‘Tis the season of graduations and commencements. And if there are graduations and commencements, then there are certainly speeches.
Most graduation speakers, students and dignitaries alike, work hard to craft a message that is a little bit autobiographical, a little bit clever and humorous, a little bit thought-provoking, and delivers an important message about life.
In spite of the hard work that these speech writers put in to their speeches, most also know that not many in the room, or auditorium, or gym or on the quad, will be listening. And of those who listen, only a small percentage will remember what was said. When she delivered the Commencement address at Harvard University in 2008, author J. K. Rowling actually found comfort in the fact that probably no one would remember what she had to say. It calmed her nerves. Obviously, graduation speeches are lost on the graduates.
But graduations and commencements continue to feature speakers who deliver advice and proclaim values that could, indeed, become life changing – or at least life guiding. And perhaps some of the people who benefit most from those speeches are the writers themselves. It is no easy task to decide what single message you think will most benefit a group of young adults about to head to college or out into the world.