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The Art Of Saying Goodbye: How To Prepare A Good Retirement Speech?

by Shahnawaz Alam

I guess we all have to reach that certain stage in life when we say goodbye to the place/ platform we spent an entire lifetime working. Irrespective of your station in your career, and the sector you work in, it is important to have a good retirement speech ready for a retiree’s big day of retirement (especially when you were asked beforehand to deliver one).

While it does not take that much preparation, there are some common mistakes that you can avoid if you prepare. Your words should be able to convey the right meaning and feeling you want to share on this day. So, if you are planning to deliver a great retirement speech, I can help.

Here are some tips for preparing a great retirement speech that strikes the right cord at the right time.

Retirement Speech Pitfalls You Must Avoid

Retirement Speech Pitfalls You Must Avoid

Before I tell you about the best practices, it would help to know things you must avoid when preparing a retirement speech. You don’t want to get carried away or be at a loss for words on the stage. So, here are things that you should not do if you were to read a good retirement speech.

Don’t Be The Jester

I understand the urge to use a little humour, but you should not get into a tricky situation in the meanwhile. The audience present should have different levels of familiarity with the retiree as well as you. So, it would help to not be excessively wayward and free and talk about specific fun night outs or uncanny situations during a conference.

Be sure about who your audience is and don’t give away too much and make things awkward for the retiree, the audience, and most importantly, yourself.

Avoid Making Risks With Retirement Cliches

People work from home nowadays. So, we can easily say that the concept of retirement has also changed a lot. People hardly retire to the front porch nowadays. In fact, retirement might last for 20 to 30 years, or a retiree might want to stay active during their retirement. 70% of retirees nowadays stay active in one way or the other after their retirement.

So, do not make the mistake of assuming that the retiree will be completely done with work. Retirement speech mistakes such as these happen when your sentiments of retirement do not match with the retirement of today’s time. So, avoid making well-worn retirement clichés and make things awkward.

Avoid Ageist Remarks

You might have heard some retirement speeches and remarks earlier that are considered as in today’s time. Such words and remarks might offend your honoree. So, it would be best to avoid them at all costs.

Don’t Overlook

This happens when you don’t have a retirement speech ready. In your attempt to deliver a good speech, you should never overlook all that the retiree has done for or contributed to the organisation.

Don’t Overdo It As Well

It also does not help if you stretch the retirement speech too far and puff up the accomplishments of the honoree. The worst thing is – even they know that you are stretching it, and they don’t like it.

Don’t Keep Them Waiting

When the speaker is not prepared, they usually have no idea where they are going. On top of that, the palpable anxiety and the stage fear were additional downsides. So you kept on speaking and speaking until the audience started yawning. This also shows a lack of preparation.

Steps To Writing The Best Retirement Speech

Now that I have pointed out the mistakes you cannot make, let’s come talk about the things you should do when giving a retirement speech. Here are a few steps worth following.

Focus On Feeling

The retirement speech is meant to make the honoree feel some emotions. So you just have to navigate the emotions you want to relay. Honour, among them, is a good way to start, appreciation and goodwill are also good paths you can take. So, always focus on how you want to make the retiree feel through your speech.

A Simple Framework

Always have a framework around which you will keep your thoughts, feelings of gratitude and honour decorated. Having a framework will help you not drag the speech or finish with unsaid words. It also gives you an outline to clarify your main message. Here is a pattern you may follow –

  1. Start by thanking the audience in their presence.
  2. Express the reason for all of their presence.
  3. Talk about how the retiree worked to make a difference.
  4. Finish with best wishes on their journey forward.

Now Prepare

Preparation is a must unless you are a naturally efficient speaker. As for suggestions, you can start by doing some research about the honoree and talk to people who were close to them at the workspace. This will help you not down words that better describe that person.

If you want to make the retirement speech memorable, try pondering how that person went about their life at work instead of following career highlights based on data. Talk about how their contribution of time to the organization made a change.

Review The Remarks With Someone You Can Trust

When you are done with a framework and a little preparation, try going over the speech you prepared. Review it again, but this time with someone who knows the retiree and someone who you can trust. You can ask them to give honest feedback and help you tweak it here and there to improve the speech.

Future And Past

While delivering your speech, don’t just dwell on the past alone. Try talking about the future and the freedom and happiness that the honoree is going to enjoy post-retirement. So, you need to use elements from both their past and their future and balance them out.

Keep It Short

As I have mentioned time and time before, a retirement speech should not drag on and on. Always try to keep it brief and short.

A Sincere Retirement Speech

Keep your sentiments and expressions genuine, and keep them real. The honoree needs to feel respected, valued and honoured; these don’t require too many nice words. As long as you are sincere, a brief speech will do fine.

Bottom Line

A retirement speech is what a retiree takes home as a parting gift to start their life of freedom and active retirement. So, you should try to make it worthwhile by getting the right amount of preparation. Once you follow the different tips I have offered in this article, you will be able to create a well-crafted speech for the retiree.

I hope that this article was helpful. However, if you need our help with anything similar, let us know through the comment section. We will answer them ASAP.

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