How To Write A Memorable Retirement Speech: A Complete Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 19 November 2022

Published 1 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When an individual leaves an organisation after serving several years working, the organisation may organise a small gathering to bid farewell. On such an occasion, the retiree may deliver a speech sharing their experiences. It is an opportunity to show gratitude for the time spent at the company. In this article, we discuss how to write a retirement speech and a good one.

Related: A Guide To Giving A Speech (With Steps And Skills)

How To Write A Retirement Speech?

The following steps illustrate how to write a retirement speech that is memorable:

1. Identify the goal of your retirement speech

Before you begin to pen down your retirement speech, it is essential to understand what you want to convey. It helps provide a direction to your ideas and thoughts. Once you have identified the goal for your speech, identify the kind of emotion you want your audience to feel. It may be happy, sad, inspired or a mix of multiple emotions. It helps set the tone for your speech and helps you include relevant anecdotes and quotes that may trigger emotion in your audience.

2. Keep in mind the audience you address

The audience on the day of your farewell may comprise teammates, managers and hospitality staff. The audience may have colleagues you interacted with but never worked with them. It is essential to keep them in mind when you include jokes, experiences or mention someone from the audience. Not everyone may understand the reference to a particular project, so adding some context before sharing an anecdote would help the audience understand it better.

Related: How To Start A Speech (With Practical Tips And Examples)

3. Prepare a framework

Once you understand the goal of your speech and your audience, you may begin to devise a framework for your talk. Chart down all your ideas as points, people you want to mention and the reason for it. You may also include anecdotes, your future and your career at the organisation. This step aims to gain an understanding of all you want to say. This framework would act as a checklist to ensure you present a well-rounded speech.

4. Organise your notes and write the speech

Arrange all your ideas in the order you want to talk about them in your speech. Identify the points to convey at the beginning, followed by the ones that make the main body and then the points that end it. Next, write the speech connecting all the details. Review and check if the speech transitions well from one point to another. Instead of writing it completely, you may also use your notes as cue cards when speaking.

Related: Guide: How To Become An Effective Communicator

5. Practice your speech

Read the speech out loud, in front of a mirror. It helps build confidence in what you say and also helps review the flow of thoughts. You do not require to learn your speech thoroughly, as you lived through the experiences you plan to share. If you have the time, practice it a day later than when you write it. It helps view the speech from a fresh perspective and lets you edit it accordingly. While rehearsing, time your talk. It helps gauge if it is too long or short and guides you to make edits. Practicing may benefit you to understand the pace at which you speak.

6. Get a review from a trusted person

Test your speech on someone you trust to provide honest feedback. It would help in refining what you say and how you say it. Understand the points that may seem too sensitive, inappropriate and if it invokes the right emotions. The person who reviews your speech may provide you with details that you missed. They may also check your pace, time and body language.

Related: Five Steps To Prepare A Farewell Speech (With Tips And Examples)

What Is A Retirement Speech?

An individual who completes their tenure at an organisation and is retiring from their career delivers a retirement speech. It provides an opportunity to say a last goodbye to colleagues, acknowledge their help and show gratitude for the innumerable memories. A retirement speech is also a chance for an employee to thank the organisation for the experiences and opportunities. A retirement speech often encompasses many emotions and may leave people teary-eyed.

What Makes A Good Retirement Speech?

A good retirement speech reflects the personality of the speaker. It has a mix of experiences and glimpses of the future. It instantly connects with the audience and conveys many emotions. Here are some additional points that you may include in your retirement speech:

  • Talk about how you started your career in the organisation and grew over the years

  • Share experiences of working with people

  • Talk about opportunities, obstacles and lessons you learnt

  • Share something that makes you proud

  • Speak about something that you may miss

  • Thank colleagues, friends and the organisation

  • Keep it short and to the point

  • Avoid references and jokes that only a few members would understand

Related: Retirement Wishes For Your Colleague (With Tips And Samples)

Skills Required To Deliver A Retirement Speech

A retirement speech often marks the end of your career at a firm. To deliver a good speech honing some skills through your profession can help it make it memorable. Here are a few skills that may come in handy when you write or deliver your speech:

  • Public speaking: Learning this skill may help you be more confident in what you say and how you say it. It teaches you the correct use of verbal and non-verbal cues when delivering a speech.

  • Observational skill: It helps understand the audience and gauge their emotions. You may choose to improvise your speech accordingly.

  • Organisational skills: A good speech is well structured. This skill helps you critically analyse your talk and make edits.

  • Storytelling: While this is not necessary, it is good to have storytelling skills. It makes it easier to take the audience through your experiences and create an impact.

Related: Types Of Public Speaking Skills And How To Improve Them

Tips For Delivering A Retirement Speech

When you deliver a speech, the audience notices verbal and non-verbal cues. It contributes to the experience they have while listening to you. Here are a few tips to help you deliver a speech well:

  • Stand upright when you address the crowd: The audience notices your posture when you deliver a talk. An upright posture exhibits confidence and makes it easier to engage the audience.

  • Make eye contact with the entire room: It makes you seem involved in what you speak. Fixating your eyes on one person for concentrating may make the audience feel uncomfortable.

  • Use your paper for cues: Avoid reading the entire speech from a paper. It may seem like you did not prepare for the occasion.

  • Stay calm and relaxed: When you are relaxed, it is easier to pace your speech. Additionally, it helps the audience understand every word that you enunciate.

  • Be audible: It is essential when you address a large gathering. It helps people clearly understand and may improve audience engagement.

  • Improvise if you get stuck: In a retirement speech, you share your experience at the organisation. Avoid panicking and share what you feel.

  • Use gestures: It could be simple hand gestures or emotions like laughing and smiling. It helps engage the audience and makes you look honest with your words.

  • Thank the audience for listening: It helps end the talk well. You may also want to re-introduce the masters of ceremony for the day to transition into the next segment.

Related: How To Start A Presentation (With Tips And Examples)

Example Of A Retirement Speech

The following is an example of a retirement speech:

"Hello everyone, and thank you for taking the time out for this get-together that marks my last day at this wonderful organisation. For those of you who may not know me, I am Sharan, and I have spent the last 20 years growing from a marketing executive to the chief marketing officer at this firm. I am forever indebted to LabPro for the experiences, opportunities and culture it fosters.

I would also like to thank my incredible marketing, design and advertising team. I appreciate all the work you have done to deliver some thought-proving campaigns to our clients, including the Marvin Shay project from last summer. It was an experience to put together such great content in 15 days. I still remember the work we did for Savy Art and the effort Rohan put in to convince the client. Truly commendable.

To Synthia, who would soon take my chair and that corner office, it has been a pleasure working with you for the last seven years. I cannot wait to see the incredible things you do to help this company reach greater heights. I wish you all the best and am confident that you would secure some challenging clients and drive this team with your creative energy.

Lastly, I am going to miss this place, and especially our CEO Raman, for the innumerable insightful conversations. I am glad to be retiring but would always cherish the brilliant minds I had the chance to interact with and learn from through the years.

Thank you LabPro for giving me this opportunity, and thank you, everyone, for a fulfilling career. I wish you all the best. Thank you once again."

Related: How To Prepare An Audience-Centred Speech (With Tips)

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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