Graduation is a time of celebration. Whether you are graduating from college or any other institution, it is an important milestone to cherish. After all the work you have put in throughout your academic career, it is time to reflect on what it taught you and celebrate everything that has brought you where you are today.
During your graduation, you may be required to give a graduation speech. A graduation speech is an opportunity to express your heartfelt gratitude to all those who have supported you along the way and are helping you achieve your goals. It is also an opportunity for you to leave a message for your peers and coevals. However, preparing to give a memorable graduation speech can be daunting, especially if you have little to no experience in public speaking. If you are obligated to give a graduation speech, it is important that you spend some time preparing for it. In this article, we will take you through everything you need to ensure that you give the most memorable graduation speech possible.
How to Give a Memorable Graduation Speech
Preparing and delivering a great graduation speech requires you not only to have a plan but also to practice it. While it is quite difficult to be completely original when giving your graduation speech, some basic guidelines can help ensure that your graduation speech will impress your audience. Below are tips for preparing a memorable graduation speech that you should consider before delivering it to your audience:
Listen and watch famous speeches
To deliver a speech that will be memorable, you should model it after speeches of people you admire. Listen to and watch the speeches of famous people who have delivered great speeches. Pay keen attention to the verbal and non-verbal cues they use to engage the audience and how they make an impact. For instance, you can look at how they use their voice to convey a warm, friendly, and personal tone when delivering their speech. You should also pay attention to their visual cues such as body posture, facial expressions, and gestures that are used by these people when delivering their parts of the speech. Listening to and watching different speeches can help you develop a clear idea of how to deliver your graduation speech. It will also help you understand how to incorporate different verbal and non-verbal cues into your speech to make it more memorable.
Read inspirational quotes
As you prepare to deliver your graduation speech, refresh by rereading some of your favorite inspirational quotes. Reading inspirational quotes can be a great way to find inspiration when it comes to drafting your graduation speech. These quotes can help you keep the tone of your speech on a positive note. You can also use them as pointers in developing different portions of your speech. For instance, if one of the quotes is about perseverance and success, you may want to talk about your journey to success and how you overcame the difficulty to get where you are today.
Reflect on the past
Before delivering your graduation speech, it is important that you take some time to reflect on the past and cherish all the memories you have made as you move forward in life. Remembering the past can help give your speech a sense of recency. This will make it easy to connect with your audience, especially if they are people who have been there with you on your journey, thus helping them relate to your graduation speech. For instance, you can talk about how you enjoyed every day at school, how much you appreciate your teachers and classmates, and the beautiful memories you have made while in school.
Think about the future
Aside from making your graduation speech relatable to the audience’s pasts, it is also important that you think about the future. What are your long-term goals? What is your plan for life beyond graduation? How will you capitalize on your education to achieve these goals? This will also help you make a strong connection with your audience because they also relate to you through these future goals and aspirations.
Decide on a theme or message
Every graduation speech should have a theme or message. Your theme or message should be one that will resonate with your audience. You may want to talk about how much you have learned from school, discuss what life after graduation holds for you and how you intend to make good use of your education. Or you may want to share your experience as a student and the lessons you have learned in the process. Whatever message you choose to deliver in your speech, it is important that it is one that your audience can apply to themselves.
To deliver the speech effectively, consider preparing or using a graduation speech outline. An outline can help you organize and deliver your thoughts and ideas in a cohesive structure that your audience can easily grasp. Using an outline as you make notes and prepare for your graduation speech can ensure that you do not lose focus in the middle of your speech. It also helps keep the content of your speech organized, especially if you will be delivering the graduation speech in a language that is not your native language. A speech that has an outline usually flows better because the speaker has organized their thoughts and ideas into a well-defined structure.
Write multiple drafts
As you prepare your graduation speech, it is important that you spend some time writing, rewriting, and editing your draft. Once you have written the draft, go back over it to make sure that it flows well. Consider spending more time on this part of the preparation process because there are always things that you can improve or be altered in your speech to make the delivery of a memorable graduation speech easier. By writing multiple drafts and going through revisions, you will be able to produce a strong graduation speech that impresses everybody who hears it.
Send out graduation announcements ahead of time
One of the key things you need to do before delivering your graduation speech is to send out graduation announcements. Sending out these announcements can ensure that people you know and love will be there to listen to your speech. Your graduation announcement should include the date, time, and place where you are going to deliver the speech. If possible, send these announcements out in advance to allow people ample time to make plans for attending your speech.
Memorize and practice in front of a mirror or with loved ones
Before you deliver your graduation speech, it is important that you practice in front of a mirror or ask loved ones to listen to it. By doing so, you will be able to see how well your speech flows from one part to another and how well you can remember the content. It will also help you identify parts of your speech that may need some improvement. If possible, have someone else go through or listen to your practice session as well so that they can provide some feedback on what they think of its content. Make sure to memorize your speech by heart so you can deliver it confidently and smoothly. You can also mark specific parts of your speech to act as pointers if you need to refer to these points during the delivery of your speech. This will help you maintain great eye contact with your audience and connect strongly with them.
Dress confident and comfortable
Dressing for your graduation speech is just as important as the preparation for the speech itself. You want to dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident in delivering a successful and memorable graduation speech. You may want to consider wearing something that brings out your personality and makes you look good on stage.
For women, since you will be doing a lot of standing during your speech, ensure that you wear a comfortable pair of shoes that are comfortable and suitable for standing. You can also consider wearing comfortable but stylish clothes to make sure your excitement and enthusiasm aren’t impacted negatively.
For men, you may feel more comfortable in a suit, but there are many other options when it comes to choosing the attire for the speech. You can wear a business casual outfit that is stylish and comfortable. This way, you will look good and feel confident.
Maintain eye contact and be confident
As you deliver your graduation speech, make sure that you maintain eye contact with your audience. This way, you will be able to create a strong connection with the audience and leave a lasting impression on them. As the speaker, the audience will look to you for inspiration and guidance. A good way of showing confidence is by maintaining eye contact at all times during the delivery of your speech. If possible, have someone practice with you so they can guide you on proper eye contact during your speech delivery.
Keep your nerves in check
Although it is possible to give a good graduation speech without being nervous, it is advisable that you consider the elements of your nervousness and work on it beforehand just to be sure. If you maintain calm and collected behavior, everyone will be able to notice it and mark it as confidence. If you are not calm and collected as you deliver your speech, then everyone in attendance will notice this too. When you make mistakes or get nervous, do not let this ruin your flow. Just breathe, tell yourself to focus, and keep going. If you are nervous before delivering your speech, take a break, drink some water or take a few moments to collect your thoughts. If you do this, you will be able to calm yourself down and focus on delivering a good speech.
As much as you will be drawing your inspiration from other great speeches delivered by famous people, make sure that this does not affect your personality and identity as a speaker. One way to do this is to write a speech that is unique to you. This means writing one that expresses your personality and identity as an individual. You can include personal stories in the speech so that you can connect with the audience on a personal level.
Preparing for and delivering a memorable graduation speech is not easy, but it can be done if you take the right steps to prepare for the speech. To deliver a memorable graduation speech, ensure that you plan the speech thoroughly, practice it in front of a mirror or loved ones, and dress appropriately. You can also make sure that you maintain eye contact with your audience while delivering your speech so that your audience will be able to connect with you and leave a lasting impression on them. When delivering your speech, remember to be yourself, speak confidently and maintain eye contact. Your speech’s impact will be much stronger and more memorable if you do all of this.