The Do's and Don'ts of Commencement Speeches

Common mistakes to avoid and best practices to follow when writing and delivering your commencement speech.


A commencement speech is an opportunity to inspire your fellow graduates, share your insights, and create lasting memories. However, crafting a speech that resonates with your audience and leaves a lasting impact requires careful planning and attention to detail. In this article, we will outline the do's and don'ts of commencement speeches to help you avoid common mistakes and follow best practices when writing and delivering your address.

The Do's of Commencement Speeches:

  1. Do focus on a central theme or message: Establish a clear and compelling theme or message for your speech. This will help you create a cohesive narrative and ensure your speech is focused and impactful.

  2. Do use personal stories and experiences: Share personal anecdotes and experiences that illustrate your theme and help your audience connect with your message. This will make your speech more engaging and relatable.

  3. Do express gratitude: Acknowledge the support and guidance of family, friends, teachers, and mentors. Expressing gratitude shows humility and appreciation and strengthens your connection with your audience.

  4. Do evoke emotion: Use emotion to create a lasting impression and inspire your audience. Share your feelings, and be genuine and authentic in your expression.

  5. Do practice and rehearse: Spend time rehearsing your speech to ensure you can deliver it confidently and clearly. Practice will help you refine your delivery and feel more at ease when speaking in front of an audience.

The Don'ts of Commencement Speeches:

  1. Don't make it all about you: While it's important to share your personal experiences, avoid making your speech solely about your achievements. Focus on universal themes and messages that resonate with your audience.

  2. Don't be too long-winded: Keep your speech concise and to the point. Aim for a duration of 10-15 minutes, as longer speeches can lose the audience's attention.

  3. Don't use clichés: Avoid relying on overused phrases and clichés in your speech. Instead, strive for originality and authenticity in your message and delivery.

  4. Don't be overly negative or pessimistic: While it's okay to address challenges and obstacles, avoid focusing too much on the negative aspects of your experiences. Focus on the lessons learned and the positive outcomes of overcoming adversity.

  5. Don't read your speech word for word: While it's essential to be familiar with your speech content, avoid reading it verbatim. This can make your delivery sound robotic and less engaging. Aim for a more conversational tone that allows for natural pauses and fluctuations in your voice.


By following these do's and don'ts of commencement speeches, you can craft a compelling and memorable address that inspires and resonates with your fellow graduates. Whether you choose to write your speech yourself or use the Graduation Speech Co.'s AI-driven service, remember to be authentic, focused, and engaging in your delivery, and you will leave a lasting impression on your audience.

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