Once you have your speech outline, it’s time to practice the speech. It will take all the pressure off for the evening and make you come across your best. Practice your retirement speech using a single sheet of notes and rehearse on video. You can pull out your cell phone or use a webcam. You can give Your speech to just one family member. Practice your speech not by just reading it silently or saying it aloud. Don’t say it to the mirror, as it is a complete waste of time. Because if you practice your speech in front of a mirror, you will focus on your looks. Don’t practice in front of a mirror. Practice in front of another person. You can also practice with no one else in the room. Just hold your cell phone out and record a video of yourself. Watch the speech. Don’t critique it; instead, be a harsh and fair judge of yourself. Write down a list of things you liked and did not like. At this point, don’t try to change things like accent.
Analyze your video
If you see a video of yourself that you don’t like, don’t worry about that. Focus on improving yourself. Are you easy to understand? Can people hear you? Do you have an interesting example? Do you think you came across as sincere? Did you look up and thank people by name? Those are all good things.
On the other hand, look at what you didn’t like. If you think you were too monotone or sad or think that the thanks were generic, ask yourself if you said things uninterestingly. Making a note of that too. Record your speech now, and grade yourself. You’ve probably seen other retirement speeches, but you probably don’t remember many of them. You may remember an awful one, but you might remember one that worked well. Use those as reference points when grading yourself, so give the speech recorded on video and grade yourself.
Control your emotions
It’s not a formal staffing business affair. It is your retirement event and retirement speech. And it’s perfectly fine to have a little more emotion than usual, but don’t fall apart. People sometimes fall apart in their retirement speech. They cry too much. Now the beauty of the technique of rehearsing on video is to become so comfortable with the speech and how you deliver it that it’s much easier to keep your emotions in check. You will not be experiencing emotional difficulties for the first time and will help you keep composed at the event. It doesn’t mean to be a robot. You are sad, but you don’t want to stop the actual presentation from expressing this fact. If you want to keep your emotions in check, record a video of you speaking.
Alcohol only after the speech.
At dinner, there may be champagne flowing or other alcoholic drinks. Don’t drink any alcohol until your retirement speech is over. The reason is that even one glass of alcohol can slow down recalling your stories or messages to share. That extra drag on your memory for giving an emotional speech can sometimes slow you down and cause awkwardness. Alcohol could also make you more emotional, hindering you from communicating with the listeners more effectively and directly.
And we don’t need more emotion at this moment. You may want to sweat a little, but you don’t want that to be the last impression people have of you. So, avoiding alcohol before any speech, presentation, or talk is better than waiting until after your presentation.
Joke about yourself
If you want to talk about something embarrassing, make yourself the bottom of jokes. You don’t have to worry about your corporate or organizational reputation here because you’re retiring, so you can be a little looser. It does not mean saying inappropriate things, but you can be a little looser in this situation. It’s not as formal as a presentation. So, you can make fun of yourself.
It’s ideal to have a simple one-page outline with the names of the people you want to thank and three important career events—words that remind you of stories and things that happen. Once you see those words, you know exactly what you want to say for the next three or four minutes; you’re recounting that story smoothly and naturally.
After retirement activities
Beyond that, if you want to indicate what you might do in the future, do so. If you have been a lifelong fan of bird watching and now you and your spouse are going to travel the world on an international bird-watching safari, and no one else knows about your plans, people would like to listen to you. Tell them that you will continue with an active life, not just sitting home watching television; you’re doing something meaningful with your life. So now is the time to share with people what you’re doing if they don’t all know. End on a positive note; it’s a time for positive emotions. You may have mixed emotions at this time, which may be bittersweet, but it is time to accentuate the positive ones.
The most important tip is to practice your retirement speech on video. If you do that, you will solve 99% of your problems and be able to speak well in any situation. Remember, you’re not there to discuss every success and quarterly earnings with the audience. You’re there to thank the people who mean the most to you. Put a spotlight on what you’ve enjoyed the most, which has meant the most to you in your career. Following these guidelines will enable you to make a great speech. If you make any jokes in your speech, make them about yourself. Tell something about your after-retirement activities if you think they are worth mentioning.