How to Write a Commemorative Speech

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Graduation serves as one occasion a commemorative speech may be given.
Graduation serves as one occasion a commemorative speech may be given. (Image: graduation day image by Gina Smith from Fotolia.com)

Public speaking can be intimidating. You can reduce the intimidation of public speaking by understanding the different types of speeches, such as informative and persuasive. Commemorative speeches, also called ceremonial speeches, serve as another type of speech. The purpose of commemorative speeches involves honoring a person, place, event or idea. By the end of your speech, your audience should feel a sense of honor, as well as hopefulness for the future.

Define the purpose of your speech. Ceremonial speeches can be given on several occasions, including graduations, weddings (toasts) and funerals (eulogies).

Familiarize yourself with your audience. You will want to give a speech everyone in your audience can relate to. For example, a graduation speech should cater to friends and family, in addition to graduates.

Write the body of your speech. Content to include in a commemorative speech include admirable characteristics and anecdotes. For instance, if writing a speech about a charitable organization, you can focus on the characteristics of care and selflessness, using a story about one of the helped families to illustrate these values.

Add an introduction which will foreshadow the body of your speech. An important aspect of the introduction involves capturing your audience’s attention. Ways to do this includes asking a question, sharing an interesting fact, and establishing a link between your audience and the topic being honored.

Write your speech’s conclusion. The conclusion should recap important values and share a hope for the future. To warn your audience your speech is coming to an end, use a concluding transitional phrase. For example, a eulogy’s conclusion might read “All in all, Harry lived a life full of passion, care and love. By doing the same we can make the world a better place while keeping the spirit of Harry alive.”

Tips & Warnings

  • Use descriptive language. For instance, demonstrate a life-saving firefighter's courage by calling the fire he ran into a "raging hot fire."
  • Avoid exaggerations. Let the actions of the person, place or event illustrate the reason the subject deserves to be honored. Staying with the same example above, don't say the flames engulfed the entire building unless the flames really did.

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