"You May Think I Want to Retire!"

A farewell speech is important. That is what guests want to hear at a retirement party. This website will provide all the information that you need to give a quality talk.

Outline the Main Points

The speech should be sincere and original. Make the first sentence a "shocker", an "attention getter". For example, you could say: "You may think I wanted to retire." This will leave everyone wondering what the real reason is for your retirement.

Where you fired? Are you ill? Then dismiss it as your husband's or grandchildren's idea.

Write down the two or three main thoughts that you want to convey. Let's assume that the party includes relatives, friends and co-workers. Divide the body of your talk into those three parts.

Follow the suggestions in speech preparation and speech content. Make a first draft. Be prepared to use words that are appropriate for the occasion. You could make it an emotional farewell.

You are closing an important part of your life.

Also opening a new exciting future. A future with challenges and adventure.

Some of the guests will be unaware of your future plans. This is a good time to disclose them. It could be a "dream vacation" or a cross country bicycle venture. They will be curious.

Family First

Acknowledge the presence of your family. Introduce your spouse and children to the guests. Your guests have certainly heard about them. Some have never met them.

Mention the role that they have had in your retirement decision. They may have had a role in preparation of this farewell speech.

Without giving your life history, briefly describe your employment history. Include some of the milestones in your career. Mention the good and/or bad decisions that you made.

At Work

A farewell speech must include some stories about work. You have spent many years with many of the co-workers in attendance. There have got to be some interesting and likely entertaining anecdotes.

"From Sandy, I learned how to avoid copy machine paper jams. Don't use the copy machine."

"Joe taught me how to stretch a coffee break. That seemed like a good idea at the time."

"Some of you have been with the company long enough to remember the time I insisted that I could fix the fax machine."

"The new fax machine worked better than the old one anyways."

This would be good time to refer to those positive and enthusiastic co-workers who helped you throughout the years. What you learned from them. How cooperation led to successful projects and problem solving.

The Emotional Part

This is a-once-in-a-lifetime occasion. All the people that are close to you are gathered in your honor. Family, relatives and friends will be meeting with co-workers. Some will be meeting for the first time. Mention this in your farewell speech.

Reminisce a bit. Recall your early days at work. Mention your misconceptions. This self-deprecating humor can be fun.

Conclusion - Good and Bad Goodbyes

Every part of a farewell speech is important. Be careful not to be negative or try to correct some grievance. This is not the time or the place for that.

The closing remarks are much of what your listeners will remember. That is what you want. The middle of a farewell speech is usually entertainment.

Thank your co-workers for their patience and help. Remind them that you will never forget the many great memories. Assure them that you will remember each of them with fondness.

Thank your family and relatives for the many sacrifices that were necessary so that you could have a successful career. Extend a thank you for any gifts. Finally, thank the party's host or hostess and all the helpers that made the party possible.


The most memorable farewell speech that I can remember is the one Ronald Reagan gave informing the nation that he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Here is the transcript.


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