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Chapter 22. Entertaining Speeches > Making the Grade: Giving a Graduation Speec... - Pg. 182

Entertaining Speeches 182 Making the Grade: Giving a Graduation Speech Graduation speeches are plum speaking jobs because the audience is almost guaranteed to be in a good mood. Parents are finished paying astonishing tuition bills; graduates have yet to start re- paying their loans; professors are glad it's all over until September. Not only that, but everyone looks pretty good in a graduation gown. Don't spoil the good feelings: Keep your remarks short and snappy. The most effective commence- ment speeches are between 10 and 15 minutes long. After that, the audience will start to fidget. A wit once said: "The greatest achievement of the graduate is sitting through the commencement address." Don't let this observation apply to your speech. Class Act Remember that the weather in May and June is capricious. If the graduation is being held outdoors, watch for rain clouds. If you see anything threatening on the horizon, cut your remarks short. Try to be memorable. Keep in mind that you want your speech to be easy to remember--and easy for the press to quote. For example, in his later years, Winston Churchill was asked to give the commencement address