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Convocation Speaker Guidelines & Tips

Tips for your speech

Structure and Flow

Speeches should have 4 sections of varying length and purpose, with sections 2 and 3 as the basis of your speech.  Your speech ultimately needs to be delivered in less than 3 minutes and be roughly 350-450 words.  For the selection process, speeches submitted must be less than 500 words.

1. Speeches open with greetings to the President, Dean, faculty, alumni, and class of 2024, with special thanks to parents, friends, and loved ones who made it all possible.

2. Speeches should then transition to present a timely issue or challenge that is relevant to the College of Social and Behavioral Science.

  • This is often drawn from work or research that the speaker has done during their time in the college.
  • This section is meant to show the importance of the issue and the necessity for action.

3. The speaker then proposes a collaborative, human response or solution to the challenge that should rally the crowd to action.

  • This response is most effective when it creates a multidisciplinary call for action and does not rely on only one department or program.
  • Speakers often invoke hope and determination in their audience in this section.

4. Speeches then transition towards their closing, often with an energetic call to collaborative action amongst the graduates.

  • Remember that this is a graduation ceremony and that it marks people going forward, beginning new lives.

Effective speeches . . .

  • Are rich in content, have a strong theme, and tell compelling stories.
  • Inspire us.
  • Demonstrate passion, conviction, sincerity.
  • Are inclusive.
  • Illustrate that problems can only be solved if we all work together.

Speaker Contest Application


Last Updated: 2/16/24