Graduation Speech Writing Outline

If you are speaking at a graduation in the near future, chances are you are looking for a graduation speech writing outline that will help you write your own speech. Speaking at your graduation is an amazing opportunity to honor your classmates and say goodbye to them on this special day.

Graduation Speech Writing Outline Graduation Speech Writing Outline

However, you want to make sure that you know what you want to say and that you cover certain topics that will be interesting for your class to listen to. Read on to learn about what to say in your speech and for a sample outline that will help you write a personal speech that contains all the right details.


Write a Winning Speech

Make sure that your graduation speech is about something that you would want to listen to - and no, that doesn't necessarily mean stories all about you and your successes. Instead of giving off a vibe that you are more important than your classmates, think of this experience as being able to share an important moment with your peers as a representative of your class.

  • Write about something that you can speak truthfully and courteously about while piquing the interest of your peers. Common themes include dreaming big, learning to fail or never giving up.
  • Elicit shared memories of the past, as well as a hopeful vision for the future.
  • Keep your speech short. Don't talk for 30 minutes at graduation - usually, everyone is too emotional to remember what was said, but everyone will remember who talked for too long, how hot the sun was (or how the lack of air conditioning made the ceremony miserable), and how unbearable the speeches were. Don't be that person - write a short speech that has great content!

If you'd like to explore the process of drafting a keyword outline, be sure to check out these examples.

Sample Graduation Speech Outline

Below is a sample outline for a graduation speech. Be sure to personalize this speech and make it your own: feel free to omit some of the categories that have been outlined, and to add others as you see fit.

You may want to reorganize these categories for a flow that fits your personal speech. It is all up to you - ask others for help on making your speech perfect for graduation day.

1. Thank the Previous Speaker

Begin with gratitude and grace. Whoever introduced you to the stage, be sure to thank them not only for introducing you but also for the work they do within the school.


2. Introduce Yourself

Don't ever assume people in the room will know who you are. Introduce yourself, including your name.

3. Share a Motivational Quote

Plan to include some sort of motivational quote or personal narrative with your classmates. Illustrate how it connects with your class's experiences in the school. This will serve as a nice opportunity to bring everyone together and get your classmates excited about the future.

4. Share Some Good Advice

This is perhaps the most important part of your speech. Share some meaningful advice for the years to come. Highlight some of the expectations that are about to come your way. You can also share some advice about the people and experiences that are yet to come. Keep the tone positive. Remind everyone they have what it takes.

5. Recall the Good Times

Encourage your classmates to remember the good times at your school. To move forward, we must remember where we came from. Highlight a momentous occasion that everyone partook in. Encourage your peers to take those memories with them wherever they go.

6. Restate Your Motivational Quote

Finish by reiterating the motivational quote you began with, giving it more context. Although you just dipped into the past with one of those "good times," the focus is on the excitement and hope that's yet to come.

7. Create a Call to Action

Call your fellow students into action. Leave them with an inspiring sentence encouraging them to go out and make a difference in the world.


8. Thank Everyone

Finally, thank everyone for their time. Thank them for the memories over the last few years and their time during your speech.

graduation speech outline

View & Download PDF


Brainstorming, Drafting and Proofreading

Using the above outline:

  • Begin to brainstorm material that you can use in your speech. This should not be a difficult task. In reality, most of what you say has already been said before at graduation ceremonies like this, and your peers have probably heard similar motivational quotes or stories before.
  • Start creating your first draft. Instead of sounding like a robot repeating the old favorites, add themes and stories that make this outline your own, and write a speech that uses your own personal voice.
  • Review what you have written. You do not have to say something brilliant or incredible to give a successful graduation speech. Instead, think about keeping the speech short and simple. Try to keep it under 10 minutes long.

Inspire Lives Today

Following a graduation speech outline at the beginning of the writing process is a good way to organize your ideas and put together some solid content. Once you've created a roadmap for the things you'd like to say, start adding in your own quotes, stories, and anecdotes.

To help you get started, check out some of these graduation quotes or tips on writing a valedictorian speech. You can even intertwine one of these Meaningful Quotes About Life. But, most importantly, while you're up there, remember to be yourself, have fun, and enjoy this final moment to connect with all your friends.