To help you prepare your thanksgiving speech with minimum fuss here's a simple two step process, with an optional side-serving of history, a link to collection of handy thank you quotations and, a few delivery tips for nervous first time speakers.
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Your speech will be stronger and more effective based one principal idea rather than a pick and mix assortment. A useful image is to think of theme as the uniting thread linking everything you want to say together.
- gratitude or thanks for all that is good, wholesome and sustaining in our lives - food, love, family, friends, the country we live in, the air we breathe, the parks we play in, our work, freedom of speech, an education ...
- recognition of community
- our inter-dependencies - that we are part of a web of existence
larger than our individual selves, families or extended families.
This could include everything: moving from our immediate environment, out to the world, and beyond, as beautifully exemplified in this poetic Iroquois Thanksgiving Address.
- celebrating the season. Thanksgiving and the ancient Harvest Festival (celebrating the harvesting of crops in Autumn or Fall) share many common elements.
- honor due to those who give or serve in order that we may continue to live
- acknowledgement of difficult times: losses, trials or challenges that must be faced to move forward
- resolution and hope
1. Who your speech is for
What do the people listening to you expect to hear?
Is is lighthearted stories and recollections or something more solemn and formal?
Identifying the audience's needs and expectations will help you choose the theme and then subsequently, how you treat it.
2. The purpose of your speech
Are you aiming to inspire people? Do you wish to unite them?
Maybe you want them to laugh and relax. Perhaps it is a combination of all three intentions.
Knowing the main purpose behind your speech will also help guide your choice of theme, tone and content.
3. The style of the occasion
Is it formal or informal?
Will the speech be delivered in an intimate setting like a family dining room or will it be in hall and delivered from behind a lectern?
Now begin with the body of the speech
This is the "meat" of your speech. You will add the opening and conclusion later.
Based on your chosen theme note down 3 main points.
Start with the most important first. For each point you make give one or two examples to illustrate it. When you give your speech you'll link the points with transitions.
(If you need more explanation of transitions you'll find it here on this page: how to write a speech.)
Now outline the conclusion of your speech
To end well, reinforce your theme, summarize your main points and finish with strong statement or maybe a quotation that will resonate on in the minds of your audience.
And lastly add the beginning of your speech