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Special Occasion Speech Guide with Topics and Tips

Special occasion speaking is different from the traditional persuasive speech given in debate competitions. As the name suggests, these speeches mark special events and celebrations, such as graduations, anniversaries, weddings, or retirements. Unlike informative and persuasive speeches, special occasion speeches are not meant to sway or inform the audience. Rather, their purpose is to inspire and pay tribute to the occasion they are delivered for.

What is a special occasion speech?

A special occasion speech evokes emotions in the audience and creates a connection to the special event at hand. For instance, toasts are made at weddings, inspirational speeches are given at a motivational talk, humorous speeches are given during a roast, and eulogies are given at funerals.

What is a Special Occasion Speech Purpose?

The context and nature of the event determine the speech's aim and they are different than the informative or persuasive speeches. While delivering a clear message is important, the delivery style of a special occasion speech is tailored to the event and different from that of other types of addresses. Emotional appeals, or pathos, are employed to connect with the audience and evoke a specific emotional response, whether it be laughter at a joyful event or reflection.

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Some Common Types of Special Occasion Speeches

Special occasion speeches come in many different forms, each serving a unique purpose and possessing its distinct style. This section delves into the different types of special occasion speeches and gives you a comprehensive rundown of their key elements. Some special occasion speech examples are as follows:

Speeches of Introduction

A speech of introduction is a basically a brief speech which is serves as the introduction for upcoming speaker. The host of the event typically delivers it to introduce another speaker. The content of the introductory speech is usually centred around the person being introduced. In the content you can mention if speaker written books on the subject or has had special life events. The introduction must capture the audience's attention and create excitement. The speech's conclusion should welcome the main speaker to the stage, building anticipation and creating positive energy for the main speaker's speech.

Acceptance speeches

An acceptance speech is a formal address delivered by the recipient of an award, recognition, or honour. Its purpose is to express gratitude and appreciation for the award. This speech provides an opportunity for the recipient to reflect on their achievement and share personal experiences and lessons learned along the way.

For a well-written and effective acceptance speech, it should contain the following elements:

  1. Thanking those who presented the award and expressing gratitude for the recognition.
  2. Acknowledging those who helped in achieving the award or goal.
  3. Providing a personal perspective on the award by explaining its significance to the recipient.

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Speeches of Dedication

A speech of dedication is a formal address given on special occasions to recognise or dedicate an object or event. The goal of the address is to commemorate the occasion and highlight its significance while also remembering all those who participated in the project. Examples of such events include naming a building, opening a new store, placing a plaque, or completing a library. When delivering a dedication speech the keynote speaker should adopt a celebratory and respectful tone to honour the event.  The key components of a successful speech include the following:

  1. Establish your connection to the event by sharing personal experiences or relationships.
  2. Describe what is being dedicated, including its history and importance.
  3. Recognise everyone involved in the project, such as those who initiated, funded, and completed it.
  4. Emphasise the impact the dedication will have on the community, for example, by highlighting new job opportunities created by a new store.


The fourth special occasion speech is a toast. A toast is a short speech during special and personal events like weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, or even career milestones like a new job or promotion. The purpose of a toast is to congratulate, admire, or remember someone and show gratitude or appreciation. Toasts typically last around 30 to 60 seconds and involve raising a glass of wine, champagne, or any other beverage. As the glass is raised, the speaker offers congratulations, praise, and well wishes, creating a memorable moment and setting the tone for the rest of the event.


Roasts is a very interesting yet peculiar speech, where the speaker makes lighthearted and playful jabs at a person in a way that's meant to entertain the audience. You must have watched some of the roasts conducted by the television station Comedy Central. When preparing for a roast, it's crucial to strike a balance between humour and respect. Start by getting to know the person you'll be roasting, familiarise yourself with their quirks and any well-known stories you can playfully rib them about. Avoid bringing up sensitive or private information that may make the person uncomfortable. Keep your audience entertained and engaged throughout the speech, and end on a positive note.


A eulogy is a touching tribute to someone who has recently passed away. It's a speech given during the funeral or memorial service to honour the deceased and celebrate their life. The eulogy should highlight the remembered person's special moments, relationships, and achievements. The goal is to bring comfort to those grieving and share the person's story in a meaningful way. Delivering a eulogy is a privilege, but it can also be a challenging task. Tributes can be lighthearted, nostalgic, or a mix of different emotions. Personal anecdotes and reflections can add a deeper emotion to the speech and help bring the person's story to life. Humorous moments can also help to ease the tension as its a serious and sad occasion. Writing a eulogy is a cathartic experience and can be an important part of grieving. It's a time for friends and family to come together and support each other in their loss.

Farewell Speech

A farewell speech is a way of bidding goodbye to someone as they move on to a new phase in life. This type of speech is usually given by a colleague, boss, or friend to pay tribute to the person's contributions and achievements. Whether leaving a job or graduating, farewell speeches celebrate the transition and mark new beginnings.When giving a farewell speech, preparing and choosing your words carefully is important. Avoid negativity and aim to express positivity, respect, and gratitude. The address is a chance to reflect on the past and look forward to the future, and it should be focused on expressing best wishes to the person moving on.

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Commencement Speeches

A Commencement Speech is a special address given to acknowledge the accomplishments of a graduating class. A great commencement speech signifies the end of an era for the students and allows the commencement speaker to reflect on the lessons learned and experiences gained. Speakers deliver commencement speeches to inspire and motivate the graduates as they embark on a new life chapter. Commencement speech addresses should include some key points to make it a memorable experience for you and the audience. Some common commencement speech themes include leadership and self-improvement. Make the speech personal and heartfelt by sharing your lessons and experiences. Add humour to engage and make the young audience laugh, but keep the content concise and to the point.

After-Dinner Speeches

An after-dinner speech is common in formal gatherings and events. After dinner speakers address after a meal, and the purpose is to end the evening while engaging and entertaining the audience. A successful after-dinner speech makes use of the chance to promote a positive atmosphere in the room. The tone of the speech can be casual, as the text usually includes anecdotes, personal remarks, and light commentary to make the speech humorous. The content, however, should be crafted to build a sense of community amongst the event attendees and any kind of humorous remarks should be modest.

Motivational Speeches

Motivational speech is a type of inspirational speech crafted motivate listeners to pursue their aspirations and take action towards their goals. It is a highly specialised form of persuasive speaking commonly delivered at schools, or clubs and even religious centres. The purpose of the address is to boost confidence and offer a fresh perspective on life. The speaker must convey intensity, persistence, and conviction through their words and delivery. Successful individuals who have overcome challenges and achieved great things are often the ones who deliver motivational speeches. The format of the address can vary, but it has the potential to impact the lives of the listeners deeply.

  1. Familiarise yourself with your audience
  2. Clearly define the issue
  3. Provide a solution
  4. Use vivid examples
  5. Encourage action
  6. Speak with conviction

Speeches to Ensure Goodwill

Speeches of goodwill promote unity and cooperation between groups, communities, or even individuals. The lessons are delivered with good intentions; goodwill is an asset representing a positive image of a person or even an organisation. Speeches of goodwill are usually given out at public gatherings or events. The purpose is to build bridges and remove any grievances or misconceptions. Some important examples of speeches of goodwill are discussed as follows:

  • Speeches of Apology
    Apology speeches are public statements made when an individual or organisation wishes to express regret for past actions or behaviour. The goal of the speech is to acknowledge any wrongdoing and apologise for any harm caused. For an apology speech to be effective, it must also include a plan for making amends and steps to rectify the situation. This goodwill speech is important for diffusing tensions and avoiding further conflicts. When making an apology speech, it's crucial to ensure that the tone is heartfelt and the expression of regret is prominently included in the content.

  • Speeches of Justification
    The second type of speech of goodwill is the speech of justification. These are given to defend a course of action or explain a decision made by an individual or organisation. Typically the speaker explains evidence and reasoning to support their arguments and persuade the audience. These speeches are commonly made in politics and business to justify a controversial decision, a policy change, or a new initiative. For a speech of justification to be effective, it is important for the speaker to have a thorough understanding of the topic and to present their argument clearly and convincingly. It is also crucial to consider the audience's perspective and address any objections or concerns they may have.

  • Speeches on Public Relations
    Public relations speeches are the third type of speech of goodwill aimed at enhancing the image of a speaker or organisation in the eyes of the public. The objective of these speeches is to maintain or improve reputation. They are crafted to present a positive image to the public and address any negative perceptions. For a public relations speech to be successful, it must be well-prepared and tailored to the specific audience.

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Special Occasion Speech Outline Example

There is no perfect recipe to get a special occasion speech designed. Outline and content of special occasion speeches unlike the other time of speeches vary per the type of special occasion speech that is being delivered. For example, commemorative speech is different than the speech of introduction and so on.

However, here is a sample outline that you can follow and modify while delivering special occasion speeches.

  • Introduction: start with an introduction that is warm and engaging to connect with the audience. Make sure that emphasis on the speech title or main thesis for the upcoming speech.
  • Body Paragraphs: the speech's content mainly depends on the speaker's topic. You can start with the maybe a paragraph or two based on the information, event, or person that is the central theme. The body paragraph can also include anecdotes, personal experiences, tributes, or relevant messages.
  • Conclusion: Summarise the speech delivered in a way that ties all the main points while leaving a lasting impression. Include call-to-action and emphasise to reflect through written and verbal language.

This basic outline covers all the conventions of public speaking previously discussed and can be used for special occasion speeches ranging from commemorative speeches to speeches of motivation.

List of Special Occasion Speech Topics

  1. The power of gratitude and thankfulness.
  2. A peak into the future; reflections from the past.
  3. Celebrating life with important milestones.
  4. A toast for life and its blessings.
  5. The importance of finding strength in the community.
  6. Living in the moment.
  7. Finding happiness in life as it is.
  8. Overcoming adversity to embrace opportunities.
  9. Toasting the future, roasting the past.
  10. Experiencing the power of forgiveness.

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  • Start by understanding the audience and the expectations of the event.
  • Determine what you want to achieve with the speech.
  • Draft an outline, and the basic structure of the speech; including the introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Make sure that the content is relevant and use anecdotes, including personal experiences to connect with the audience.
  • Keep the speech short and to the point, don't bore your audience with unnecessary information.
  • Chanel your true self in the written and verbal words.
  • Add humour, but in an appropriate and relevant manner.
  • Make sure that you practice your speech so that the delivery is smooth and confident.
  • Add a high note at the end of the speech to make it a memorable experience for the audience.

Its imperative to get your special occasion speech drafted in a manner that not only encompasses all the that needs to be said but also leaves a lasting impression. The first step is to understand the type of speech that you are giving. Once you have done that note what will make the speech special and prepare content that will be impactful yet appropriate for the event.

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