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?