establishing Them and How to Achieve Them
  2. Determination as the Key to Success in Both Life and Career
  3. The Power of Mistakes and their Ability to Build Individuals
  4. The Importance of Taking Ownership of Life and Decisions
  5. Combining Knowledge with Creativity to Think Outside the Box
  6. The Sky Should Be the Limit of Your Goals
  7. The Need to Factor Your Heart in What You Do
  8. Understanding the Person Behind the Man/Woman to Make Better Decisions
  9. The Role of Graduates in Making the World A Better Place
  10. Excellence as a Journey Every Graduate Will Need to Travel to Reach Heights
  11. Developing an Attitude for Gratitude
  12. Keeping What is Important in Mind to Achieve the Success Students Were Destined For
  13. The Importance of Balancing Work and Fun for a Healthy Life and Career
  14. Finding Your Purpose: Understanding What You Were Created to Do and Begin Doing It
  15. Fall Forward: The Reality of Failure and How to Keep Going Ahead Despite Setbacks
  16. Trusting in One’s Own Abilities to Pave the Path to Success
  17. Be Yourself: The Need to Stay Faithful to the One Person Who Can Help You Achieve Your Goals
  18. The Best Options for When Life Gives You Lemons
  19. Words of Wisdom on Picking Your Own Battles.
  20. Dreams vs. Realities: Life Before and After College

Besides, you’re welcome to use online speech writing services to have expert polish up your written piece.

Graduation Speech Tips: Making Your Message Memorable

So, here are some invaluable speech at graduation tips how to write a graduation speech:

  • Embrace themes for graduation. Every graduation ceremony has underlying graduation themes that resonate with the occasion. Themes like “New Beginnings,” “Unlimited Potential,” “Journey to Success,” or “Chasing Dreams” capture the essence of this milestone. Consider weaving these themes into your speech to create a cohesive and meaningful narrative that connects with the audience.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Short graduation speeches are often the most powerful. The key is to be concise yet impactful. Graduates and guests alike appreciate speeches that respect their time and deliver a strong message without unnecessary elaboration. Aim for a speech that is around 5-7 minutes long to maintain everyone’s attention and enthusiasm.
  • Connect with your audience. As you stand before your fellow graduates and guests, remember that you are speaking to a diverse audience with different backgrounds and aspirations. Make your speech relatable by sharing personal anecdotes and experiences that everyone can connect with. Speak from your heart, and your words will resonate with those listening.
  • Structure your commencement speech. A well-structured graduation speech helps convey your ideas effectively. Begin with a captivating introduction that grabs attention and sets the tone for your speech. Then, transition into the main body, where you can share your thoughts, reflections, and words of wisdom. Finally, end with a powerful conclusion that leaves a lasting impression on your audience.
  • Be inspirational and motivating. Graduation speeches are meant to inspire and motivate graduates as they step into the next phase of their lives. Use uplifting quotes, stories of perseverance, and examples of successful individuals to instill confidence and belief in the graduates’ abilities to overcome challenges and achieve greatness.
  • Address the future. Acknowledge the excitement and uncertainty that the future holds for the graduates. Offer encouragement by reminding them that it’s okay not to have all the answers right now. Share your own aspirations and how you plan to face the future. Let them know that they are not alone in their journey.
  • Thank those who supported you. Take a moment to express gratitude to those who have supported you throughout your academic journey. It includes family, friends, mentors, teachers, and the institution. Show your appreciation for their guidance, love, and belief in your potential.
  • Inject humor and humility. Humor can add a touch of warmth and connection to your speech. However, use it sparingly and avoid offensive jokes. Additionally, be humble in your achievements and share your challenges as well. Showing vulnerability can make your speech more relatable and endearing.
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Practice makes perfect. Rehearse your speech multiple times to ensure your delivery is confident and comfortable. Practice in front of a mirror, with friends, or even record yourself to identify areas for improvement.
  • Stay true to yourself. Lastly, the most important tip is to be authentic and true to yourself. Your uniqueness is what makes your speech special. Share your voice, values, and personality, and your words will impact everyone present.
  • Use visual aids sparingly. Visual aids, such as slides or props, can enhance your graduation speech, but use them judiciously. They should complement your message, not distract from it. Simple visuals or memorable quotes reinforce key points and keep the audience engaged.
  • Practice poise and body language. As you stand on that stage, remember that your body language speaks volumes. Maintain good posture, make eye contact with your audience, and use gestures naturally to emphasize important points. Confidence in your body language will help you appear poised and in control.
  • Pace your speech. Don’t rush through your speech in an attempt to finish quickly. Speak at a comfortable pace, allowing the audience to absorb your words. Take intentional pauses to add emphasis and give the listeners time to reflect on your message.
  • Be mindful of time. Respect the time allocated for your graduation speech. Going significantly over or under the designated time can disrupt the ceremony’s flow. Practice your speech with a timer to ensure it fits within the time frame.
  • Include audience interaction. Engage the audience by involving them in your speech. You can ask rhetorical questions, encourage applause for certain achievements, or even ask them to repeat a motivational phrase after you. Audience participation fosters a sense of connection.
  • Avoid clichés and overused phrases. While relying on clichés and common sayings is tempting, try to avoid them as much as possible. The fresh and original language will make your speech stand out and feel more personal.
  • Show appreciation to your peers. Take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate your fellow graduates. Mention their accomplishments, struggles, and unique qualities. Celebrating each other’s achievements fosters camaraderie and strengthens the sense of unity among the graduating class.
  • Be positive and inclusive. Maintain a positive and uplifting tone throughout your speech. Focus on the potential and opportunities that lie ahead. Also, be mindful of inclusivity, ensuring that your words are respectful and considerate of everyone present.
  • Overcome nervousness with breathing exercises. Feeling nervous before delivering your speech is normal. To manage nerves, practice breathing exercises to calm your mind and body. Take deep breaths before taking the stage to help you feel more composed.
  • End with a memorable closing. As you approach the conclusion of your speech, end with a powerful and memorable statement that leaves a lasting impression. Your closing words should encapsulate your speech’s core message and inspire the audience.

Remember, a graduation speech is an opportunity to share your wisdom, experiences, and hopes for the future. Embrace these tips, and most importantly, be genuine in your delivery. Your speech has the potential to touch hearts, ignite dreams, and create lasting memories for you and your fellow graduates.

To help get your creative juices flowing, here is a quick sample you can go through before writing your own speech.

Graduation Speech Sample “Pick Your Battles”

I am thankful for getting the opportunity to speak in front of all my colleagues today. Ever since I got to know that I’ll be giving a speech in front of the entire class of 20xx, I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to say. I researched every source I could find and even went through other speakers’ pieces only to learn that there is one thing in common between all success stories: everyone had a different approach to life.

I grew up being told that education is important if you want to succeed in life, but there are many billionaires who are college dropouts. I was told that one should always aim for the sky no matter what, but I’ve seen people dropping out of college because of family reasons. You must be wondering where I’m going with all this, but don’t worry. I have something to share. Studying about all the irregularities and injustices of life led me to a very clear realization that there is no formula to life. And that’s what I am going to talk about today.

I believe you should pick your battles, but not at first. Steve Jobs once said that you can’t connect the dots of your life if you’re looking into the future; you can only do that when you look back at it 10 years down the line. This means you should do all that the happy speech givers tell you to. Aim for the sky; nothing is impossible and keep thriving no matter what life throws at you. Yet once you’ve been through the disappointments and difficulties of life, you will need a reason to carry on.

I could have given a speech that revolved around the usual inspirational quotes, but no one can tell you what’s going to happen next. I can tell you in ten different ways not to give up, but the best of us give up from time to time. I can convince you today that nothing life throws your way will be beyond your patience limits, but that’ll be a lie because I’ve seen the strongest of people break into a million pieces. So what is it that keeps us all going? What is that one good thing in life that you can rely on to never go wrong? Everyone has that shoulder to cry on or the people who push them further. It’s these people with whom you need to remain connected with throughout.

In my case, it has always been my family. Family is the only thing on which I could never compromise on. No goals, no dreams, no destination in life is worth letting them go. I say this because that’s what my father did. He sacrificed so much for his family when he could have just followed his dreams and become everything he wanted to. Everything you do in your life, you do it for your family, and believe you me, your loved ones will never step into your way if you want to achieve something great.

I would like to conclude my speech by saying that now I am not confused anymore. Whenever I get beaten down by life’s hardships, I try to find a reason to carry on. I already have mine, and now it’s time for you to find yours. Don’t let the sky be the limit, but also pick your battles to avoid stressing yourself beyond your limits.

Now you can definitely write a better graduation speech. So, use our how to write a speech for graduation for guidance.

Graduationwisdomcom. (2016). Graduationwisdomcom. Retrieved 19 April, 2016, from http://www.graduationwisdom.com/
Wallace, D. F. (2009). This is water: Some thoughts, delivered on a significant occasion about living a compassionate life. New York: Little, Brown.
Albanese, A., & Trissler, B. (1998). Graduation day: The best of America’s commencement speeches. New York: W. Morrow.
Bark, S. (2005). Take this advice: The most nakedly honest graduation speeches ever given. New York: Simon Spotlight Entertainment.
Theibert, P. R. (1997). How to give a damn good speech. Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press.
Charania, B., & Abjani, N. (n.d.). Wisdom for business success: Practical guide for entrepreneurs and fresh graduates.
Druckerman, P. (2015). How to Find Your Place in the World After Graduation. Retrieved April 19, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/31/opinion/sunday/how-to-find-your-place-in-the-world-after-graduation.html

Analysis of the Graduation Speech Sample

The presented speech sample touches upon several themes commonly associated with student graduation speeches, such as resilience, life choices, family, and the importance of finding one’s purpose. Let’s analyze this speech’s strong and weak points.

Strong points

  1. Relatable introduction. The speaker starts the speech by acknowledging the privilege of addressing their colleagues and expressing the struggle to come up with a meaningful speech. This introduction can engage the audience as they might have experienced similar thoughts while preparing for their own graduation speech.
  2. Emphasis on individual paths. The speaker highlights the diversity of successful life paths and the lack of a one-size-fits-all formula for success. It resonates with graduates who may be unsure about their future, reassuring them that it’s okay to have different journeys.
  3. Reference to inspirational figures. The use of Steve Jobs’ quote adds credibility to the speech and shows that the speaker has researched and learned from successful individuals. Referencing influential figures can inspire graduates and give depth to the speech.
  4. Authenticity and realism. The speaker’s acknowledgment of life’s hardships and the reality that even the strongest individuals face challenges can resonate with the audience. This authenticity can create a connection with the listeners.
  5. Importance of family. By emphasizing the significance of family support and sacrifice, the speaker appeals to a universal value that many graduates can relate to. This personal touch adds emotional appeal to the speech.

Jacob Lee Top-10 Writer at CustomWritings.com

I know how frustrating it is to control your speaking, poses, tone of voice, and nerves all at the same time. What you can do about it is practice in advance, practice in the place where you are going to give a speech and imagine each one of your audience as your closest friend.

 Points to improve

  1. Lack of clear structure. The speech lacks a clear and organized structure. While it touches on various themes, it could benefit from a more cohesive flow to guide the audience through the key points.
  2. Lengthy introduction. The introduction of the speech is quite long, which may lose the audience’s attention before the main message is delivered. A shorter and impactful introduction could improve the overall flow.
  3. Missing specific examples. While the speech mentions billionaires who are college dropouts and people leaving college for family reasons, it would be more compelling with specific examples to illustrate these points and make them more relatable.
  4. Limited graduation-themed elements. Although the speech is meant for a graduation ceremony, it could include more explicit references to the graduates’ accomplishments and future journey beyond graduation.
  5. Lack of practical tips. The speech could provide more actionable advice or tips for the graduates to navigate life’s challenges and uncertainties, in addition to the emphasis on family support.

Overall, the graduation speech sample effectively touches upon important themes like resilience, individuality, and family. But, it could be improved by having a clearer structure, incorporating specific examples, and including more graduation-themed elements. Additionally, offering practical graduation speech tips would enhance its value to the graduating audience.

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