If you were honored with the task of delivering a graduation speech, you might be worried right about now if this is something you have never done. This article will help you outline and compose the best graduation speech possible so that you can inspire your audience. Writing an unforgettable graduation speech starts with you getting in touch with what it really is that you want to say.
The best graduation speeches have punchy themes that you can transform into a piece of good advice. A graduation speech should be inspiring and uplifting, remaining lighthearted even when you are talking about serious issues.
Some graduation speeches are delivered by students in the graduating class. However, you might have been asked to speak at a graduation as a guest. Either way, the goal of the graduation speech is to inspire as well as to reflect on the past year.
Typically a graduation speech is short and punchy. You can tell a serious story at the beginning to raise interest and engage the audience. However, the spirit of the speech should be positive and optimistic.
Writing an outline first will vastly improve the quality of your speech and the confidence you have in delivering it. The following is just an example of how you can organize your graduation speech.
There are no rules in a graduation speech, but generally you will want a strong opener to engage the audience, a body that inspires and uplifts, and finish with a call to action.
I. Introduction: Getting everyone’s attention
A. Opening statement, use one of the following:
1. State a mind-blowing fact in the form of a question to immediately engage the audience, as in, “Did you know...?”
2. List an alarming statistic to arouse audience emotion and gain attention.
3. Tell a brief but powerful story that leads into your main idea.
4. Tell a joke.
B. Properly introduce yourself and the theme of the speech.
II. Body: Inspire!
A. How the main idea applies to a specific area of life.
B. Apply the main idea to another area of life.
C. Inspire the audience to take action.
1. Be specific
2. Give advice.
III. Conclusion: Leave them on a high note.
A. Refer back to the opening factoid, statistic, story, or joke, but briefly, only to provide a sense of closure.
B. Emphasize the importance of taking action and personal responsibility to use education for the greater good as well as self-improvement.
C. End on a positive note of congratulations.
You can use the following template to guide you when writing your own graduation speech.
Opening: Hello Class of 2020! Big thanks to the Principal/Dean. I am so honored to be here with you today, Class of 2020.
Anecdote: The person who stands before you today is not the person who first started the tenth grade at this High School. When I was twelve, I was faced with a major choice many twelve year-olds typically do not have to face. I had to decide whether to join a gang or not. My mother had fallen ill two months earlier. For years, we knew my brother was involved in gangs but he pretended not to be. As his little brother, I wanted to be just like him...
Meaning and Inspiration: Now I stand before you today, the valedictorian of the Class of 2020. I want you all to know how proud I am of each and over one of you here today.
Call to Action: No matter who you are, or what your plans are for the future, I am going to ask you for one thing, just one thing...
Concluding remarks: Kill it, Class of 2020! Go out there and live your dreams!
Hello Class of 2020! Big thanks to the Principal/Dean. I am so honored to be here with you today, Class of 2020.
When I was twelve, I was faced with a major choice many twelve year-olds typically do not have to face. I had to decide whether to join a gang or not. My mother had fallen ill two months earlier. For years, we knew my brother was involved in gangs but he pretended not to be. As his little brother, I wanted to be just like him. And then I met Mr. Bernhart.
Mr. Bernhart helped turn my life around. He saw in me what I could not yet see in myself. He recognized how I cared about other people, and it pained him to see so many young people like me miss out on the opportunity to grow into our greatness.
We all need mentors in our lives, people who see us for who we really are. Some of you have had it easy. Others, like me, have had to work hard to get where we are. No matter what it is that you want, if you are willing to work as hard as you need to in order to achieve your goal, you can get it. I’m here telling you this because I know it is true. I was never the smartest one, and I certainly wasn’t the prettiest. But because of my mentor and the support I received at this High School, here I am about to go to college. I can’t wait to find out what comes next for me, and also for you.
Keep it real Class of 2020. I love you guys!