Make it Fun by Being Prepared!

Speech preparation for a retirement party can be fun. That's right - fun. It is easy if you know how to write a speech. It does not need to produce anxiety with the appropriate preparation. Since there are numerous occasions at which people are asked to address a group, this preparation can be applied to any speech.

Any one that has taken a speech class in high school or college knows there are 3 parts to a speech: 1) Introduction, 2) Body and 3) Conclusion. Let's identify what belongs in each part.


This is the opportunity to get the attention of your audience. You need a quotation or a question or even a humorous story. Get the listeners on your side. But, be yourself.

State the objective of your talk. Why are you speaking? They want to know. You could say: "I'm the retiree's brother and I've known him longer than anyone else in this room." They will be wondering what stories you might tell about him.

I'm sure that there are many stories you could tell that would make the audience laugh. If the retirement party is a roast everyone that speaks will have a good story. So, as his brother go back to his youth for your tale.

Preview the topics that you will be covering.

Be sure to let the audience know how long you will be speaking. Limit it to three to five minutes. As usual, it is better to have the speech be too short rather than too long. Speech preparation is the key.


Have two or three main points and elaborate on them. For example, if you're a co-worker describe his positive work habits. It could be timeliness, ingenuity and what you learned from him.

"He was so timely that if he didn't arrive for work a half hour early, he considered himself late." That type of timeliness is rare. It might even get a chuckle.

There are memories and stories. During speech preparation incorporate them. Tell each story from a different point of view. That is the way life is. We each have our own vision of an event.

Make up reasons for his leaving. Balance humor, at his expense, with accolades. Describe your own feelings about his departure.

Be sure to cite his achievements, his contributions and many friends at work.

Mention his personal qualities and how those will be missed. Thorough speech preparation always pays off during the speech.


Let the audience know that you are wrapping up your talk. Briefly review the points that you made. Remind the retiree that none of us will forget him.

Explain why the retiree will not forget his co-workers. Maybe one short anecdote here.

Thank him for the positive impact that he has had on his fellow employees. Mention them by name. Wish him a happy retirement. Conclude with the presentation of a gift.


Practice your speech in front of a mirror. Record it. Time it. Do some research. Be sincere and positive. Realize that everyone wants the presenter to do well. If you are an inexperienced speaker, watch your pace. Their is no substitute for careful speech preparation.

Use index cards if necessary:

  • One topic on each card (Use one side only)
  • Bullet points only (keywords as reminders)
  • Must be easy to read
  • Number the cards

Do not write your speech word for word. No one likes to be read to. Wait for applause at the end. Do not immediately walk away. Acknowledge the applause. You did good!

   Great Gift

Retirement Gift

Interesting Gift

   Unique Gift

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