Rice Speechwriting

Tribute Speech Frequently Asked Questions

tribute speech

This tribute speech FAQ guide will help you put together a speech to honor a person or the people who took part in the event you are commemorating.

What is the general purpose of a tribute speech

A tribute speech is typically a memorial speech–giving meaning to the memory of a person’s life or a particular event in history. In a narrow sense, tribute speeches are often for those who have passed but in a broader sense, any speech that honors a person or an event could be a tribute as well. You  might pay tribute to someone on their birthday but it would be OK to say you’re paying tribute to someone who has passed.

What should be in a tribute speech

If the tribute speech is for a person, you would find the following in the speech:

If the tribute speech is for an event, like commemorating a holiday, you’d expect to find:

Tribute speech ideas

What is an example of a tribute

Some examples of tribute speeches include:

How long should a tribute speech be

It depends on the occasion and your role as the speaker. However, most will be around 5 to 10 minutes but if you’re the keynote speaker for an event, you may be asked to speak longer, around 15 to 20 minutes. Check with the organizer to figure out the best length depending on who else is speaking and your role within the program.

How do I write a tribute speech to my mother

Here are some brainstorming questions when you want to write a tribute speech for your mother–they can be used for any family member:

Take some time to brainstorm the answers to those questions. You may also want to reach out to other family members for their memories and answers to the questions. You could even assemble all of their answers together into a speech.

How do you write a remembrance message

Think of a remembrance message as a short tribute speech written down. Focus on the best aspects of someone’s life and how they made the world and those around them better. Look to tell a single story that you think represents them in the best life possible. You can also include a favorite quote of theirs or something from a TV show, book, or song, they liked. 

How to write a tribute speech for a funeral, for example, how do you write a father’s funeral tribute?

You may want to enlist the help of your family to answer the questions below, but brainstorm the answers to each one and then apply a traditional structure (following the questions) to create the funeral tribute. You can of course apply these questions to any family member.

Here are a few structures you can use:

1 Story Structure: Tell one story, broken into three parts (use each as an act in a play or TV show), that tells the best aspect of your father’s life.

3 Story Structure: Tell three different stories that highlight the same quality or different ones about your father–they can be funny, emotional, or a mix.

Topical: You don’t see this often, but you can organize the speech around your father’s best qualities. Make each section about a particular trait or aspect of your father’s life and talk about those parts.

What are some sample tribute speeches?

Reagan’s Challenger Address to the Nation

Cher’s tribute to Sonny Bono

Bindi Irwin’s tribute to her father, Steve Irwin

Photo by Frederick Medina on Unsplash

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