Graduation is an important time in the life of most people. The person who gives a graduation speech is aware of this fact and hopes that his words will move and motivate the graduates. Writing a good speech is more than just constructing an introduction, body and conclusion. It's also incorporating the things that are important to you as a speaker and the things that you think will be important to your audience.
A speech about reflecting is more than just a list of your special memories, or memories you share with the graduates. Reflection can be a powerful motivator. Remembering how graduates have grown intellectually, physically and emotionally reminds them of how far they have come. Memories of funny, embarrassing stories remind them that the good times outweighed the bad. Reflecting on very real issues, such as being a little nervous about what comes next in life, will make everyone feel a little less alone in her own anxieties. A reflective speech gives everyone in the audience a moment to take stock of how she is feeling.
While the traditional graduation speech highlights success, a speech about mistakes encourages the audience to consider how much they learn from the most difficult moments in their lives. Mistakes don't define you, but they do mold you. Doing something wrong reinforces how to do it right next time, and reminds you that you simply have to dust yourself off and try again when things go wrong. A motivational speech about the importance of handling mistakes gracefully underscores the fact that everyone makes them and that the fear of making a mistake should never hold a person back from pursuing a dream.
It's easy to leave a school, move away from a place, and forget where you come from. A motivational speech about the importance of roots highlights the important lessons the graduates have learned as a group. It talks about how special it is that out of the nearly 7 billion people on earth, this small group shares a history and a particular experience. It touches on the fact that no matter where any of the graduates end up in the world, they will always have that shared history in common.
The passage of time can make for a motivational graduation speech. Ask the graduates to remember what they were thinking as they came into school as freshmen. Talk about how quickly four years pass by. Time is something that no one has an unlimited supply of, making the way people use their time that much more important. Before you write your speech, talk to a few people in middle age as well as a few senior citizens. Ask them what they wish they had known as young graduates, and share those stories with the current graduating class.
Try, Try Again
A speech about how it doesn't matter how you start out that counts, but rather how you end up, can motivate even those graduates who barely managed to get through school. The list of famous "failures" in history is extensive: Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman, Thomas Edison, Stephen King, Vincent Van Gogh and J. K. Rowling were all considered dismal failures at some point in their lives. One difference between them and people whose names no one remembers is that they kept going, no matter how discouraged they became.
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