How to Craft An Outstanding Commencement Speech

How to Craft An Outstanding Commencement Speech


Are you tasked with writing a commencement speech? Though it may have you stumped, crafting an outstanding speech is not mission impossible. Here are some tips.


Delivering a graduation speech is a great honor. But, writing one can be tough.

You want to capture the attention of your audience, commemorate your experiences, and impart a bit of wisdom. You want to make the speech your own without making it all about you.

You don’t need to have all the answers. Be yourself and focus on the great memories you share with your classmates. 

If you are tasked with writing a commencement speech, we can help! Take a look at these tips to help you prepare for the big day.


Seek Inspiration

For a little inspiration to get you started, watch and read some examples of great commencement speeches of the past. Think about your school and what it means to you.

Make a list of notable memories from your years there and pull those special moments into your speech. Include some insight into how these experiences have changed you.

What has inspired or challenged you during your years at school? Think about the main point you would like to impart to your fellow classmates.

Most of all, it’s your classmates’ big day. Remember to honor them and the occasion.


Catch Their Attention

At the beginning of any speech, you need to catch the attention of your audience. If not, you will ramble on for a few minutes with only your family listening. 

The stage is yours, so make it count. Find some way to command their attention. 

You can use humor, an anecdote, or a startling fact. You can raise their curiosity about a particular subject.

You can talk about something personal or something that affects you all. There’s no right way to begin. You just have to find a way to draw them in and keep them listening.


Stick With a Theme 

You may have watched speeches in the past where the speaker drones on and on without a central point. You don’t want to make this common mistake.

Your message should be one that resonates with everyone. And it should be simple and universal.

Don’t choose the value of education as your theme. At this point, your audience know this already. Go with some words of inspiration and avoid overly obvious truths.


Give It Structure

A good speech, like a good story, has a beginning, middle, and an end. Plan your speech to grab people’s attention in the beginning, keep their attention through the middle, and tie it together in the end.

Focus the body of your speech on telling a story, offering some insight, or sharing lessons learned. At the end, summarize your main points and give them a call to action regarding their own life. 

Giving a speech some structure doesn’t make it formulaic. It makes it easier for people to understand and follow.


Infuse Some Personality

Your classmates don’t want to see a know-it-all on stage. They want to see the real you.

Emotional honesty is always a good idea. It makes for a more intriguing speech.

You don’t have to know all the answers to life’s complex issues. Instead, be honest, kind, and empathetic.

Speak from the heart. When you feel deeply and speak passionately, others listen. Keep this in mind as you write your speech. 

If your audience connects with you on an emotional level, they are more likely will listen and remember what you have to say.


Keep It Short

No one wants to sit through a long speech, even an outstanding one. If you want to impress your audience and keep their attention, keep your speech short and sweet.

You have something important to say, but don’t repeat yourself or drone on and on. Ten to fifteen minutes is a good mark to shoot for.

Once you write your speech, edit it, and practice reading it to others. Consider their feedback and edit your speech until you’re satisfied with the message and the timeframe.


Show Gratitude

No matter where you are in life, you didn’t get there by yourself. Show your humility and thank someone in your speech.

You can acknowledge your parents, teachers, coaches, friends, or any significant person in your life. You may choose to focus on one individual who has been a particular inspiration in your life.

There are no rules about thanking someone in a commencement speech, but it’s a nice to include some gratitude in your address. You can encourage your audience to be grateful as well.


Inspire Your Audience

Earning a diploma is a reason to celebrate. But a commencement speech should do more than honor the occasion. 

Focus on what’s to come and what life has in store for you and your fellow graduates. No matter what’s going on in the world, leave your audience with some inspiration and hope for the future.


Focus on Them

You will be on stage because of your amazing accomplishments. That’s great, and you’ve earned it. 

But remember that your audience doesn’t want to hear about all the reasons you’re on stage instead of them. Of course, you should talk about yourself, but be sure to turn the focus to your audience.

Recognize them, their accomplishments, and the bright path ahead.


Have Fun

Giving a graduation speech is an honor, and you want it to be a fun experience. Remember that your audience doesn’t expect perfection.

Be yourself, relax, and drink in the moment. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity you’ve earned with your hard work and determination. 

Relax and make it a fun, memorable experience for you, your family, and your peers.


Tips for an Awesome Commencement Speech

As the commencement speaker, you’re on center stage for a few minutes. Make those moments count with some positive insight and inspiration for your fellow classmates and friends. 

Following a few basic tips can help you craft a commencement speech you and your audience will treasure. 

Be sure to take a look at our website and the amazing opportunities our organization offers for high-achieving students like you. 


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Source: Member Articles
How to Craft An Outstanding Commencement Speech

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