How to Make It Interesting!

Speech content should be a celebration of the retiree. Outline the topics that must be covered. Make it her special day. You do it with thoughtful and genuine comments. Make the retirement party memorable with your remarks. Humor is okay. Keep it respectful and gentle.

Opening Comment

Get the listener's attention with an opening comment such as: "You are not going to believe the story I'm about to tell you." It is amazing how important an opening is as it sets the tone for the speech. This is called the "hook". In music the "hook" is that part of the song that you keep singing again and again. You can't seem to get it out of your head.

The first step to getting good speech content is to write down one story or idea that you feel must be in the speech. If it's a big idea that you will expand during the delivery, that's fine. If not, write down a second and third idea. Plan to tell them in the order that makes the most sense.

A smooth transition from one idea to another is important.

"This is Why I'm Speaking"

There is a reason that you have been chosen to make a brief talk. By accepting, you have accepted the responsibility to do a good job.

If you are a co-worker you can tell anecdotes of interest that occurred on the job. A good story needs to be linked to a new one.

At least let the audience know that you are moving on by stating: "I've got another one to tell you." It is even better if you can build on a previous story.

A golfing buddy may have too many stories to tell. Pick the best ones. Embellish them if you want. Make it almost too good to be true. It's okay to entertain. Remember that, unless you are a comedian, you are not funny. The story must contain the humor.

It is important that the retiree will think it is amusing. Do not make the retiree the target of every joke. Include stories in which you, the speaker, are the butt of the joke. Tell a story the way the guest of honor would tell it - or has told it.

Things That Make Your Speech Content Better

Use short sentences. Remember your listeners are hearing this for the first time. Re-work the content so that it links together. Put it in a logical order.

We've all heard speakers who are all over the place with their stories. It becomes a rambling talk that is hard to follow.

Ask your listeners if they are following the story. "Are you following along?" Go back and review if you are concerned that some are not following. Those who were able to follow the story will welcome the clarification. Those that may have been struggling to follow along will be appreciative.

If you are concerned that your talk is too wordy. Shorten it. Condense it. Most often this will make it better. Avoid condensing it to the point that the listeners will find it difficult to follow. Remember all of what you say is new to them.

"This One's for You"

There are two audiences. The retiree and everyone else. Walk that line between the two. Tailor the speech content for both. Inform and try to entertain both.

The speech is not about the speaker. It is about the listeners. Compose it that way.

Think of the typical person in the audience. Try to make it for her.

Talk directly to that person as you prepare your speech content.

Use a tape recorder or video camera to practice the speech. Pretend you are hearing it for the first time. Does it make sense? Does it flow? Ask others to listen.

The End is Near

It is time to hope that the audience loved the three minutes of fame that took hours to prepare. If they clap when you say, "In closing...", that is not a good sign.

Condense or restate your main points. Leave the honoree and the audience feeling good.

Think of a memorable ending such as: "I enjoyed working with you."


   Great Gift

Retirement Gift

Interesting Gift

   Unique Gift


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