How to Write a Speech for Graduation

Writing guide
Posted on June 1, 2016

You may think that writing a speech is one of the easiest tasks ever, but there’s so much pressure on you to make your piece truly stand out. This is especially true if the other graduate speakers over the years have delivered strong pieces that are too good to be forgotten easily. Luckily, you are on the right page. The following lines will help you write a speech that no one will forget any time soon.

The Ideal Outline for Graduation Speeches

After selecting a topic for your graduation speech (check our 7 facts about famous speakers who gave a graduation speech and 20 topics for a graduation speech), you need to organize your ideas and create your first draft according to the following outline.

  • Begin by thanking the previous speaker who introduced you.
  • Introduce yourself with your name.
  • (Optional) Share a motivational quote and explain how it connected with your class’ experiences
  • Share a relevant story that brought the class together and makes them excited about their future.
  • Provide some good advice to your classmates to inspire them for years to come.
  • Encourage the students to remember the good times they’ve spent at your school.
  • Recall the motivational quote/story you began with and then add a call-to-action that encourages students to go out and make a difference.
  • Conclude with a thank you and best wishes.

Additional Tips to Get it Right

There is no strict outline for you to follow. Therefore, you can use the above as you deem necessary. However, you definitely need to use the following tips to get this right.

  • Focus on Grabbing the Attention of Everyone Present

You do not want to give a speech that only attracts half of your audience. In addition to reducing the efficiency of your speech, it will demotivate you as you deliver what you believed is a great speech. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to hear about the potential opportunities available for those who work hard or about what awaits them after graduation. So, make a speech for all; something that everyone will enjoy.

  • Add Humor if You Can Without Offending Others

Google the top graduation speeches and you will see that a majority of them had humor in them. In fact, Will Ferrell’s commencement speech at Harvard was entirely humorous. However, that is what people would come to expect from a comedian. If you want to give a light hearted speech, but do not know how, the best point to add humor is while talking about the challenges of life. Soften the blow a bit with very light humor, but do not overdo it.

  • Write Your Speech Systematically

Create segments of your speech and end each one on a high note. Give your audience something to talk about days after the graduation ceremony. The best way to do that is to insert relatable examples and quotes. Do not overwhelm them with information. Try to list down all the segments you wish to hit in the form of bullet points and then formulate paragraph(s) around them.

  • Do Not Think You Are Smarter Than the Audience

Your speech should not sound as if you are teaching the audience something. It should be about inspiring them. Therefore, the tone of the text should never reflect that you are a know-it-all. It would sound very demeaning and pretentious because you yourself are just a student. Write your speech around the fact that you yourself are a little bit scared and a whole lot excited about the life awaiting you outside the university walls.

Remember to integrate these in your outline and you will definitely produce a masterpiece.

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