You deliver commencement speeches to honor people. As a graduation speaker, you have the responsibility to focus the spotlight on those who deserve the honor. Because you are the commencement speaker, you have the opportunity to celebrate the uncelebrated and unrecognized.
You will not speak on that stage to receive the lifetime achievement award. It is likely that you are the most distinguished person in the hall.
And everyone knows that.
Do not waste your time telling everyone what they already know. Avoid the tricks of many politicians who invite themselves to graduation ceremonies to gain voters’ awareness.
In the Philippines, we call this epalitics.
I do not discourage schools from inviting politicians, but be very careful.
The occasion is for the graduates and for everyone who helped them. So, let your speech revolve around the students, their teachers, parents, and others. You are free to share your life stories to illustrate points and to give them courage.
But do not deal with yourself too much.
You only need 17 minutes or less to deliver an amazing speech. It only took Abraham Lincoln more than two minutes to deliver the Gettysburg Address. Deliver your commencement speech in less than 17 minutes.
To honor people is to know them. I encourage you to research. Seek out their stories. You will surely hear interesting stories that will inspire you and will also inspire your audience. Let their stories move you.
Be their storyteller and show them that they must be proud of themselves.
I hope these ideas will help you deliver an amazing graduation speech.