9 Tips For A Great Retirement Speech
If you have the responsibility of making a retirement speech either at your own retirement party or for a retiring worker, you will want it to go with a bang. A retirement party risks being a dull affair if nobody has bothered to plan.
People often have low expectations of retirement parties and the retiree is not always happy about having to retire, or may be looking back on his career with disappointment that it did not live up to the dreams he had when he was young. But a good retirement speech can change all this around and create a fun and memorable event for everyone.
Here are some tips for writing the perfect speech.
- Plan. Do not go into the party assuming you will think of something good to say. Sure you will probably think of something, but it may not be good or kind.
- Involve other people in the speech. This does not mean they have to get up and say something, but you should be collecting ideas and stories from others, not relying on your own memories alone.
- Check your facts. One thing you will certainly want to say is how long the retiree has worked for the company. Look in the files to have this correctly. If you are mentioning his wife or children, make sure you know their names.
- Keep the speech simple and be yourself. There is no need to try to impress anyone.
- Stay positive. Even if you are an unwilling retiree, speak about your plans or hopes for the future, the things that you are looking forward to doing. If you are the retiree's manager, you probably know some of his plans and if you don't, you can ask people who are closer to him.
- Include a couple of jokes or funny stories if you can. Be sure that these are not cruel to the retiree or anyone else present, and do not tell the same old anecdotes that everyone has heard before. If possible, make it a story about a good lesson learned or something that puts the retiree in a good light. If you cannot think of anything, look at book on jokes, quotes and toasts for speeches.
- If you are wondering if it is okay to mention something that could be embarrassing for the retiree, go ahead and ask ahead of time. He will be flattered to know that you are taking the time to prepare this.
- Keep it short. Five or ten minutes is usually enough for most people to listen to. If your company has a tradition of long and boring retirement speeches, a very short speech might be considered insulting, but if you have to make a longer speech try to break it up in some way.
- Practice your speech on a friend, preferably somebody who knows the retiree. Ask them to be honest and suggest any improvements they can think of.
In the end, if you put care, planning and thoughtfulness into your retirement speech, you will be creating a pleasant and memorable event for everyone.
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