New tricks for writing the old ceremonial speech

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What You’ll Learn:: 

You’ve seen the long faces of those poor grads in their black gowns and mortarboards when your exec shuffles up to the podium.

They expect to be bored. They’re hot and tired. They want to grab those diplomas, hug their 500 best friends, and get out of there.

Your speech—the pages of which your exec is shuffling about and peering at through half glasses—stands between them and the life of everlasting fun that will follow.

Confound them! No, not “confound them” as in a curse from Yosemite Sam. Confound their expectations. Surprise them. Delight them.

In this session, a longtime university speechwriter who has written hundreds of ceremonial speeches will share his best tricks for writing routine and ceremonial speeches that are neither routine nor merely ceremonial. From welcome addresses and introductions to convocations, commemorations, and eulogies, he has written them all.

You'll learn how to:

  • Shake up the speaker-audience dynamic to surprise your listeners
  • Freshen ceremonial speeches by incorporating social media
  • Mine unexpected histories to give even routine speeches new life
  • Warm up formal proceedings with irreverence
  • Use audience members' stories to personalize your speakers' words
  • Put the audience at the heart of the ceremony and the speech

Find out the significance of bowling championships, pagan rites, and hound dog funerals in Alabama.

Successful ceremonial speeches cement our bonds with one another in a cause that is bigger than ourselves.

Learn how to rattle the ritual, summon history, and get personal. Inspire them. Leave them teary-eyed and wanting more.

Start with Ragan Training.

February 2014

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Presenter bio: 

Aaron Hoover

Aaron Hoover, executive speechwriter to the president of the University of Florida, has spent a decade writing speeches for senior executives at UF, UF Health and the Savannah College of Art and Design.