A retirement speech is your best opportunity to convey best wishes or congratulations to a retiring coworker, or your only opportunity to express your feelings about a lifetime of employment. Either way, it is the last moment in your career, and one of the most important. Do not leave a retirement speech to the last minute. Successful careers deserve an equally well planned retirement speech. Despite the anxiety that sometimes comes with public speaking, it is certainly not a time to become too anxious.
If you would like the perfect vehicle to tell someone congratulations on their retirement why not use a retirement speech? It will not be as easy as you think to do, so give yourself plenty of time to plan it out. Retirement speeches should tell the audience about your feelings-remember this is the very last step of your professional life, so make the most of it.
You will need some time, not only to plan out the speech, but to write it out. Then, after it is written, put it off to the side for a day or so, and put it out of your mind. Go do something else. Go play golf, go to a football game-something.
After you have given the written speech a rest, come back to it. Read it out loud to yourself. Does anything sound really stupid, or uncharacteristic for you? OK, thanking everybody and their brother may be unusual for you, but other than that, does the speech sound normal? If so, ask a spouse or a friend to listen to you.
Then, standing in front of your audience, relax and go through your retirement speech. Pay attention to the speed of your speech-don't go too fast, that's something that is common. Just relax and be yourself.
As you practice in front of your audience, think of one or two absolutely unforgettable things that happened during your career. Take advantage of the one or two things, and weave them into your speech-they can definitely reflect on you, your past and your livelihood then, and possibly even into the future. Best of all, one or two things wisely chosen will keep you from talking endlessly.
Your practice audience can tell you what you need to work on, and after having done that, take a minute or two and make some note cards just to keep yourself on track.
Of course, adding humor to any speech is always a must. While it does not have to be gut-busting, do make it so that at least a few people grin. If you are really at a loss, get onto the good old Internet, and start Googling “retirement jokes"-you will undoubtedly come up with something that you like. Or jokes on any other topic that you might like, for that matter.
Some people are so lazy that they can't even be bothered to write their own retirement speech. Those people will either buy a speech-and yes, you can do this from the Internet, or hire someone to write it. More power to them, but personally, writing the speech yourself guarantees that you get things right.
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