Special Occasion Speeches

Special Occasion Speeches are:

  • Prepared for a special occasion and a specific purpose

  • These can be informative or persuasive or a mix of both

  • The main goal:

“The function of a special occasion speech is to       entertain, celebrate, commemorate, inspire, or set a social agenda.”

For entertainment:
  • Banquets, award dinners, and raosts
  • Usually a light hearted speech with humor
  • They may also expect the speaker to offer some insight into the topic
For celebration:
  • Celebrates a person, place, or an event
  • Examples: Weddings, anniversaries, retirement parties, awards banquets
  • (these all call for speeches that recognize the person or event being celebrated)
  • The speaker praises a subject and the audience expects a certain degree of ceremony
For commemoration:
  • Focus on remembrance and tribute
  • Mark important anniversaries, such as 9/11, anniversary of shootings at Virginia Tech
  • The speeches focus on the events and the people of note at memorials dedicated to them or gatherings held in their honor.
For inspiration:
  • Inaugural addresses, keynote speakers, and commencement speeches all have an inspiration message
  • Usually contain messages and examples of achievement and heroism, many commemorative speeches also inspire audiences as well as pay homage to a person or event being commemorated.
For Social Agenda-Setting:
  • Establishing or reinforcing the goals and values of the group sponsoring the event
  • Examples: fundraisers, campaign banquets, conferences, conventions
  • Speakers are asked to deliver keynote addresses which establish a theme of the meeting and which offer a plan of action related to the theme.
SPEECH OF INTRODUCTION:
  • A good introduction speech balances four elements: the speaker’s background, the subject of the speaker’s message, the occasion, and the audience.
    • Background
      • Heighten the audience interest. (why are they qualified to speak) Build the speaker credibility
      • You may need to ask for some background info from event organizer or speaker himself.
    • Preview Speaker’s Topic
      • Why is the speaker’s subject of interest to the audience
      • Is the subject timely, significant, relevant to audience.
      • (Be brief in this portion-don’t steal their thunder!)
    • Ask Audience to Welcome the Speaker
      • Cue the audience to welcome.
        • “Please join me in welcoming…
IF YOU ARE BEING INTRODUCED:

  • I appreciate your kind words
  • Thanks for making me feel welcome today
  • This is a wonderful event, and I appreciate being part of it…

Can be tough to accept an award… hearing all kinds of accolades can leave you feeling a bit awkward…

  • That introduction was so gracious– you were half way through until I realized you were talking about me…

(add humor in some way)

SPEECH OF ACCEPTANCE:
  • Prepare- if you know you might be getting an award, prepare something to say.
  • Esp. if it’s not a surprise–the audience will expect a formal speech
  • React genuinely and with humility
  • Explain why the award is important to you and describe the value you place on it.
  • Tell the audience how it could affect your future and how it gives meaning to what you did to get it.
  • Thank those giving the award and those who helped you in obtaining it.
SPEECHES OF PRESENTATION:
The goal is twofold:

    • to communicate the meaning of the award
    • to explain why the recipient is receiving it
  • Explain the meaning of the award, what it celebrates, who the award represents, the significance of the name, when it was founded
  • Don’t forget the sponsors or the organization behind the award
  • Talk about the recipient
    • Why the person is getting the award, their achievements, the kind of work they do, the special attributes that qualify him for the award, how the recipient was selected.. etc.
ROASTS AND TOASTS:
  • Roast- humorous tribute to someone, various people jokingly poke fun at the person.
  • Toast- a brief tribute to a person or an event being celebrated

(both are done to celebrate an individual and his or her achievements)

  • Prepare- you will set the tone and express the purpose for gathering
  • Keep it brief, focus on two of the most unique or recognizable attributes of a person.
  • Keep the tone good natured and brief (don’t embarrass the person being honored)
EULOGIES AND OTHER TRIBUTES:
  • Eulogy- To praise someone who has passed
    • Balance Delivery and Emotion
      • The speakers job is to help others feel better
      • Audience looks to the speaker for guidance
      • If you feel you are going to lose it, take a deep breath, pause–and focus on your next thought.
    • Mention each family member by name and make it clear the deceased was an important part of the family.
    • Focus on the life of the person, not death
      • their contributions and achievements-how their memory will live on
      • talk about their character
      • tell a story (can be humorous)
AFTER DINNER SPEECH:
  • Usually surrounding a business, professional or civic meeting, following a dinner or lunch.
  • Should be lighthearted and entertaining
  • Make sure your speech is relevant to the topic
  • Don’t overdo comedy– Only a few jokes:)  Go with what comes natural to you
  • Can be Social Agenda-Setting
    • Ex. United Way jump starting its campaign
SPEECHES OF INSPIRATION:
Example: Sermons, Commencement addresses, “pep talks,”

  • Seeks to uplift the members of an audience and help them see things in a positive light
  • Effective ones touch on deep feelings
  • Touch on audience’s emotions
    • use vivid descriptions and emotionally charged words
    • repetition, alliteration, and parallelism.
  • Use real life stories
  • Be Dynamic
  • Make your Goal Clear
  • Consider an Organizing Device
    • Example: Coach– WIN: Work, Intensity, No Excuses
  • Dramatic Ending

EXAMPLES:

INTRODUCTORY SPEECH:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GLSoXaP5E8c

ACCEPTANCE SPEECH:

(HUMOR INFUSED)

http://vimeo.com/44772843

TOAST:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRxcc_7didA

INSPIRATIONAL SPEECHES:

http://www.urbantitan.com/10-most-inspirational-speeches-in-history/

ADDITIONAL SPECIAL OCCASION SPEECHES:

OPRAH WINFREY SPEAKS AT FUNERAL OF ROSA PARKS

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/oprahwinfreyonrosaparks.htm

GEORGE W. BUSH SPEAKS AT VIRGINIA TECH AFTER SCHOOL SHOOTING:

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/gwbushvatechmemorialconvocation.htm

JOHN F. KENNEDY’S INAUGURAL ADDRESS:

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/jfkinaugural.htm

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