Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Principals: 5 No-No's for Graduation Speeches


Okay…so you are tasked with talking at graduation. 

You are the principal. You've got this.

Prepare. Who needs to prepare. I can just wing it!

After all, I know what to talk about. Yea…

How about I’ll tell them a story from when I was a kid…yes…that will work. Then I will tie that to the tough conditions today. Life is tough. Job outlooks are bleak. But when I was young it was tougher. You know…I had to walk 10 miles to school and it was all uphill …both ways!
I won’t need to practice because I know when to end…I’ll just talk until I get to a good stopping place…then …blam…I’ll say something funny… smile and then… hey…let's graduate…Then I can sit and turn it over to the staff…whew that was tough…but I’m done…yea! That’s a good plan…

Ok…If you are thinking this way…STOP IT! STOP IT, NOW!!!!

Oh…the insanity…I can hear the kids going…yeesh...when will he shut up, the grandparents are asking who is this guy? And the parents are wondering about their dinner reservations or the many family members who are back at the house, eating the food meant for the graduation party and wondering where the graduate is…

Here is a summation of 5 No-Nos of graduation speeches…

Doom and Gloom

This is a momentous occasion! Parents, graduates, alumni, family, and friends…Soooo many people excited about the event…thinking about the years gone by…looking forward to the future…some thinking…whew…she made it…Doom and Gloom cannot be part of this speech…No global warming…No Russians in the Ukraine…No China taking over the economy or the lack of jobs or other issues like that…

Speaker talks about himself

This is their day! This is a time for their families and friends to celebrate the journey and the future! They don’t want to hear about you or some famous person! They want to hear about them! Talk about the kids, specific info about events, make comments about issues that were taboo during the year but now are actually funny… Did you know that we have three Eagle Scouts and three Girl Scout Gold Award winners?...remember the trip to Grad Night? Ok…sooo did you really ride the Harry Potter ride only once? How amount the service of the students to the community…The winning field goal…The band in Washington…The Academic team taking top honors…JROTC meeting the general of the Air Force….How many of you really like syrup on the bleachers? (A reference to a prank)…Ok…who is going to admit that they were the ones who placed Ronald McDonald on our roof? Do you remember when the cafeteria started focusing on serving healthy snacks like wheat germ, plain yogurt and bean sprouts…ok yea I know some of you were happy…but…

Now wouldn't this be sooo much better?!

Talks too long

15 to 20 minutes…no more….practice…don’t ramble…make your points…have fun!

Winging it

You must think about what you are going to say…don’t memorize…but create your points…make it about them and their families…practice…practice…so you know what you are going to say and you don’t talk toooo long…

No sense of humor…

Don’t tell jokes …but make it fun!!!
Help to make it memorable…

If they seek you out afterward…If they make you feel like Mickey Mouse at Disney World because they want you to take a picture with them, their families, their friends…then you've done good…