It's an honor to be named valedictorian. Thrilling... Exciting... Right up until the moment you realize you have to give the speech, that is.
Then the panic sets in.
What should I say?
How long should this be?
Will anyone even remember it?
No problem. With some preparation and practice, you'll be ready to deliver a powerful speech on your graduation day.
To get started, follow these tips:
1. Decide on a theme. Give a speech that has one main point, and stick to it. That theme can be anything that you want the audience to remember overall.
2. Know your audience. Your speech needs to speak to the people in the room. Who are they? What do they need to hear? Is there something specific to your graduating class you want to talk about?
3. Craft an outline. An outline will keep you on track so you don't go off on tangents or start rambling. This is not a script, however. No one wants you to read to them.
4. Keep it short. Check with your school administrator to find out how long they want you to talk, and don't go any longer. Short and sweet is the way to go when it comes to graduation speeches.
5. Put your most important message at the end. Your audience is most likely to remember what you say last, so make the most of your final minutes behind the podium.
Your stage presence matters, and so does how you practice. Click on this guide for tips (it's free, and you don't have to give us your email address to get it):
Need additional help? Email me (Carrie Sharpe) at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let's talk about your speech!