Great Graduation Speeches: Cliche vs. Conviction

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It’s Graduation Season again and I guarantee that valedictorians, professors and “honored guests” will be drenching commencements with thousands of overused cliches. Cheese-laden phrases will be uselessly dispersed over microphones and speaker systems all across the country.

Thankfully, there are many wise, creative, witty communicators (though rare) who will challenge the cap-and-gown crowd with captivating speeches. They will speak with conviction, with clear thoughts and a good balance of emotional appeal. They will make you laugh, cry, and make you think critically.

The best kinds of speeches make you take action.

Here are a few favorite graduation speeches from well-known AND lesser-known speakers who have caught our attention.



A MUSICAL JOURNEY THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL (7 min)
LANCE JABR & JEFFREY HERMAN @ Mountain View HS 2008



YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL (12 min)
DAVID MCCULLOUGH @ Wellseley HS 2012



CONAN O’BRIEN @ Dartmouth College 2011 (24 min)



STEVE JOBS @ Stanford University 2005 (15 min)



JUSTIN ROSOLINO @ Brentwood Academy 2013 (25 min)


 

 

QUESTION: If you gave a 5-minute speech to graduates of 2013, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?

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