Retirement Speech Template
92shoe: While I don't know of any formal guidelines, I have written
several similar speeches, having served as a speechwriter and as an aide.
-Intro joke: Only do it if it feels natural. There is nothing less funny than a forced
joke that is in there only because you feel like you had to have a joke. Also, if you
have any question at all as to whether or not the joke would be appropriate, don't
use it. Remember that the retirement ceremony will likely include friends and
family who may not find humor in all the same things we do. That said, if it does
feel natural, go with it.
-It sounds like you're honored to be speaking and are taking it seriously. Saying
that, and explaining why in a few words (90 sec or less) is a great intro.
-You can't fully sum up 24 years in a 10-15 min speech, and no one really wants a
speech much more than 15 mins. Instead of listing his Navy resume, you might try
focusing on one or two key episodes and drawing from them the qualities that you
most admire in your friend as an officer. If you're having trouble thinking of what
those episodes might be, think back to when you first met him. What made an
impression? How did your friendship form? What have you been through together?
As Star recommended, comparing ship-types and other facts and figures (how
many ships in the Navy, who was SECNAV, were beards authorized, etc) is
another good way to put the span of 24 years into context without having to list
every ship/duty station.
-If he has direct family (wife/kids) be sure to acknowledge them and their sacrifice,
unless there is some family issue that would make doing so unusually awkward.
This day is as much for them as it is for him, and they deserve to be honored and
-For the wrap-up, you might think about the one or two things you think the Navy
will miss out on most with your friend out of uniform. State them as simply and
directly as you can, thank him for everything he has done, and indicate how lucky
his family is that they will now have those attributes full-time.
Some motherhood and apple pie on the mechanics:
-Practice the speech out loud. If there are phrases that seem awkward to you or that
you trip over, find another way to say the same thing.
-Time yourself several times as you practice. Ideally, the speech should be about 8-
12 minutes. If it's less than 5 or more than 15, you've missed the mark and need to
-Have someone listen to you give it--ask specifically about how quickly you're
speaking. Do you sound conversational, or like you're trying to give a speech?
Retirement Speech Template PDF
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