How To Write A Tribute Speech
How To Write A Tribute Speech
How To Write A Tribute Speech: A professional speechwriter shares a few tips of the trade, listing some of the things you ought to consider before sitting down to write a speech paying tribute to a living person, such as a co-worker about to retire.
Hi. I'm Lawerence Berstein, a professional speech writer, and I run greatspeechwriting.co.
uk. And irrespective of the sort of speech that you're going to give, there are two or three key things to bear in mind. Firstly, there is nothing to beat preparation.
Hopefully, you're not watching this 24 hours before you're due to give your speech, but the more time you leave yourself, the better. Second of all, don't worry about speaking too long. Often a five-minute speech is much, much more powerful and impactful than a 20-minute one, and brevity is often the key.
And finally, although a lot of the videos that I've created are about writing a speech, please remember that you can't think about writing and delivering separately. They're one and the same thing. You're writing to make the speech easy to deliver.
And if you think of it that way, then the thing should work. So you're planning a tribute speech. And just to get our terminology right, I'm making the assumption with a tribute speech, that the subject is actually alive, and this is not a eulogy, which would be a very different approach.
So let's take, for instance, a tribute to somebody who is about to retire after a long period of service. And as with any speech you would give, the key place to start is deciding how you would like the people listening to the speech to react when it's finished. On that basis, you can start to plan whether it should be predominately sincere, or more humorous and light-hearted.
And the key to answering, there is no right or wrong answer there, it's about relevance. Is the guy somebody who would appreciate something that little bit jocular? Would he like you to talk about some of the funnier moments in his career? Was he perceived, or is he perceived to be a particularly serious colleague, somebody who laughed at himself, somebody who would find this sort of thing amusing, or somebody who would just be absolutely shattered if you used this as a forum to have people laugh at his or her expense? So having decided the approach you'd like to take, I have a few key tips. First of all, keep it relatively brief.
You don't, however long the person has worked at the firm, you don't want to spend half an hour running through everything they've ever done and every project they've ever been involved in. Let's look at it at a higher level. Let's look at the key things he achieved, but more importantly, the way that he worked with people, and the value he brought to the firm in ways that weren't just relevant to clients, but were relevant to the way that the business developed.
Relationships, at the end of the day, are much, much more relevant to this sort of speech, and something that people will empathize much more than somebody's achievements, that have probably all ready been rewarded in a number of reviews year after year, on a more professional basis. It would also be nice, even if it's a work-based tribute, to try and pull the thing out of context and look at some of the things that interest the person who is retiring outside of work. Will they now be spending more time with a hobby? Are they going off to another firm? Are they going off to work for another sector? Will they be spending more time with their family? And I think if they are, that would be a lovely way, again, to keep the thing relatively light, to use that as a, as the cement almost that holds the bricks of the various things you're saying about this person together, from when they've been within the firm.
Now, as with any speech, you will want to keep this not just brief, but also written in a very punchy style, that's easy to deliver. You may even get fairly emotional while you're giving it, if somebody is leaving after many years of working together. So something that enables you to take deep breaths: enables your audience to listen to what you're saying.
And the key to that is writing it well, because if you write in a way that is short and pu