Whether you’re the one about to put your feet up or the representative of the business saying goodbye to a much-loved colleague, a retirement speech is a great way to honour a career.
Regardless of whether it’s decades of service, years of business acumen or just a brilliant supply of home-made brownies shared with co-workers, a five-to-seven-minute speech is the most personal and meaningful way to reflect someone’s work-life.
Congratulations if you are the one retiring. Turn off that 6am alarm and put away those stained Tupperware boxes..but before you do, make sure you sign off with a great speech.
And, if you’re the one in charge of giving this to your colleague, make sure you give them the send-off they deserve.
Here’s Speechy’s guide to nailing a great retirement speech.
Of course, if you’re looking for more than advice, check out our Mother of the Groom Speech Templateor our Bespoke Speech Service. Our team are experts in the field and quoted everywhere from The New York Times to the Daily Mail.
How to perfect a retirement speech
- Keep it short: Try to keep it between 5-8 minutes.
- Acknowledge your audience: Ease yourself in by thanking everyone for attending the evening and break the ice with some humour.
- Mention the milestones: If you or your colleague have been at the company for years, reminisce on their milestones and best workplace achievements.
- Thank your favourites: If you’re the one who’s leaving, feel free to mention a few specific people who you’ll miss.
- Add some humour: In among the seriousness of the workplace, draw on a few humorous anecdotes that made the days more rewarding.
- To the future: Look forward to this new, exciting chapter of life.
Regardless of whether this speech is for you or your colleague, having a room full of people come together to celebrate and appreciate one person is a huge honour, so begin by thanking your audience.
Pay tribute to your company who have organised the event, and any extra members of family who have attended to make the night more special.
If you or your colleague are known for partying, this is a perfect opportunity to slide in a quick comment to pre-warn any senior members of staff. Due to there no longer being any risk of embarrassing themselves/yourself and being reminded of any antics Monday morning, this will be a night no one will forget.
Mention the milestones
If you or your colleague have worked for the company for a number of years, there will be reams of professional achievements and milestones that stand out.
Whether it be from conversations with colleagues or random emails in the archives, dig through the records and pay homage to any accomplishments that stand out.
If this speech is for a colleague, take this chance to remind them about how much they have achieved and how much their hard work was appreciated, even if they were notorious for constantly breaking the printer.
Thank your favourites
A happy and healthy working environment isn’t always down to your job title or bonus scheme, but rather the people who you spend five days a week working alongside.
Working in close proximity to people for numerous years can allow for wonderful friendships to blossom, and you’ll want to take a second to recognise these relationships that helped the days pass.
Perhaps there was a colleague you carpooled with for years and turned up for work a few times too late because of the ‘bloody traffic’ – aka McDonalds breakfast runs. Did you form a special relationship with the accountant because you always forgot to hand your invoices in on time? Or maybe there was a group of co-workers who supported you through a family emergency and cooked you more than a lifetime’s worth of lasagnes.
Share a few stories and anecdotes that will not only humour and entertain the audience but will allow them to recognise and relate to the member of the team you’re paying tribute to.
Add some humour:
This event isn’t bound by the four walls of your professional office, so ensure your speech is sprinkled with laughter. No matter what story your telling, every anecdote needs an opportunity for your audience to laugh.
If you are writing this speech for someone else, ensure that your stories are drawn from the person’s individual quirks and traits, rather than cliche workplace jokes you stole from the internet. Using humour as a way of showing your love and admiration for your colleague will always make them feel appreciated whilst also letting the rest of the room know the type of relationship you had.
To the future:
Whilst starting your retirement closes one huge chapter of your life, it is also the start to a new, wonderful one.
If this speech is for a colleague, wrap it up with any assumptions you have for their future. Use their traits and habits that you mentioned previously to make guesses as to what they’re going to do with their spare time. Did they use annual leave to go on numerous golfing trips, or are they eager to spend their free time with their grandkids.
Of course, if this speech is for your own retirement, you may want to wish the company and your colleagues a prosperous future and you’ll certainly want a good old gloat about the numerous holidays you’ve got booked for the year whilst everyone else will be arguing over the broken printer!
HOW SPEECHY CAN HELP YOU
Get in touch if you want to find out more about how we work, the services we offer, and The Speechy team are comedy scriptwriters by trade and romantics at heart.