I personally know at least two people who are gonna be valedictorians in their respective fields this year, so I hope they will allow me to share my views on what I think a valedictorian’s speech should be like.
I’ve never been a valedictorian myself, so it might seem quite impetuous of me to be sharing my views. But take it from the perspective of someone who has studied the craft of writing and has sat as an audience member long enough to at least have some valid views on the matter.
Also, I am usually right, most of the time, so it makes sense to trust me. LOL.
- Keep it succinct. Use the recommended rate of 150 words per minute to help you keep track of what you have to say e.g. if you have 5 mins to speak, your speech should be 750 words long. Conversely, if your speech is 1500 words long, you’re gonna take 10 mins to speak; more if you consider all those pauses for breath that you’re gonna have to make.
- Keep it sweet. All the speeches which I’ve heard from valedictorians seem to border on nostalgic, mushy, unfocused drivel. Try something different this time: try speaking from the heart about an issue that should matter to the group of people you’re talking to. Think about it in terms of extrapolation: the group of people are at x point in time; paint a picture of what they might be in x + y years’ time if they take your advice to be socially responsible and stop STOMP-ing, for example.
I want to cheat a bit and use Daren Shiau’s USP Commencement Address 2008 to illustrate my point, but I can’t find it online, so I’ll settle for second-best and ask you to read J. K. Rowling’s “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination” instead.
That’s all. I’m rather succinct and sweet myself, you know. LOL.