Rice Speechwriting

Ceremonial Speech Series: Award acceptance speeches, retirement speeches, and all other ceremonies

ceremonial speech

“Can you just say a few words?” That one simple request can spell fear for many speakers. Whether it’s an award acceptance speech, a retirement speech for a  great coworker, or any other ceremonial speech, it can be tough to find just the right words. Beyond the typical work presentations and wedding toasts, ceremonial speeches are the next most common type of public speaking we’re called upon to do. If you’re accepting an award and have to give an acceptance speech you are probably wondering, “How do I talk about the accomplishments that earned me this award without bragging?” Giving a toast on someone’s retirement? You might be thinking, “I like this person well enough, but what do I even say about the past 25 years?” Or, “What do I say at this ribbon cutting for this new business?”

This series will be divided into the following parts:

First: How to determine your audience’s needs and the goals for your speech
Second: Examples from effective ceremonial speeches and how to apply them to your speech
Third: Brainstorming and idea generation for your award, retirement, or ceremonial speech
Fourth: What to do if you aren’t honoring someone but rather a particular day, business, or location, for a ceremony?
Fifth: Effective outlines and speech templates to order your ideas
Sixth: How to write, revise, and put the whole ceremonial speech together from beginning to end

While it might seem odd at first to lump award speeches, retirement speeches, and ceremonial speeches together, they all share common themes that can be applied to any situation where you have to “say just a few words.” The goal is to tell stories that honor the person, day, or event, being recognized. This series will show you exactly how to do that so that your speech is remembered long after the occasion is over.

Photo by Benjamin Wong on Unsplash

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