How to Write a Graduation Gratitude Speech
Graduation is an important event, and often, people like to use the occasion to thank everyone that supported them through school or a program. However, writing a good graduation speech can be challenging. Keep reading to learn how to write a graduation thank you speech, whether you are speaking to a large audience or simply making a toast at dinner.
Make a list of everyone you want to thank. This is a great first step to take so you don’t forget someone important. If you will be talking to a large audience, feel free to be vague about who you are addressing. For example, say “I want to thank all my teachers” rather than listing their names, and say “I want to thank my friends” rather than naming everyone. This is quicker and less likely to make some feel left out.
- If you are talking to close friends or family, address the people you are thanking by name.
- Write down every person or group of people that comes to mind. You can edit this later on.
Write down why you want to thank those people. Unless you have a very short amount of time to speak, you should expand your speech to include why you are thankful towards these individuals. Write down words or phrases about why you are thankful towards these friends, family members, coaches, professors, and so on.
- Be honest about why you are thanking someone.
- The reasoning here can be very simple. For example, “My history teacher always made me laugh,” or “My mom woke me up every morning” are good reasons to thank someone.
- The more heartfelt the gratitude, the better. Take time to reflect on your feelings.
Write down any other thoughts you have about this topic. Freewrite about the topic of graduation and being thankful. Jot down any thought that relates to being thankful and graduating from your school or program. You may find some interesting ideas or things you want to say that didn’t come up before.
- Remember, there is no wrong way to brainstorm. Just keep writing.
- Continue to freewrite until you cannot think of anything else to say, and for at least 30 minutes.
- Now, you’ve brainstormed about your speech, so it is time to write it.
Writing the Gratitude Speech
Write the introduction of the speech. The introduction of the speech should be interesting and engage the audience. Some strategies you can use are: beginning with a rhetorical question, a quote, or a short anecdote. Any strategy is fine as long as it relates to being thankful and graduating. Try to keep this to 2-5 sentences (or 2 paragraphs for a speech longer than 5 minutes). A few examples are:
- “What are you thankful for?” This is beginning with a rhetorical question, since the audience will not answer.
- As Willie Nelson once said, “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” This is beginning with a quote.
- “It was the first day of high school, and I stood outside the door of my first class, scared to go in. On the last day of high school, I left that same door feeling thankful.” This is beginning with an anecdote.
Write the body of the speech. This is where you get to thank your friends, family, teachers, and so on in depth. Look at your brainstorming notes, and write 1-2 paragraphs where you say who you want to thank and why in complete sentences. (2-3 for a speech longer than 5 minutes). Don’t spend more than 2-3 sentences talking about a single person unless you really want to emphasize being thankful towards them.
- For example, you can say, “I would like to thank my friends and family for always inspiring me when I felt hopeless.”
- Another example is, “I want to thank Professor Z for helping me choose a major.”
- The body of the speech comes immediately after the introduction.
- Avoid insulting or offending those you are speaking to. Do not vent about problems or criticize others during this speech.
Write the conclusion of the speech. Write 1-2 sentences (1 paragraph for a speech that is longer than 5 minutes) that summarize everything you just said. Make sure to refer back to your theme and tie everything together in these 1-2 sentences. The conclusion comes after the body of the speech, and it can be very simple. For example, you can just say “Thank you again.”
- Another simple example is, “Once again, I am so lucky to have such great friends and family. Thank you.”
- You can end on thanking someone by saying, “The last person I want to thank is my grandma. She was always there for me. Good night.”
Edit the speech before practicing aloud. Remove grammar errors, parts of the speech that seem too long, or anything you are unsure about including. If you have time, ask a friend, family member, or teacher to read over the speech and give you feedback. When you are satisfied with what you have written, you can being to practice delivering the speech.
Practicing the Speech
Print out or write a copy of your speech. You can keep this with you as you speak, but remember to look up from your notes occasionally. Print or write the speech in large print so you can clearly see the words. You may need to print out or write a clean copy of the speech after you edit it more.
Read the speech aloud as you time yourself. Begin a timer when you begin reading, and see how long it takes you to read the entire speech. You may have an assigned time limit, such as 3-5 minutes; if you are giving a speech informally, decide on a time limit. Stop the timer when you are done reading.
Edit your speech according to how long you want to speak. Begin to remove parts of the speech, shorten sentences, and make more concise statements if your speech is too long. Once you edit out a sentence or idea, read the speech again to see if it is short enough. Continue this until you can read the speech well within the time limit.
Practice the speech often. Read the speech aloud a few times per day until you deliver it. Continue to time yourself so you do not speak for an excessive amount of time. As you familiarize yourself with your speech, your delivery will speed up.
Practice confident body language as you speak. This includes smiling often, making eye contact, and not fidgeting. Breathe as you talk, and avoid saying “Um” or “Uh” too often. Practicing in front of a mirror, a video recorder, or a friend is a good way to see if you have nervous body language.
Deliver your thank you graduation speech. Remember to breathe, make eye contact, and smile as you are talking. Reference your notes if you get stuck, and have fun thanking those people important to you.
Here are some Graduation Gratitude Speeches you may Download as your Reference:
- Graduation Speech Elem & High School Sample Only.docx – DOWNLOAD
- Graduation Speech High School Sample Only.docx – DOWNLOAD
- How to Write a Graduation Thank You Speech.docx – DOWNLOAD
- SPEECH OF GRATITUDE.docx – DOWNLOAD
- A-debt-of-gratitude.pdf – DOWNLOAD
- How-we-will-measure-these-years.pdf – DOWNLOAD
- The-future-is-in-our-hands.pdf – DOWNLOAD
Credit to the Owners of the Speeches