Speech writing tips guaranteed to captivate your audience

■ Newsroom

(MS) Graduation season is here, and millions of students will soon make their way across auditorium stages to receive their hard-earned diplomas and degrees. One or more graduates may be tasked with the honor of speaking at their commencement ceremonies.
Commencement speeches are an awesome honor, and the responsibility of delivering such speeches can make students nervous as their graduation ceremonies draw near. But preparation can help calm those nerves and help students deliver thoughtful, memorable speeches.

Honor the audience
Remember your audience when crafting your message. This includes not only the graduates, but also the administrators, family and faculty who helped you and your fellow graduates over the years.

Speak from the heart
Many graduates in the audience will be proud of themselves for earning their diplomas and degrees. But many may also feel insecure or even fear the unknown that awaits after graduation. Touch on these emotions when crafting your speech, assuring your fellow graduates that the same hard work and perseverance they employed to earn their diplomas and degrees can benefit them in their future endeavors.

Choose your message
When crafting your speech, find a message you want to convey and stay true to that message. If your message is that hard work will help grads achieve their goals, cite examples of that and offer encouragement to fellow grads.

Share personal stories dotted with humor
The best way to decide what to speak about is to use personal examples from your life that the audience can relate to. Mix humor into the message so that you reconnect with the audience time and again, but don’t try to be a stand-up comedian.

Keep it brief
Graduation ceremonies can be long, especially when graduating classes are large. Keep the audience engaged by conveying your message concisely. A speech that is poignant and concise keeps the festivities moving.

Delivering a graduation speech can be challenging, but it’s an honor that few people will ever get to experience.

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