You may be leaving a place of work or somewhere you have lived. Your life is going to change. And to kick-off the process, you gather your friends / colleagues and have to make a speech!
This is definitely cathartic, but it can also be a real challenge. How are you going to create the right balance of emotion, nostalgia, fun and thanks, while demonstrating that things are (hopefully) about to get better?
If you have been asked to speak about someone else who is leaving, the same problems apply but in reverse. How will you make them feel loved, admired and missed, without sounding sycophantic and dull?
To get the sales pitch done at the start, we’re happy to take the problem off your hands. We have written hundreds of retirement speeches for clients in three continents. Some have sent us their first attempt and we’ve come back with constructive criticism. Others have asked us to take the whole job over, gather their information and write something really compelling.
We’ve done it for hedge fund managers, sportsmen, accountants, politicians and many more. So please do give us a shout, even if only to receive our research questions which should help you gather all your relevant material in one place.
Should you wish to turn down this kind offer of help, you might consider the following:
- It is easy to become too caught-up in the moment. Write your speech thinking about how a typical member of the audience might react. That should add some balance
- This isn’t a chance to become a stand-up comedian (unless you’re leaving a job on a cruise ship). The balance between sincerity and lightness of touch is key
- You will inevitably have spent the majority of your time with a minority of your audience. Try not to pander to them. Save the in-jokes and cliquey stuff for the drinks afterwards; this leaving speech is a time to embrace everyone, and to focus on the big picture.
- Don’t go on for too long. Save the detailed memories of your second week at work with a bunch of long-retired colleagues for another time. Ten minutes is ample, and the more relevant and contemporary your subject matter, the more engaged your audience will remain.