It is truly an honor to be named as class valedictorian: but, suddenly with the award comes the pressure of writing your valedictorian speech. Writing this speech can be a nightmare – especially if you do not have good public speaking skills. It is important to get started writing as soon as possible so that you can present a polished product on commencement day. Keep reading for more tips about writing your valedictorian speech.
General Tips for Valedictorian Speeches
There might be no greater honor on graduation day than being named valedictorian and getting to speak in front of your peers, teachers, administration, family, and friends on your special day. The experience can also be a nightmare for a number of reasons – unless you start planning and practicing now.
Although this is an award four years in the making, remember that it is important to keep this speech short. When you are named valedictorian, the last thing you want to do is blab on and on about your own opinions and accomplishments. Instead, you want to give a short speech that will bring your class together for a few minutes in reflection on your special day.
Think about memories your class has a whole, significant quotes or songs that are meaningful to your class’ experience, and other material to talk about that would peak the interest of your peers. Try to think of topics that would be able to be discussed by you with a balance of self-confidence and humility. Look at old graduation speeches from your school to see what kinds of themes have already been discussed, and to see the general format of the other speeches.
Writing Your Valedictorian Speech
Sitting down to write a speech at the end of eight semesters can be difficult. Usually students have to start thinking about their speech during their finals, and while other peers are out partying and celebrating, a valedictorian has to start planning, writing, and practicing a speech. You have to put aside time each day to brainstorm ideas and design a speech topic that will be entertaining, polite, and engaging.
Remember that unlike written words, a speech has to be designed such that it is understandable to people the first time that they hear it. You can’t go back in a speech and reread what everyone has missed. Therefore, take the extra steps you need to take to make your speech very clear and understandable.
Getting Feedback on Your Speech: Enlisting the Help of Others
You are going to be reading this speech in front of hundreds – maybe even thousands – of people on graduation day. Start practicing your speech early, even before you have a final draft ready. Test your drafts of your speech with family, friends, and teachers your trust. See if they respond well to your speech, and rewrite what they didn’t like or didn’t understand. Practice speaking the words to see if your writing is easy to say – if not, try rewriting the words so that they will be easier for you to pronounce.
The more drafts you make of a speech, the better it will be. Make sure that you know how to pronounce all the words that you write, and that you sound personable and engaging, not snobby and elitist. Keep your speech under ten minutes unless your school has a regulation that makes you speak for a certain amount of time to fill up the program on graduation day.
Engrossing Your Peers: Remember, This Day Is for All of You
Although it will be inevitable that you get some attention on graduation day since will be at the podium, remember that this day is for all of your peers, not just you. You want to make sure it doesn’t sound like you are bragging in your speech. Instead, design your speech so that it seems like you are speaking to your peers about something meaningful.
Writing your valedictorian speech might seem like a daunting task, but with enough time, energy, and help from others, you’ll be able to write a beautiful speech for graduation day.