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Writing Farewell Speeches


Speaking Tips     Overcoming Fear     Speech Writing     Wedding Speeches
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. - Collosians 4:6

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* Thanks and appreciation follows the introduction. As the person leaving, single out those of particular importance and say why they were of help to you over the years. If you are paying tribute instead, thank or show appreciation for what the honoree has contributed. Give specific examples.

* Talk about notable events or hallmarks that occurred during the tenure of the person leaving. This can amount to a brief history or walk through memory lane. Aim to impress listeners and make the honoree feel important and valued.
Farewell Speeches
Farewell speeches bid people goodbye and are appropriate when someone is leaving an organization, as when retiring; stepping down from a role, as would be the case when a long-time coach leaves for a new opportunity; or when someone is moving to a new community to start a new chapter of life.

Typically, a gathering is organized in honor of whoever is leaving, and either the honoree makes the farewell speech himself, or is saluted by someone else's speech. In either case, the speeches should contain certain elements.

Pointers for Writing Farewell Speeches

* If you are paying tribute to the person who is leaving, start the speech by introducing yourself and giving your connection to the honoree. Follow up by expressing sorrow over the impending parting and gives listeners a reason to feel the occasion has importance.

For instance, mention the decades a retiring longtime employee has given to a company. Give the context for the farewell if you are, instead, the person leaving, and express sadness at having to leave the situation behind no matter your hopes for the future.
If giving the speech as the person leaving, mentioning hallmarks and notable events is another opportunity to show appreciation for how the years have enhanced your professional abilities, enriched your relationships or contributed to your general well-being.

* Heart-warming or funny anecdotes are great tools to give your speech meaning. You can sprinkle them throughout the body of the speech whether you are the honoree or giving the speech to praise the person leaving. Depending on the occasion and context, heart-warming anecdotes can be sentimental, say, when a person is moving away, or they can range into the profound, as might be called for in situations where the honoree has impacted lives in some official capacity.

Humorous anecdotes, meanwhile, should never cast people in a bad light. Farewell speeches should provide a sense of closure, so humor should serve to cement the bonds of the past and inspire hope for a good future.

* End on a positive note. Wish the person who is leaving well in their future endeavors and, if it is appropriate, propose a toast. If you are leaving and, therefore, giving the speech, make sure to complement anyone who might be succeeding you in your position and express confidence in their abilities. Wish your successor and everyone else all the best.

It's important to understand that the speech should be more than ceremonial. Changes in life can be difficult, particularly those that involve endings. Gatherings that formally acknowledge a goodbye serve as transitions into a new life.

At such gatherings, a well-crafted speech that expresses the significance of a person's time and the impact of his or her departure can help make for a smooth transition. In this way, farewell speeches serve as final gifts.

See this sample retirement speech for a look at the above pointers in action.