Writing a greeting for a graduation speech allows you the opportunity to address graduates, dignitaries, educators and family and friends of students. The greeting sets the tone for the rest of the speech, and should be reflective of the nature of the event, its speakers and the theme of the program. The greeting should also convey an overview of what is to come in the speech itself. It’s always a good idea to coordinate remarks with a graduation ceremony planner to ensure all aspects of the program flow together.
Write the body of your graduation speech first, then examine the draft for common themes and overall tone before writing the greeting. This approach will allow you to tie all elements of the speech together, beginning with the greeting.
Write your greeting for a graduation speech in a first-person, conversational tone. Use contractions and make sure the writing has natural points for pausing.
If there are particular people in the audience you want to address or welcome personally, a greeting is a good place to do that. Depending on where your speech falls in the graduation program, it may be appropriate to acknowledge the speaker(s) who came before you, or to welcome dignitaries.
Read your greeting for a graduation speech out loud several times to make sure it sounds as good in “real life” as it does on paper. If possible, have an audience of friends, family or colleagues listen to you deliver the greeting and provide feedback as to the tone, timber and pace. Alter the writing, if necessary, and repeat.
Time your greeting for a graduation speech to make sure you are staying within the parameters of the time allotment you have been given. You may want to mark the speech to indicate where you want to pause, or emphasize a remark.
Practice your greeting for a graduation speech so that you know it well enough to deliver it with only an occasional glance at your paper. This will allow you to make eye contact with the audience and deliver the speech in a meaningful way.
Inquire with the graduation ceremony coordinator who will be following your remarks, in the event you are asked to provide an introduction of the next speaker on the agenda.