Special Occasion Speaking
There are a number of social situations in which you might find yourself asked to make a speech. This page examines some of those situations and offers some advice on how to handle them.
Speech of Introduction: A speech of introduction is when you are asked to introduce the “main” speaker at the function. Your speech should answer the following questions for the audience:
- Who is the speaker?- Talk about the speaker’s credentials and expertise and why they were chosen to speak.
- What will the speaker be discussing?- Give a short preview of the upcoming speech.
It’s critically important when giving a Speech of Introduction to get the speaker’s name and speech topic correct, naturally. Whenever possible, go over your introduction with the speaker beforehand to avoid potential embarrassment for both of you.
Welcoming Speech: The goal of a welcoming speech is to bring people or groups of people together. For example, you might deliver a Welcoming Speech about a new employee in your company. The purpose is to formally introduce the newcomer(s) to the others. This involves telling the audience who the newcomer(s) is/are, where they came from, what they will be doing.
Award Presentation Speech: When you are presenting someone with a gift or an award you have two goals to accomplish:
- Discuss the award itself- Who sponsors it, who it is named after, the history of the award, and the requirements to earn it.
- Discuss the winner of the award- Who they are, what they have done to earn the award.
When presenting an award, hand the award off with your left hand and shake hands with recipient with your right hand.
Award Acceptance Speech: When receiving an award, your audience will most likely expect you to be gracious and humble. To this end, a good award acceptance speech involves thanking others who made your receiving the award possible. Be sure to thank those involved in helping you get the award, and the giver of the award.
Tribute Speech: Situations for a Tribute Speech might be a eulogy at a funeral, or a speech given at a retirement party, or any other occasion where a person is being honored. Basically, sincerity is the key to a good Tribute Speech. You should focus on the positive aspects of the person, tell humorous or otherwise interesting stories about the person, and speak of the person’s accomplishments and admirable qualities.
Toast: In most toasting situations (weddings, retirement parties, birthday parties) the person delivering the toast can anticipate that they will be asked to do so. Because of this, and because toasts are usually quite short, a good toast is often written in advance. A toast needs to be positive, and to include words of praise or encouragement for those to whom it is directed.