When speaking at a friend's or colleague's retirement party, or your own, giving a retirement speech is both an honor and an obligation. Even if you're not a seasoned public speaker, you can give a retirement speech that will be admired.
- Skill level:
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Set a time limit for your speech. You don't want to drag out a retirement speech, boring your audience, but you also don't want to say just a few words, leaving everyone hanging.
Know your material. Plan ahead and think about your own career, or that of the person you're speaking about. Think about other individuals who were important to the development of this career such as family members and friends. Plan out what you'll say, either in note form or an actual draft, to get an idea of what direction you'd like the speech to go.
Personalize the speech. Be sure the speech is about the person's career and not a political or rah rah speech on your part. Tell stories about their successes and their journey up the ranks.
Rehearse. Even if you're doing a lot of improvising, rehearse your speech before a friend or family member and ask their opinion regarding both content and your own public speaking skills. If you're fidgeting or talking too fast, they'll notice.
Know your audience. A retirement based at an office may be more formal and employee-based than a casual soiree at an individual's home. The use of humor is always a good ice-breaker or closing.
Familiarize yourself with the room you'll be speaking in. Knowing where steps and stages are in addition to lighting, sound and microphone placement will be helpful and will make you feel more comfortable.