Every speaker has the chance to make a lasting impression on their audience. Whether you are giving a speech at your high school graduation, speaking in front of an organization for the first time, or addressing your family at Thanksgiving dinner, you will want to take care in preparing beforehand and delivering it well before it’s too late.
This article will give you tips on what topics work best for a commencement address, how to deliver it in a well-received manner, and who should be giving it based on the setting of the graduation. We’ll also go over some examples from famous speeches so you can see firsthand what makes them so great!
A special occasion is an event that calls for some form of celebration. This article will be focusing on the type of speech delivered at a wedding or other social gathering, although many similar guidelines could apply to an acceptance speech given at a banquet, too.
The purpose of a special occasion speech is to convey good wishes on the speaker’s part, and also on the recipients’ parts. At the beginning of the special occasion speech there is usually an introduction that includes who will be speaking and for whom they are speaking to; this should also include how long the speaker has known the people (and in some cases may even mention what it was like when they first met). It is also appropriate to thank everyone involved with making the event possible.
The body of a special occasion speech usually will convey any anecdotes about both parties if applicable; this helps make it more personable and allows the listener(s) to relate and feel connected with what’s being said. Any witty banter between speaker and recipients is also customary at this point. After that, it is usual to end the special occasion speech with a toast of good wishes for both parties.
After the speaker has finished their special occasion speech, there are usually opportunities to mingle among the attendees before everyone begins to eat. Before eating, however, guests will often say their table’s thanks in some form or another for all the work that went into making the event happen. If there was not an actual person responsible for organizing things/events, then it is more appropriate to thank whoever paid for the food and drinks instead.
Special occasion speeches are characterized by several features:
Here we’ll go over some useful tips that will help you put together an unforgettable speech:
Your best bet is to start with who or what inspired you to give this person/thing a tribute; this will help with step 2.
Now that you know why you’re giving the speech, it’s time to organize your thoughts and ideas about this person/thing.
Once you’ve jotted down all those lovely things about the subject of your speech, it’s time to start writing! You can either write out a rough script or just go for it and ‘wing it’.
Here are some useful tips when getting started on writing your amazing speeech:
Nothing is more embarrassing than a smattering of big words trying to make an impact; this only makes the audience feel stupid and turns them off from what you’re saying (it’s not about you, it’s about the person/thing receiving the tribute).
Nobody wants to sit through a long, boring speech. Stick with 1-2 minutes for your intro and 1-3 minutes on what inspired you. You can always add more or less if need be depending on how much time you have, just don’t delve too deep into details.
It’s okay to deviate from your script and use informal words every now and then, especially if this is common in day-to-day conversation. Just make sure they still fit within the context of whatever situation is taking place (e.g., wedding vs funeral). Don’t tell jokes! unless this person/thing was known for telling jokes and was the main reason you’re giving this speech (in which case, follow step 1).
Find a willing audience and practice that speech! You never want to get up there and be caught off guard; that’s not fair to your viewers. Also, don’t memorize it; as mentioned in step 3 you should always be able to improvise as needed.
Now for the moment of truth! Follow those important steps, take a deep breath and give it all you’ve got. Be sure to make eye contact with certain people or parts of the room if need be; this implies connection between yourself and them/it. Follow up with any closing remarks if desired, thank your audience and sit down to a thunderous applause!
Congratulations! It’s a big day for both new parents and their baby. Make sure you find out if they would like any specific gifts, such as onesies or rattles. Don’t be offended if they decline any presents; this is an incredibly special time in their lives, so try not to take it personally. You can still get them something nice without going overboard. For example, consider giving the new family your homemade coupon book filled with things like “One night of babysitting” or “House cleaning”. The best thing you can do for the new parents is helping them relax and enjoy this special time together!
Congrats! This is the day they’ve been working so hard for. Remember, this person you’re giving a gift to is officially an adult now. Think about their new responsibilities and what they’ll be doing in the future. If they’re moving on to college or university, consider getting them some practical items that will help them feel more at home in their new environment, such as bedding or groceries that are easy to prepare with little time available.
If they are not going on to post-secondary, you can still get them something practical, but also think of things that are related to their interests or personality. Getting someone with a love for baking some cooking equipment would make a fantastic gift!
They’re getting married! The couple will be busy with pre-wedding celebrations, so make sure to get in touch before celebrating with them. Find out what kind of party the happy couple are planning for their special day. This is a wonderful time to celebrate love and happiness! If you’ve been chosen to be part of the bridal party, consider buying something that can be used during the wedding or at future events this person may attend.
A typical format for the beginning of a special occasion speech would include:
You can check our list of 70+ Special occasion speech topics for more ideas.
“The question, who is the most influential person of all time? Could be answered in many different ways; however; when given the prompt: “Name a famous person and give a special occasion speech about them,” I would answer: Elvis Presley. Not only was he one of the best musicians and performers ever to grace this earth, but he also had an overwhelming effect on society that cannot be denied. It’s tough to say exactly what his lasting impact will be, but it has been proven that not only can he still fill up stadiums over 30 years after his death, but his legacy grew even bigger than he himself could have ever imagined.
He didn’t just revolutionize rock ‘n roll music, or society with unforgettable songs like Jailhouse Rock and Are You Lonesome Tonight?; he also did it by simply being himself, and that was the most influential and revolutionary part of him. He didn’t release a movie for 15 years before his death, but afterwords there were many Elvis films released with more to come; plus, countless songs were written about him after he died, including an entire album entitled “Elvis by the Presleys,” which was recorded by his own family members.
He is still influencing music today; in fact; artists like Eminem have even gone so far as to say they wouldn’t be where they are today without his influence. Not only did he pave the way for musicians like Eminem to become superstars themselves but people of all genres began to love him after he passed away; his music was no longer thought of as “low brow” to the masses. People like Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Jim Morrison all credit Elvis Presley with influencing them to start their own careers in music.
Artists today are still inspired by Elvis because his music is timeless; each new generation can relate to it in a different way than the last. His songs have been covered by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Michael Buble’ so when you look at all of these artists who were influenced by him you must also add legends like Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole to that list too. I believe there’s a reason why so many musicians have recorded his songs over the years, including just about every big name in music from Johnny Cash to Madonna, and that’s because his music is the epitome of talent.”
I remember when we first started dating, and your family had an early Christmas celebration at your parents’ house in Florida. I’ll never forget how nervous you were, since it was the first time you met my family after months of talking on the internet. Your mom did a wonderful job getting everything ready for our get together, from decorating the halls with lights to setting up a fun outdoor ice rink! Even though Florida wasn’t exactly cold enough for snow, everyone still enjoyed themselves skating outside. It’s moments like these that really stand out to me about your family: Your love for one another and desire to celebrate every moment in life with each other is something that truly inspires me! And even though we’ve been through a lot of tough times, your family’s spirit is one of the many things that keeps me going.
It’s this kind of love that I hope you both have throughout your lives together; and it’s this kind of love that we all hope to find when we meet our future spouses. So, in appreciation for the wonderful parents you two have and in honor of this special day, here’s to hoping that you’ll always keep in mind: life is about celebrating every moment with those we love! Cheers!
“We can never know when we will be with someone for the last time. Whether they are leaving to go off and serve our country, or just going to a new home across town, we never truly know how long we will have them in our lives. It was graduation day at [School Name]. I watched as students found their families in the crowd; I saw tears of joy and hugs all around. As seniors left their seats and walked across the stage one by one to receive their diplomas, my thoughts turned back to another senior I had seen walk across this stage last year. On graduation night, I sat in this very stadium watching fireworks light up the sky behind her while she received her diploma for completing high school with excellent grades and making it into college with a soccer scholarship. Fast forward to this year, and I sat looking at the empty seat beside me where my little sister was supposed to be sitting for her graduation from [Middle School]. My heart broke as I watched my family – both immediate and extended – try to find comfort in the fact that we had done everything we could do make sure she finished school; we even got her some extra tutoring. We knew that there were still things none of us could control, but we didn’t think anything serious would happen. She fought so hard through those first years of elementary school, learning how to read and write despite dyslexia holding her back since before she started kindergarten. Even though she more than most kids did with the little she had, we knew that wasn’t enough for her. She wanted it too much to be satisfied with poor grades and slow reading. She kept pushing herself to do the absolute best she could despite a learning disability that would have taken most kids out of school entirely after poor performance in earlier grades.
In middle school things started to change drastically as she began having more trouble understanding what was going on around her. It seemed like every single day my sister would come home from school crying because no one understood what she was trying to say or they thought she didn’t know how to do something when really it was just taking her five times longer – if not more – than everyone else because of dyslexia Sometimes coming home from school wasn’t too bad because she wouldn’t talk much about it. Other days, however, she would come home and lay on the couch for two or three hours refusing to speak or eat; all she could do was cry until her head hurt too much to continue. Although I wasn’t able to help her myself with learning disabilities like dyslexia, I tried my best to be there for her as a friend by always sitting with her at lunch and making sure someone walked with her between classes if kids were giving her trouble. The fight that went on in our house every day between school and home was intense. She wanted nothing more than to go back to elementary school where teachers had made accommodations like letting her use a computer instead of writing essays by hand despite being in fifth grade. On the other hand, my parents wanted nothing more than for her to be able to do what her classmates were doing despite learning disabilities. At one point they even talked about sending her off to a boarding school for kids with dyslexia or other learning disabilities so she could have individualized attention in every class, but after researching it further they decided against it when she told them she didn’t want to go because all of her friends went to [School Name].
Throughout middle school, my sister fought hard and did everything in her power to succeed academically. She finished eighth grade with straight As on all of her report cards except for two Bs during Language Arts time when most teachers couldn’t accommodate for extra reading time in class. When she first started high school and discovered that not every teacher was willing to rearrange schedules or give out study guides like the ones she had gotten used to in middle school, we were all worried. But as time went on it turned out those fears were unfounded; my sister’s grades actually improved from eighth grade despite the lack of accommodations teachers could make.
By ninth grade things seemed like they were going back to normal except for some changes no one was expecting. Her new English/ Language Arts teacher began stressing the importance of writing stories instead of spending so much time writing essays – always a fan favorite – and reading novels instead of short stories – never something people liked doing unless absolutely necessary. After receiving her report card, however, we quickly realized things would be different. She had gotten a C on her first story and an F (the lowest grade possible) on the other two stories written that semester. It didn’t stop there; just about every other English/ Language Arts class she took that year followed the same trend: no matter how well she did in all of her other classes, it just wasn’t enough to balance out English/ Language Arts.”
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