How to Write a Baccalaureate Speech

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Being chosen to write a baccalaureate speech is both an honor and a challenge. You and your classmates will always remember graduation, and you want to choose the right words for this momentous occasion. This type of speech needs to have multiple dimensions. Reflection, inspiration and stimulation need to be wrapped up with a good farewell. Careful thought, planning and consideration, along with a lot of practice, will serve you well in composing the perfect speech for the occasion.

1 Learn all the particulars

Learn all the particulars. Ask those who commissioned you to give the speech if they are looking for certain elements. For example, a Christian academy might wish for you to include plenty of references to faith or God's guidance. Also, mind the time constraints, as these will guide you in how long you should make your speech.

2 Create a memorable opening

Create a memorable opening. You want to grab the crowd's attention from the beginning to keep them engaged. Know your audience and plan accordingly. Do you want to open with a joke? An anecdote that sets up the main body of your speech? Use your own judgment, but start with a bang.

3 Write the main portion

Write the main portion of your speech. Ask yourself what is the main idea you are trying to convey. Come up with a few key points and build around them. You may opt for the traditional "past, present, future" model, which works well when you're trying to reflect and motivate at the same time. Or you could choose your own route. Give a nod to the poignancy of the moment and the prospects of the future.

4 Finish the speech

Finish the speech. Now that the body is done, it may seem tempting to relax a bit and coast, but don't neglect the ending. An ideal ending will reaffirm the main ideas of your speech and include motivational words tidbits for the future -- a call to arms of sorts.

5 Practice the speech a couple of times

Practice the speech a couple of times, and time yourself. If you are new to public speaking, you may find that your speech won't be long enough, as nerves will cause you to talk faster. Use a smooth, calm, conversational delivery to which it's easy to listen. Also, use this practice time to fine-tune anything that may need to be corrected or worded better.

Dave Stanley has covered sports, music and hard news since 2000. He has been published on and various other websites. Stanley is also a feature writer for "WhatsUp!" magazine in Bellingham, Wash. He studied journalism at the University of Memphis.