A graduation is defined as that super important occasion when everyone comes up with a boring, generic, yawn-inducing, and meaningless text to fill half an hour. This is why you really need tips on how to write a graduation speech that captivates and inspires the public. But what to write? And what to avoid? We’ll cover these questions with 12 tips on how to write a graduation speech and make it a thing to remember.

12 Tips for a Great Graduation Speech


Make it short and sweet

George Marshall was the only soldier to have ever been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. With that occasion, he managed to talk about complex political and social details regarding the complexities of rebuilding Western Europe in only eleven minutes. Surely you don’t need more to talk about school life! How to write a graduation speech is about focusing on details, but not flooding the public with them.


Be yourself

This advice goes for a variety of situations, so let’s make it clearer. You should be yourself and talk about your specific experiences, but be generous and include others as well. Talking about yourself can make you sound conceited, so try to focus on things that happened to you and your colleagues. Be genuine and talk about things that you care about. At the same time, inspire others by making those things relevant to everyone.


Be specific

Try to present a certain event or occasion that made you feel like you belong to the team. Specific details make writing interesting. Try to inspire everyone by saying something that makes them think about your words and re-evaluate their perspective about education or life. Speaking about a certain event or something that impressed you and is memorable is a good idea.


Rehearse your speech

Recall how everyone in movies is rehearsing the speech to perfection? You should sound natural and dignified at the same time. Speak slowly and let your message be absorbed by the public. Rehearsing your speech will help you overcome stage fright and pronounce the words well.


Surprise your public

Most graduates in the public and their relatives will have a lot on their minds in that day. Command their attention by using spontaneity and humor. If humor is not your strong side, leave it to professionals, but if it is, then it’s your best asset. Surprise people with something they don’t know about you. Ask yourself, what would you tell your children when you will have them? Think of something touching and inspirational, an unusual experience, how you overcame some particular difficulty, or what inspired you to follow this education. Your hopes and dreams are a good answer to the question of how to write a graduation speech.


Stay free of cliché

For graduation, most people talk about three things. How far they’ve come during the past few years, how they faced good and bad times together with their colleagues, and how they’re prepared for future thanks to school. Sure, those things are perfectly true and appropriate, but do you really want to say what everyone else is saying? Follow the same rules as for writing a great essay and write something meaningful. Be forceful, specific, and honest. And stay away from quotes because the public should hear your thoughts, not something that was said in a much better way by a long-dead poet.


Now is the time for thanks

This is the perfect occasion to thank someone who really helped you. Do you have a preferred professor? Tell everyone why you’re thankful to them. Has a colleague or parent supported your efforts and helped you get good grades, or find your inspiration? Thank them as well. Yet be careful to only highlight the most important people, as you don’t want your speech to turn into an endless thanks list. But try to be diplomatic and not stir jealousy with your thanks. Thanking important people is a perfect idea on how to write a graduation speech; because our lives are intertwined with others’ and the story must be about your journey.


Censor your writing for the occasion

Surely it may be entertaining to talk about mischief and secrets, but is this really the time? Stay clear of saying anything that you might regret in 20 years. It’s even better to be boring than embarrassing.


Save the best for last

Try to think of the most important message you would like people to remember and place it at the end of your speech. Or even better, say it once in the beginning, develop it during the speech, and repeat it at the end. This will help give a clear theme to your writing.


Time it properly

In the United States, speeches are usually around 18 minutes, while Europe has speeches of only 15 minutes. This is another thing that you need to consider. Your speech must fill the time at a rate of 145 words per minute. But time yourself and check your optimal speaking rate in advance.


Write, edit, polish, and repeat

After you write your message, edit it, polish it, re-read it and polish it to perfection. Use verbs and avoid adjectives. Make people feel through their senses what you’re trying to say rather than describing things. Be Hemingway, not Kinkade.



Asking for others’ help may give you some great ideas about what to write. Maybe your mom realized she would have really liked to say something in her speech, but only thought of it too late. Steal her idea and include it in your speech! With her permission, of course – and tell everyone how she helped you.


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