How to Write a Speech Honoring a Friend

Updated April 17, 2017

It is an honour to be asked to write a tribute for a friend. A well written speech takes time and effort. Don't wait until the last minute or the night before the speech is due to begin writing. Writing a speech is not the same thing as speaking extemporaneously. In order to do justice to your friend and her accomplishments take time to organise your thoughts, do a little research, and write a rough draft. This will allow you to write a well-crafted speech to honour your friend.

Gather information for the speech. Begin by jotting down your own ideas and recollections. The process of jotting things down will trigger your memory and help you to remember details that you may have forgotten. Interview friends, family members, and colleagues of the friend you are honouring for insight and information to include in the speech.

Take the context into consideration. Writing a tribute for a friend depends upon the context and the targeted audience. The context could be either professional or personal. Writing a tribute for a family gathering is different from writing for a professional context. The speech in both situations should include personal and professional achievements, however the tone and emphasis will be different. For example, in a more intimate family context you may want to use personal anecdotes that would be inappropriate in a professional setting.

Compose a rough draft. The writing process is part of the creative process. A rough draft will help to organise your thoughts and develop a good structure for the speech. The rough draft should include an introduction, several sections devoted to the personal and professional accomplishments of your friend, and a conclusion or summary. The introduction should briefly describe your relationship with your friend and the reasons why you are writing a tribute. The conclusion briefly summarises the speech and congratulates your friend for being the person she is. The main body of the speech will be devoted to your friend's achievements.

Turn the rough draft into a well-polished speech. The rough draft is a model for the final speech. Once the draft is written try it out on a couple of friends or colleagues and ask for their advice and criticisms. Use their insights and your own editorial skills to turn your draft into a well crafted tribute to your friend.


Read examples of speeches online. This will provide ideas for your speech.

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About the Author

Robert Russell began writing online professionally in 2010. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and is currently working on a book project exploring the relationship between art, entertainment and culture. He is the guitar player for the nationally touring cajun/zydeco band Creole Stomp. Russell travels with his laptop and writes many of his articles on the road between gigs.