The Heart of the Party!

Speeches at a retirement party are easier than most speeches. I will show why this is true! This page will give you an overview of the type of preparation necessary to make a good delivery. Remember you and the audience are there for the same reason - to enjoy the party.

This page is not about becoming a charismatic public speaker. You cannot buy charisma and only a few of us are born with it. It is a wonderful thing to have. But for those of us without it, we can still be an effective presenter.

We need to create a connection with the listeners. One of the best ways to do that is to use the word "We" in your talk. At a retirement party the audience wants the speaker to do well.

Keep that in mind. The purpose of your speech is to benefit the listeners. 

No talk can be delivered without them. Without them it is a rehearsal. Remember that being a speaker is a privilege. Be ready. Be organized. Keep the needs of your audience in mind.

Host Responsibilities

An important duty of the party host is to find an emcee. Someone who is responsible, charismatic and able to ad-lib. Provide him or her with information about the other guests. He will find the correct tone for his remarks if he has enough information.

Select other speakers. Ask a spouse and children to make a brief comment. Approach co-workers and relatives. Give both the other speakers and the emcee information about the selected speakers.

Ask each speaker and the emcee about their topics. Try to avoid redundancy. Tell the speakers to limit their comments to three minutes. Anecdotes are usually interesting.

Encourage the guest of honor to prepare a short speech. There are people to thank. There are things to say. He will be sorry later if he doesn't seize this opportunity. See farewell speech for more ideas. There is no time limit, but short is better than too long.

Room Amenities

The food and decorations preparations are done. What else is needed? A special chair for the guest of honor during the speeches is necessary. Depending on the temperment of the retiree, it could be a wheel chair. There already is a sound system for the music.

The room needs a microphone and amplification system for the speakers if there are more than 20 guests. Order this with the room rental. Make adjustments before the party. Remember when lots of people are chatting as it will be when the program starts, the volume must be louder. Adjust it as the room becomes quieter.

A podium is necessary for speakers with notes. It is also hides the "knocking knees" of nervous speakers. It is a crutch that the emcee will not need. Invite the speakers to arrive early to meet the other speakers and take a minute to become familiar with the podium and microphone.

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The Speakers

Ask the emcee to introduce each speaker by name and his relationship with the retiree. Ask each speaker to repeat his relationship to the retiree. He could say: "Yes, I worked with Bob for nearly twenty years." or "Bob is my oldest brother." This avoids those in the audience saying: "Who did he say he was?"

Encourage speakers to review the speech preparation and sample speech pages. Advise them to be careful about humor. Better to leave the humor to the charismatic emcee. "I remember when..." stories usually have a humorous slant and are safer.

Speakers can be divided into three groups:

1. Word for Word: They feel more comfortable reading their speech. Nothing will be forgotten and it feels very safe for them. Unfortunately eye contact is with the page and not the audience.

2. Cue Cards: Provides more interaction with the guests.

3. From Memory: This is not a memorized speech. The cue card topics are committed to memory. This allows the speaker to move about the room, make gestures and have eye contact.


Every speaker would like to look relaxed and experienced. To accomplish that do what the professional speakers do. Rehearse in front of a mirror or video you speech. Work on pauses, gestures, body language and your rate of delivery.

Speakers that deliver too fast may be difficult to understand. "Too slow" speakers are boring. Rehearsal will increase your confidence. If you falter, move on. It's OK.

Retirement Poems


  Wit & Wisdom

Retirement Clock

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