Tribute Speech

Purpose:  One of the forms of public speaking that we do not do enough is paying tribute to another human being.  There are many occasions for giving a tribute:  family gatherings, weddings, graduations, retirements, special birthdays, etc.  This presentation will be an opportunity for you to practice such a speech.  Choose a person who is important to you—who touched your life or impressed you—and share two or three specific things about this individual.  The person you choose could be a family member, friend, teacher, coach, pastor, musician, writer, sports celebrity, etc. The best selection is someone who you personally know.  The honoree must be living (the assignment is not a Eulogy).  One way to begin is to consider using the following statement “the person I admire the most is…..”.  Your response to the statement may provide potential ideas you can develop for the speech.  Moreover, it is often productive if you reflect on your honoree in terms of impressive accomplishments, obstacles overcome, benefits to society, and the values and ideals embodied in their words and/or deeds.  Remember, speeches of tribute magnify impressive feats in terms of ideals reaffirmed for the audience (characteristics we all can identify with as positive or impressive).

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You will honor an individual who has influenced you in a positive way.  Share a few (2-3 points) specific things about this person that made him/her so influential or worthy of attention/recognition.
Your speech should have three parts—an introduction, body, and conclusion.
The introduction should begin with a sentence that gets our attention and clearly previews the ideas you will be sharing about this person.
The body should be devoted to important things about this person which justify your decision to speak about your honoree.
The conclusion should summarize your main points and leave the audience with a closing thought about this person.
The speech should be between 3 – 4 minutes in length.
Use a conversational, extemporaneous style of speaking.
No more than two note cards are allowed.
Emphasis on the effective use of stylistic devices will be evaluated.
A typed key word outline is required prior to your giving the speech.

Suggestions:  Choose a person who is important to you—who touched your life or impressed you.  Remember, this is not a biography as we do not have enough time for such an effort.  Focus on the honoree, not yourself.  Provide examples of accomplishments and explain them to the audience.  For example, if your honoree was ill, the theme of “survivor” could be exploited which characterizes a person as a cancer survivor, something that all of us can admire and appreciate.  Some common pitfalls include the following: don’t embarrass the honoree, don’t exaggerate, and don’t plagiarize.
Keep in mind the importance of clarity.  This is largely achieved through effective organization.  Do not have too many main points.  Confine your speech to two or three main ideas and group the other points under these.  Clarify the relationship between your main points.  Use clear, explicit previews, transitions and summaries.  Keep you speech moving ahead according to a well-developed plan; do not jump back and forth from one idea to another.
            Practice the speech several times.  Time limits are rigid and over/under penalties will be assessed.  Don’t read your speech, don’t attempt to memorize it either.  Strive and achieve the confidence to move from your written outline in order to give the speech from your note cards which should be brief—not written verbatim. The 8 x 8 rule applies (64 words per note card) along with a maximum of two note cards for your speech.  This is your final speech and expectations are high.
Outline: A typed key-outline is due and is expected to be labeled correctly in a manner consistent with the first speech assignment.  For inspiration, take a look at your Introduction Speech outline.

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