7 graduation speeches to inspire your communications

As a new crop of fresh graduates enters the workforce, PR pros can take wisdom from these commencement speakers—both in sentiment and in style.

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Great commencement speeches seem to contain the same elements.

The wise and accomplished speaker regales a stadium of youngsters with life wisdom, humor and personal anecdotes.

Or as George Saunders quipped:

“Some old fart, who over the course of his life has made a series of dreadful mistakes…gives some heartfelt advice to a group of shining, energetic, beautiful young people with all their best years ahead of them.”

What makes a great commencement address? According to veteran speechwriter Nathan Osburn:

A good metaphor for a strong commencement speech is a flashlight. A graduate might have one or two steps planned out, but the rest is hazy. This might sound a little lofty, but with a flashlight—powered by a commencement speaker’s memorable personal story—they might be able to make better personal and professional decisions.

Communicators, speechwriters and executive communicators alike can learn from these speeches:

1. Sheryl Sandberg – UC Berkeley – 2016

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