A dedication speech is an opportunity for you to honor a colleague.
A dedication speech is an opportunity for you to honor a colleague.

Giving a speech can be one of the most nerve-wracking moments of your life, but those nerves can be lifted through proper preparation. Long before you deliver a dedication speech to honor a family member, colleague or friend, it's important to prepare the right content to ensure that the entire audience, and especially the guest of honor, will appreciate your words. Once you dazzle the crowd with your dedication speech, you may even be asked to give another at a future event.

Write the dedication speech to honor the individual. Dedication speeches often take place at retirement parties, anniversary celebrations and award banquets. Regardless of the specific event, your speech should highlight the individual's accomplishments, share personal anecdotes and combine poignancy with humor. You can write the entire speech based on your personal relationship with the honoree or ask other key people for their input for the speech.

Share the speech with some of the guests who'll be in attendance to gauge their reactions. Often, a dedication speech relies on humor, but it's important that your speech doesn't offend any guests. A few neutral parties will help you determine the appropriateness of your words. If they make any useful suggestions, make the necessary changes.

Rehearse the speech until you're completely familiar with it. While it's acceptable to take a printed copy of the speech to the podium, it reflects poorly on you if you simply read your speech. It's ideal to be able to deliver it mostly from memory, while keeping an eye on your notes to maintain your place.

Relax in the period of time leading up to your speech by breathing, talking with friends and drinking water. Remember that because it's a joyous event, people are in a relaxed mode. Your speech delivery doesn't have to be perfect, so don't worry about thinking it has to be. Instead, keep calm and don't fret as you get ready to deliver the speech.

Speak clearly and at a slow pace while you're giving the speech. It's normal to rush your delivery when you're nervous, but doing so negatively affects the delivery of your speech. Speak at a normal pace, and take pauses when appropriate, such as after you made a joke. Often, speeches get easier after you speak for a minute or after you earn the first real laugh from your audience.