It is that time of year when caps and gowns are donned and commencement speeches are delivered. This year the website College Candy lists the coolest commencement speakers. Who will be your commencement speaker and what will be the message? Your speaker may even stir a little controversy. If you are speaking at a graduation ceremony this year, here are some rules to keep in mind to give you and your speech a boost:
Tell a story. Graduations are festive events, so add to the enjoyment by telling an inspiring story that will engross your audience.
Be brief. One of the surest ways to bomb your big moment is to go over the time limit. It is better to leave the audience wanting to hear more from you than hoping you will PLEASE STOP TALKING.
Express gratitude and humility. Talk about others instead of yourself. Make sure the speech isn’t full of “I” references.
Practice. Rehearse in front of a mirror, a video camera and anyone who will watch and listen.
Tell about “what you thought to say.” The audience doesn’t want to hear your speech planning process.
Go negative. This is a celebration so accentuate the positive: achievement, hopes and dreams.
Read your speech word for word from a paper. Have key words written down and practice enough so you need only glance at the notes occasionally.
Remember, if you have been asked to speak it is because those organizing the commecement exercise believe that you will add something of value to the event. So, keep that in mind as you prepare and: “Speak up and speak well!”