The Tribute Speech Guide:
- to help you easily plan and deliver one of your own
The tribute speech belongs in a special category of speeches called commemorative. Its principal purpose is to inspire and celebrate; uniting listeners in sincere, heartfelt gratitude and admiration for its subject.
If you're been asked to prepare one and need to find out about them, read on.
Where are you likely to hear this type of speech?
It may form part of any of the following celebrations:
These may be family events for example, a 50th wedding anniversary or a milestone birthday, or they be public ones, for example, celebrations marking historic events like Remembrance Day or the passing of famous people.
At a family reunion this form of speech may be given to honor its senior members. Similarly they will be an important part of the reunions of people initially brought together by work, sport, interests or vocation.
- Memorial services or funerals
The eulogy you hear at a memorial service or funeral is a special type of tribute speech celebrating the life of the person who has passed away.
A tribute speech at an award presentation will honor the achievements of the award recipients.
Although thought of as 'wedding speeches', the best man, father-of-the-bride speeches and their variations, are all forms of tribute speeches.
The tribute speech heard at a retirement celebration honors the retiree by acknowledging their service and contribution.
- or any other significant or special-day event.
What are the characteristics of a tribute speech?
Whether the focus is a person or a group of people, its characteristics are:
- admiration and respect
- a focus on positive qualities: perseverance, dedication, humility, compassion, honesty, trustworthiness, loyalty, sacrifice, service, kindness, humor ...
- highlighting accomplishments and the difficulties overcome to achieve them
- a reflection on the positive impact and contribution of the focal group or person on the lives of others
- grateful acknowledgment of what we can learn from their example to take into the future
How do I begin the process of writing the speech?
The first step in your process is finding out as much as you can about the occasion itself and then deciding on a topic, (if it hasn't already been decided for you).
You'll want to know:
- who the audience is
- whether you are the only speaker, or one in a series of speakers
- how long you expected to speak for
- whether the event is formal or informal
- if there are any special requirements the organizers may have that need to be included in your speech
How do I choose a tribute speech topic?
Generally the occasion chooses it for you!
If you're asked to speak at the celebration marking your Mother's 70th birthday or a similar event, then you know what the topic is.
If it's not that clear cut you'll find this page on how to select an inspiring tribute or commemorative speech topic extremely helpful.
It walks you step by step through the process of finding a topic to suit your audience's needs in addition to having a great selection of carefully picked links to help you research topic possibilities.
There's a tribute speech template here that will be useful to help you plan the sections of your speech. Use it as a guide.
Or if you'd like more than an outline to help you, you'll find the entire process of writing a speech mapped out step by step in this how to write a speech guide.
Are you here because you've been asked to prepare a eulogy?
These links below will guide you through the process:
Would you like to read an example eulogy before you begin?
Reading others can be really useful in helping you decide what you want to achieve with your own speech.
Here are three famous speeches, each illustrating the characteristics of a fine commemorative speech.
- Oprah Winfrey's eulogy for Rosa Parks
- Ronald Reagan's tribute for the crew of the Challenger Space Shuttle that exploded during its launch
- Sen. Edward Kennedy's eulogy for his nephew J.F Kennedy Jr.
And lastly, here is a tribute speech for my mother.
Do you need help with preparing to deliver your speech?
You'll find everything you need to help you give your speech confidently by visiting the site map .
There's tips on making and using cue cards, how to overcome fear or anxiety of public speaking, how use your voice well and more.
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