• Relationships

How to Write a Memorable Retirement Speech + Examples

Updated 12/28/2023

Published 03/2/2020

Belinda McLeod, BA in Secondary Education

Belinda McLeod, BA in Secondary Education

Contributing writer

Follow this guide to write a memorable retirement speech, whether for yourself, a friend, or colleague.

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Stepping up to the podium for your own retirement speech or perhaps for a colleague’s grand exit? Bravo! Whether you’re bidding farewell to your own illustrious career or celebrating a coworker’s legacy, it’s a momentous occasion. And guess what? The spotlight’s on you, and people are eager to be moved, amused, and maybe shed a tear or two.

Jump ahead to these sections:

  • Who Gives a Retirement Speech?

Retirement Speech Etiquette

Tips for writing a retirement speech, short retirement speech examples.

If this is your debut into the world of retirement speeches, you don’t have to fret too much. Think of it as giving a wedding toast but with fewer embarrassing stories and more career highlights. 

Even if you’ve mastered the art of public speaking, a retirement speech is a unique beast. After all, you want your words to capture the essence of decades of dedication and hard work. 

This article will help you do just that. Keep reading to learn how to write a retirement speech that resonates and leaves an indelible mark.

Tip: Growing older and entering retirement also means watching your friends and family members grow older, too. And that often means coping with loss and grief. If you know a retiree who's facing a loss, our post-loss checklist  may be able to help.

Who Gives a Retirement Speech? 

Retirement speeches are a rite of passage and a moment to reflect on years of service, shared memories, and the legacy left behind. But who steps up to the mic to deliver these poignant words during an office farewell or retirement party ?

While the retiree is an obvious choice, there are others who’ve shared in the journey and can offer unique perspectives. Each speaker brings something unique to the table, painting a comprehensive picture of the retiree’s impact. Let’s take a look at the roles of these speakers and the insights they can bring to the celebration.

The retiree

If you’re the retiree taking center stage, this is your chance for personal reflection. You can share:

  • Anecdotes from your journey
  • The challenges you overcame
  • Milestones you celebrated
  • Gratitude for colleagues, mentors, and the organization

A retiree’s speech often carries pride in their achievements, nostalgia for the memories, and excitement for the future. You might also sprinkle in some humor like a light-hearted mistake or a memorable office prank. This speech is your curtain call, so make sure to leave a lasting impression and maybe impart some wisdom to those still in the midst of their careers.

A coworker’s perspective is invaluable because they’ve been in the trenches together, weathered the same storms, and celebrated mutual successes. If you’re giving a retirement speech for a close coworker, you can highlight:

  • The retiree’s professional attributes and teamwork
  • The camaraderie you shared
  • Recollections of shared projects, inside jokes, and day-to-day interactions
  • Your personal bond and the times you spent together

Your words have the power to connect with many in the room, echoing shared sentiments and reinforcing the retiree’s impact on the team.

A boss or manager

When a boss or manager speaks, it’s a testament to the retiree’s professional impact. Your perspective offers a birds-eye view of the retiree’s contributions, leadership, and the legacy they leave behind.

You can also touch on the personal qualities that made the retiree stand out, such as their resilience, dedication, or mentorship to younger colleagues. The retirement speech is a chance to express gratitude on behalf of the organization, pride in their accomplishments , and to assure the retiree that their shoes were hard to fill.

Retirement speeches are a tribute, a celebration, and a farewell all wrapped into one. As with any significant occasion, there’s etiquette to follow to make the event memorable for all the right reasons. Understanding these nuances can make the difference between a speech that’s cherished and one that’s merely endured.

Consider some retirement speech etiquette to ensure your words resonate with grace, respect, and warmth.

Dress appropriately

The way you dress not only reflects your respect for the occasion but also sets the tone for your speech. Dressing appropriately signifies that you value the event and the person being honored. It's not just about looking good; it's about showing that you've put thought into your appearance as a mark of respect. 

Whether it's a formal event or a casual gathering, ensure your attire matches the occasion. Remember, it's always better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.

Use humor wisely

Humor can be a fantastic tool to lighten the mood and engage the audience. However, it's a double-edged sword. What's funny to one person might be offensive to another. 

When incorporating humor, make sure it's in good taste and won't alienate or upset anyone. Steer clear of inside jokes that only a few might understand or controversial topics that could divide the room. The goal is to evoke smiles and laughter, not raised eyebrows.

A retirement speech is a heartfelt tribute, and sincerity is its cornerstone. While it's okay to refer to notes or an outline, ensure your words come from the heart.

Authenticity resonates. People can tell when sentiments are genuine versus when they're merely rehearsed lines. Speak with conviction, share genuine anecdotes, and let your true feelings shine through.

Be positive

Retirement is a celebration of a significant milestone. While it's tempting to bring up past challenges or conflicts, focus on the positive. Highlight achievements, growth, and the good times. 

Even if there were hurdles, frame them as learning experiences or stepping stones that led to greater successes. A positive tone uplifts the atmosphere and leaves the retiree with fond memories.

Time the speech correctly

While you want to cover all your points, you don’t want to bore anyone to sleep. A speech that's too long can lose the audience's attention, while one that's too short might seem insincere.

Aim for a sweet spot, typically between 5 to 10 minutes. This gives you plenty of time to convey your message without overstaying your welcome. Practice beforehand and, if possible, time yourself to keep on track.

Be grateful

Whether you're the retiree thanking your colleagues or a manager expressing appreciation for years of service, always express gratitude. Recognize the contributions, the memories, and the shared journey. A simple 'thank you' can resonate deeply, leaving a lasting impression on the retiree and the audience alike.

Crafting a retirement speech is an art that can seem daunting. After all, you have to encapsulate decades of memories, achievements, and emotions into a few minutes. 

Thankfully, with the right approach and a sprinkle of creativity, you can pen a speech that’s both memorable and moving.

General tips

Whether you’re a retiree or a colleague, retirement speeches should be given with utmost care and respect. Add a touch of creativity, and you’ve got a well-prepared speech that will move hearts and honor the star of the show.

Here are some general tips for crafting a memorable retirement speech.

Choose a speaker who knows the person well

Selecting the right speaker is the foundation of a memorable retirement speech. The speaker's connection with the retiree can make all the difference. Here are some qualities the ideal speaker should have:

  • Personal connection:  The speaker should have a personal rapport with the retiree so they can give genuine anecdotes and heartfelt sentiments.
  • Knowledge of career journey:  Choose someone familiar with the retiree's professional journey, milestones, and achievements.
  • Eloquence:  While personal connection is vital, the speaker should also be comfortable speaking in public and conveying emotions effectively.
  • Representative of the team:  Ideally, the speaker should represent the sentiments of the larger group, ensuring the speech resonates with everyone present.
  • Avoid last-minute choices:  Plan ahead so the speaker has ample time to prepare. Don't leave the selection of the speaker to the last moment.

Focus on the honoree

what to say during retirement speech

The retiree is the star of the show, and the speech should reflect that. Here's how to keep the spotlight on them:

  • Highlight achievements:  Discuss significant milestones, projects, and contributions made by the retiree.
  • Share personal anecdotes:  Personal stories add warmth and depth. Share moments that capture the retiree's essence.
  • Avoid generic praises:  Be specific in your compliments. Instead of saying "You're great," mention what makes them so.
  • Incorporate feedback: Talk to colleagues and gather shared memories or sentiments to include.
  • Acknowledge growth:  Discuss how the retiree evolved over the years, both professionally and personally.

Keep it short — but not too short

Timing is everything when you’re giving a retirement speech. You’ve got to strike the perfect balance. Here's how to ensure your speech is just right:

  • Set a time limit:  Aim for 5-10 minutes. It's long enough to cover key points but short enough to retain attention.
  • Practice out loud:  This helps in gauging the length and making necessary edits.
  • Prioritize content:  Focus on the most impactful memories and achievements.
  • Engage the audience:  A well-timed speech ensures the audience remains engaged throughout.
  • Leave room for applause:  Factor in moments of applause or reactions, ensuring the speech doesn't feel rushed.

Carefully use humor

Humor can elevate a speech, but you’ve got to tread carefully. Here's how to infuse humor without overstepping:

  • Know your audience:  Choose jokes that are appropriate for the audience's sensibilities.
  • Avoid sensitive topics:  Steer clear of controversial or potentially hurtful subjects.
  • Test your joke:  Share them with a trusted colleague to gauge their reaction.
  • Use light self-deprecation:  It's a safe way to add humor without offending anyone.
  • Stay authentic:  Forced humor can fall flat. If humor isn't your strength, focus on warmth and sincerity.

Preparation is key to delivering a confident and heartfelt speech. You can thoroughly prepare in several ways:

  • Write an outline:  Organize your thoughts and structure your speech with a clear beginning, middle, and end.
  • Rehearse: Practice multiple times to get the flow right and make necessary tweaks.
  • Seek feedback:  Share your speech with a trusted colleague or friend for feedback.
  • Visualize the day:  Imagine yourself giving the speech. This mental rehearsal can boost confidence.
  • Stay calm and composed:  Remember, it's a celebration. Take deep breaths, stay relaxed, and speak from the heart.

As the retiree

If you’re a retiree, there are several ways to create a great speech:

  • Reflect on your journey: Talk about where you started, the highs and lows along the way, and where you feel like you've "landed" at the end of your career.
  • Acknowledge and appreciate: There are a lot of people who have helped you on your way. Take the time to acknowledge and thank them for their role in your life and career.
  • Share life lessons: What lessons have you learned that you want to pass along? Share these during your speech.

As a trusted coworker or superior

What about if you’re a coworker or superior? Focus on highlighting the retiree’s impact, sharing personal anecdotes, and offering well wishes for the future.

You might know the person pretty well, but it's always important to make sure you've got the right information on hand. Make sure to gather information and fact check for items like:

  • How long the retiree has been in the industry.
  • How long the retiree has worked for the company.
  • The previous positions the person held within the company.
  • The contributions they made while working.
  • Awards the person who is retiring may have received in the course of their career.
  • Pertinent information about the retiree's work history.

what to say during retirement speech

Here are some snippets of retirement speeches that you can amend for your situation. Remember, it is important to speak from the heart. Your audience will appreciate a more authentic speech rather than a stoic message.

For a friend

When Max began work at our firm, gas was $1.19 a gallon, and Ronald Reagan had just been elected president. Kramer vs. Kramer won Best Picture, and “Call Me” by Blondie was playing on the radio. All that to say, she’s been a fixture here for quite a while. To say that Max knows every aspect of this business like the back of her hand is not an understatement.

I remember the first time I walked into this office. Maxine was the first person to greet me. She gave me advice on where to park, showed me how to fill out a PTO request, and answered all my questions during lunch. She introduced me to everyone on staff.  And she made sure I knew all the ins and outs of working for Brighton Industries. This wasn’t part of her job, but she did it anyway. She made every new person in the office feel welcome.

Every office has a “go-to” person. The person who knows how to handle the difficult client. The person who knows how to hire the right person for the job. The person who knows how to load new toner in the printer. Max has been our go-to person for 25 years, and she leaves big shoes to fill.

One of Max’s best qualities is her ability to stay calm in the middle of the storm. Do you remember the great Jones Company fiasco in 2004? While the rest of us panicked about the loss of our biggest client, she went out and found us a new client. And that client brought in twice as much revenue as the client we lost!

We know that Maxine is looking forward to retirement. She told me she is planning to spend more time quilting. And she’ll be hanging out with her daughter and three adorable grandbabies. You’ve all seen pictures of her grandkids, right? Of course, you have! We are all so excited to wish Maxine well as she starts checking off items from her retirement bucket list . 

For your retirement

Thank you so much for all the kind words. I have loved working at Brighton Industries. I have had some of the best times in my life at this office. I have made lifelong friends who I treasure. Thank you for being the best coworkers and friends a woman could ask for.

There are a few things that I won’t miss about working for Brighton. I won’t miss filling out the TPS reports. I won’t miss the late nights that came with tax season. I won’t miss how cold the office is in the summer, or how hot the office is during the winter. But I will miss all of you. You have made this office feel like a second home to me. Thank you.

I discovered what amazing coworkers I had when I lost my mom to cancer three years ago. You all stepped in so willingly to pick up the slack when I couldn’t perform my regular duties. Not only did you take on more responsibilities in the office, but many of you also provided meals to my family. It meant the world to me, knowing that I could depend upon you all for help.

For a coworker

I have witnessed many people come and go throughout my years here at Smith and Smith. However, I am sadder today than ever, knowing Michelle won’t be stepping out of our elevator Monday morning. 

Even though Michelle has only worked at Smith and Smith for the last eight years, she has contributed much to our organization. For example, she made our network more secure by spearheading our cybersecurity efforts. But she also had a knack for streamlining processes, allowing us to work more efficiently. Before Michelle began working here, we worked a great deal of overtime. The reason we are now able to leave at 5 p.m. is because of the processes she began.

On a personal level, Michelle was always a delight to be around. She’s not one to complain – even when we had to put in extra hours last winter. Michelle was always the first to jump in to help when someone was sick or had a personal emergency. We all have stories of how Michelle helped us during a pinch. 

Michele – I will remember you with fondness. I am excited that you will have more time to spend with your beautiful grandchildren, and I wish you every happiness in the future. 

I was honored to be asked to speak about Samuel this afternoon. After working for Samuel for over 20 years, I have a lot to say. Don’t worry, Sam. Most of it is good.

First, I would like to tell you some things about Sam’s background that you might not have been aware of. Sam has a degree in Chemistry from Perdue. Even though he was prepared to spend his life in a lab setting, he sat next to a stranger on the subway one day while going to a job interview. He spoke with this person and learned he was starting a new shoe company and looking for someone to oversee the distribution. Of course, that stranger was Frank Jones, our illustrious founder. And that was why Sam never used his chemistry degree.

The second thing you may not know about Sam is that he is a violin virtuoso. I didn’t know this about him until a few years ago when Sam and his wife had me over for dinner. I saw a music stand in the corner of his living room and asked about it. Sam’s wife encouraged him to play for me. Needless to say, I was dumbfounded by his talent. 

For a subordinate

I know I have the reputation of being a bit of a perfectionist. In fact, before Lucy was hired four years ago, I had been through twelve assistants in thirteen years. That’s one reason why today is such a sad day for me. While I am ecstatic that Lucy will have more time to devote to her novel, I am sorry that I have to find someone to replace her. It’s not going to be easy.

Lucy is amazingly gifted at reading my mind. In fact, it’s a little scary how she seems to know what I want before I ask for it. This ESP, or whatever gift she has been blessed with, has saved me on more than one occasion. I’ll never forget how she interrupted me during a meeting with Mrs. Franklin to remind me of something that saved that account. She also kept me out of the doghouse at home by purchasing perfect Mother’s Day and anniversary gifts for Louise.

While I certainly will miss Lucy’s contributions to our workplace, I am most sad for our clients. Everyone loves Lucy, and they are as heartbroken as I am that she is retiring.  

For a teacher

Throughout Mrs. Anderson’s career, she has taught approximately 2,300 students. That means she has graded more than 18,000 essays, 2,300 research papers, and more book reports than you can imagine. Incredibly, her purple flair ink pen isn’t attached permanently to her hand with all of the grading she has done over the years.

But more important than the essays and book reports are the relationships she has formed with her students over the last three decades. She has comforted students who have lost family members and helped kids find jobs. She has written letters of recommendation for scholarships and advised many in their careers. 

On top of her work as an English teacher, she has overseen the publication of the yearbook and newspaper, traveled with students to Europe, ran the concession stand at football games, coached the cheerleaders, and sat through negotiations each year on behalf of the teachers’ union. 

Mrs. Anderson – you deserve a break. We hope you can sleep in each morning, stay up late reading novels each night, and travel the globe without the fear of losing a kid. Congratulations on your retirement!

For a family member

It’s hard to imagine our Dad without a job. This place has been a part of his routine for so long that he may show up on Monday simply out of habit. In fact, we may have to put a sign on the back of his front door reminding him to stay at home. 

And Dad loved every minute of it. Unlike most people, Dad never complained about his job. In fact, when we prayed as a family before each meal, Dad often expressed thanks for this company and his job. 

But, we are thankful that he can now stay home. He’s worked hard for a long time and deserves a break. But don’t worry – he won’t be sitting around for long. My siblings and I all have lists of home repairs that only Dad can do. We’ve also scheduled a few fishing trips over the next several months.

Thank you for inviting my siblings and me to this retirement party. It’s been a lovely day. I only wish Mom could have survived long enough to see Dad retire. She was always so proud of Dad for everything he accomplished. I’m sure she is smiling down on us right now. 

Funny retirement speech

Christopher has many gifts and talents. And he has contributed a lot to our company over the years. He’s been the top salesperson for twenty-three out of the twenty-five years he has worked here. He has worked hard to streamline our processes to work smarter, not harder. He has also been a leader in our industry by representing us in front of the state legislature. 

Even though I can easily provide you with a long list of awards and accolades, he will forever be known in this office as the person who was always misplacing his stuff. We found his keys by the copier, his wallet next to the giant fern in the back room, his raincoat on Mitch’s desk, and his water bottles – everywhere. It’s always been a mystery to everyone how someone absentminded can perform in a high-pressure job so well. 

So, we have purchased a tile tracker system to help you keep track of all your stuff on behalf of your retirement. Now that you won’t have an entire staff of people keeping track of your personal belongings, we think this might help. It may also keep Louise from killing you during your first week at home.

Retirement: The Next Stage in Life

As we stand on the precipice of one chapter ending and another beginning, we must recognize and celebrate the journey that brought us here. Whether you’re the one stepping into the golden years of retirement or honoring a colleague making that leap, words are powerful. A heartfelt speech can encapsulate years of dedication, camaraderie, and growth.

Retirement isn’t just about saying goodbye to a job. It’s about acknowledging the passion, identity, and pride that one has in their career. For many, their career is a significant part of their life’s narrative. 

As you craft your speech or pen down your thoughts, remember to celebrate this dedication. It might take a bit more effort, but the impact of genuine appreciation will resonate deeply, marking a memorable transition into the next exciting phase of life.


  • Condolences & What To Say

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About To Retire And Need To Give A Speech? 5 Retirement Speech Ideas With Examples

After a lifetime of hard work and dedication, retirement is a big milestone in life. 

It’s a time to reflect on all the amazing moments experienced over the years and celebrate the future ahead. 

As such, it often requires giving a retirement speech to acknowledge the occasion and those with whom you’ve worked for many years.

Knowing what to say when passing the baton and sharing final words of wisdom is challenging.

Should you be funny or serious?

Go into detail or keep it brief?

Look no further if you’re stuck and need some ideas or inspiration. 

We’ve put together a few examples of retirement speeches from the retiree’s perspective (and from an employee’s, as well) to help ignite your creativity.

How to Outline Your Retirement Speech

Tips for writing your retirement speech, 1. farewell type of retirement speech, 2. short retirement speech, 3. funny retirement speech, 4. heartfelt/serious retirement speech, 5. retirement speech for an employee, final thoughts.

Like any other written work, your retirement speech should have a narrative that walks through the main points clearly and concisely.

To ensure your address resonates with your audience, you should outline it properly before delivering it.

When creating an outline for your retirement speech, make sure to consider the following steps:

  • Start with a strong opening statement: Begin your speech by introducing yourself and setting the tone for what’s to come. Starting with humor can break the ice.
  • Mention and thank everyone present: Take time to thank those who have been a part of your professional journey, such as managers, colleagues, family members, and mentors.
  • Share memorable moments: Reflect on your career highlights and share your favorite memories with the audience.
  • End with inspiring words: Leave your audience with a few words of wisdom encapsulating everything you’ve said.
  • Edit and practice: Once you’ve completed your outline, edit it as many times as needed to make sure there are no errors or unnecessary information.
  • Rehearse it out loud: Also, practice delivering your speech aloud, so you know exactly how it will sound when the time comes.

By crafting an effective outline and following these steps, you can ensure that your retirement speech is well-received by everyone in attendance. It may take a few drafts to get it right, but the effort will be worth it.

As you bid farewell to your work life and embark on a new chapter in life, a well-written speech will serve as an inspiring reminder of all that has been accomplished.

  • Decide on the tone of speech: Will it be a formal address or light-hearted? Will it start out with one tone and end with another? These decisions can help guide the story you tell.
  • Set the context: Choose a theme or story to open your speech so your audience can relate and follow along.
  • Establish a timeline: How long have you worked at the organization? What are some of your most memorable moments? Who did you work with in different eras? Answering these questions can help you craft an engaging narrative.
  • Offer gratitude: You didn’t make it to retirement on your own, and it’s essential to recognize the people who played a role in your journey. Be sure to thank them accordingly.
  • Keep it short: Keep your speech under ten minutes if possible, as this will keep your audience attentive and engaged. If any sentences don’t add value to the story, remove them. It should be easy to read out loud and follow along.
  • Identify key takeaways: What is one thing that everyone should leave with? What lessons have you learned in your time there that can help shape the future of the organization?
  • Close on an uplifting note: Your retirement speech should close with something inspiring and sincere – perhaps a quote or a personal expression of thanks. Sometimes humor is a great way to end on a high note and return to a more casual tone.

Use these pointers as a checklist that you can refer to when putting together your retirement speech.

With careful consideration, you’ll be able to deliver a heartfelt address that celebrates all the successes and memories of your time at the organization.

5 Retirement Speech Ideas with Examples

If you need help getting started with your goodbyes, here are some examples of retirement speeches by the retiree (and an employee speech) to help you craft the perfect address:

This type of speech is the most common and is often sentimental. It’s about saying goodbye while thanking everyone who helped you along the way.

It should help the audience understand what this change means for you while keeping them curious about where your next chapter will take you.

Example Farewell Retirement Speech:

It’s difficult to put into words just how much this moment means to me. After XX years of dedicated service, I’m finally ready to take on my next journey.

woman laughing in office retirement speech ideas

When I first started my career, I never imagined all the wonderful memories and relationships that would come with it. Every day has been rewarding in its own way, but today is an especially bittersweet occasion as I bid farewell to all my colleagues and look ahead to the future.

I think about all the fantastic people I’ve met who have helped me along the way – from supervisors who encouraged me through challenging times to mentors who gave wise advice when the going got tough. These relationships made coming to work each day a pleasure rather than a chore.

The biggest blessing must be my meaningful collaborations with some of my favorite coworkers over the years. We spent countless hours brainstorming ideas and building projects together, often coming up with solutions for problems we thought would never be solved. The sense of satisfaction and accomplishment was always worth it in the end!

Although I won’t be in this office anymore, there are still plenty of contributions yet to come from me and those like me who will carry this legacy forward into our respective futures. With every challenge you face, there will always be someone new at your side willing to help you move mountains if you need it.

So allow me to leave you with a few pieces of advice: Believe in yourself but never be afraid of asking questions and learning more; cherish every relationship you come across; and remember that hard work pays off even when you don’t see it right away! With that said, I will miss all of you and wish you and (name of company) continued success. 

Many retirement speeches happen in spaces where we need to be brief, such as a Zoom meeting or other virtual space.

A short retirement speech will allow you to be concise and still convey your message. It can also make for an excellent written piece for a retirement card or email greeting.

Example Short Retirement Speech:

Today, I have many mixed emotions. I bid farewell to this great organization that’s played such a meaningful role in my life. And I’m saying goodbye to the most supportive and incredible colleagues.

I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve enjoyed here to make a difference by working diligently on staff development initiatives, fundraising efforts, and day-to-day operations. Our amazing team accomplished so much in the years I’ve been here, and I’m proud to have played a part in our success.

My gratitude extends beyond words as I am leaving behind something that’s defined me for over XX years. But I also look forward to embracing new challenges and experiences on my new journey ahead.

I will miss all of you tremendously and hope to stay in touch to see how everyone is doing. Thank you all for your encouragement and friendship – I will never forget it.

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Being light-hearted at the end of one’s career is a graceful but uplifting way to bid farewell. If you choose to make a funny retirement speech, be sure it is not offensive and still conveys your genuine appreciation for your colleagues.

Funny Retirement Speech Example:

I’m sure you’re as excited as I am to see me take that final walk down the corridor, knowing it’s the last time you’ll have to hear one of my speeches. But please don’t envy my new freedom. I may be saying goodbye to my boss here, but it seems I’m now a full-time employee of my spouse, and I’ve heard he/she runs a tight ship.

couple in a party retirement speech ideas

Projects around the home that I’ve masterfully avoided with “But I’ve gotta work” excuses are already on a list taped to the fridge. It will feel a lot like the first job I had in high school, fixing up old appliances and cleaning bathrooms, but with even less pay!

Oh wait, maybe I’m not retiring.

On a more genuine note, I will certainly miss all of you and our great work here. But also, it will be exciting to transition into a less demanding lifestyle. I’m excited to travel, catch up with old friends, and find a few part-time projects where I can share my hundred years of experience.

It’s been an amazing journey here at this company, and I am grateful for everyone who helped me grow while putting up with my occasional growing pains. Not unlike a “colorful” family, we’ve had our share of laughs and disagreements, but ultimately we have always come together to get the job done.

Thank you for your camaraderie and support throughout these years.  Cheers!

A heartfelt or serious retirement speech is perfect for those who have put their life and heart into their career.

This type of retirement speech allows for more time as you pour your heart out and express how the people around you have positively impacted your life over the years.

Heartfelt/Serious Retirement Speech Example:

Today I stand here proud, humbled, and emotional – all at once. It’s been an honor and a privilege to have been part of this organization for the last XX years. When I first began here, I started at the bottom, yet I was deeply hopeful that I could use my passion and hard work to make a difference.

Little did I know that while accomplishing the tasks at hand, I was also gaining something much more valuable – friendships with people who have become like family to me. From you, I’ve learned invaluable lessons about life and work; but most importantly, I’ve learned that relationships are what matter in the end. 

They are the life force of who we are as an organization, and without the strong support I’ve received from my colleagues, it would have been impossible for me to stand here today.

But life goes on – and while I’m grateful for the wonderful memories with all of you, I also look forward to new challenges ahead. Retirement offers a whole new set of opportunities to explore, and I am excited to take them all on with the same passion and enthusiasm I had when I started working here.

My next chapter may involve a learning curve, but I am confident that the life skills I’ve learned here will help me in whatever I pursue going forward.

And most importantly, I want to continue providing opportunities to the next generation, so they have the support I was lucky enough to receive. As I enter the legacy phase of my life, I do so humbly and gratefully, taking the invaluable lessons I have learned here and sharing them with others.

Thank you all for everything. It truly has been an incredible journey, and I will miss all of you more than I can express.

If a notable team member is retiring, it’s an excellent opportunity to express gratitude for their contributions and commitment while highlighting hard work and excellence for other employees.

The following sample speech is perfect for any employee who has dedicated years of service to the company.

Retirement Speech for An Employee Example:

Good afternoon, everyone. Today, we celebrate and recognize someone exceptional who has made an invaluable difference in our organization. As you all know, [name] is retiring at the end of the month and moving on to the next, less stressful chapter of life.

[Name] has worked at this company for [number] years and has been an integral part of its success. During their time here, they have gone above and beyond in every task and project they were involved with, delivering results consistently and serving as a role model of integrity and professionalism for all of us. Some notable accomplishments during their tenure here include:

  • Accomplishment 1
  • Accomplishment 2
  • Accomplishment 3

We will sorely miss their hard work, loyalty, and enthusiasm. It’s rare to find an employee so dedicated and engaged, and frankly, I don’t know what we will do without them. 

officemates celebrating retirement speech ideas

Most of all, I’ll miss their bright and cheerful demeanor, always lifting the spirits of everyone around them with a smile and kind words. Connecting with others in a relatable way is the key to building relationships and fostering a positive work environment, and [name] was a master at that, among other things.

So please join me in wishing [name] the best as they enter this exciting next phase of life. We are all blessed to have had the privilege of working alongside such an incredible person.

Thank you for everything you have done for us!

Like most people, you may find crafting a retirement speech daunting. But if you follow the above guidelines and model after some of the example speeches, you can deliver a thoughtful talk filled with warmth, humor, and gratitude.

So begin your celebration by expressing your heartfelt appreciation to your team and excitement for the next phase of life. You deserve it!

Retirement day is around the corner and you haven't figured out what to say. Check these retirement speech ideas you can get inspiration from.

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How to Give a Retirement Speech: Making Your Farewell Count

  • The Speaker Lab
  • February 14, 2024

Table of Contents

Picture this: You’re about to deliver your retirement speech. It’s more than just words; it’s the capstone of your career. But how do you wrap up years of dedication in a few minutes? You’ve got tales to tell and thanks to give—how can they all fit?

Believe it or not, there’s a way to craft that perfect goodbye, one that leaves everyone not just listening but feeling every word. Stay tuned as we unpack how to turn memories into narratives, sprinkle in life lessons, personalize for impact, nail the delivery tone right on target, and even handle emotions that come uninvited.

Crafting the Perfect Retirement Speech

Standing at the podium, you might find your career flashing before your eyes. Crafting a retirement speech that captures years of experiences while engaging colleagues is no small feat. But fear not, we’re going to dissect how to create a memorable address that will resonate.

The Art of Storytelling in Retirement Speeches

Storytelling isn’t just for kids around a campfire. It’s the secret sauce that can turn your retirement speech from a mere summary into an epic tale that captures hearts and minds. By weaving narratives throughout your speech, you not only entertain your audience, but also connect with them on a deeper level.

When crafting these narratives , simplicity reigns supreme. A well-told story beats elaborate vocabulary any day because what sticks with people is how you made them feel, not the words you chose.

Start by selecting anecdotes that showcase challenges overcome, moments of camaraderie, or even light-hearted office blunders. Use memories that involve the listeners, so they can see their role in your journey and feel part of something larger than day-to-day work.

Let’s say there was a project that nearly went off the rails but became a triumph—a classic underdog story. Share that. Or maybe recall those little day-to-day victories with humor because everyone loves a good laugh, especially when they can nod along as they remember your references. These shared experiences forge stronger bonds than any list of achievements could.

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Key Themes to Include in a Retirement Speech

Think of your retirement speech as the capstone to a grand building you’ve been constructing over years of hard work. Let’s dig into some themes that suit such a momentous occasion.

Celebrating Milestones and Achievements

The meat and potatoes of any good retirement speech are the milestones. Reflect on what you’ve accomplished, emphasizing gratitude as you do so. Avoid bragging as you give credit where credit is due, both to yourself and those who helped along the way. Acknowledging shared successes fosters a sense of unity and could boost morale long after you leave.

The Power of Relationships

Your colleagues weren’t just coworkers but comrades-in-arms against every challenge faced together. Highlighting these relationships gives warmth to your farewell and lets others know how much their camaraderie meant. This theme also allows the opportunity for humorous stories, another great way to engage your audience.

Growth and Change over Time

You’re not leaving your job as the same person who walked through those doors however many moons ago. You’ve grown, changed, evolved. Sharing this personal journey helps others see change as positive and inevitable rather than something scary or negative.

“I started here thinking I knew everything about sales,” could be an opening line before detailing lessons learned that shaped both career and character.

Vision for the Future

Inspire confidence in your colleagues by painting vivid images of continued success. Let your words be the legacy that inspires others to climb higher, even when you’re not around. They’ll stand as a testament to the idea that progress isn’t about reaching a final destination—it’s an ongoing journey of evolution and improvement.

Tips for Personalizing Your Retirement Speech

When it’s time to hang up your hat, a retirement speech is in order. This final address should be as unique and as authentically you as possible. But how do you pour decades into minutes? Let’s look at some strategies.

Including Anecdotes in Your Retirement Speech

Your career wasn’t all spreadsheets or sales pitches—it was packed with moments unique to you. So light up your speech with anecdotes only you can tell. Maybe it was the time you turned an office blunder into a win or that company retreat that still gets laughs at reunions. These are nuggets of gold in personalizing your message.

Anecdotes work because they’re windows into who we are beyond our titles. They show vulnerability, humor, and humanity. People remember stories better than facts anyway.

Finding Your Speech’s Signature Style

A great chef has their secret sauce—what’s yours when speaking? Think about phrases or words synonymous with you. Perhaps “unconventional wisdom” rings true for your approach or “straight talk” sums up how colleagues describe those pep talks by the coffee machine?

Carve out your style within this framework, You want folks nodding along thinking “That’s so them.”

The Delicate Dance of Humor

Humor disarms an audience like nothing else but balancing professionalism while cracking jokes takes finesse. Consider working in lighthearted quips related to common experiences everyone shares at work—the never-ending quest for inbox zero or conference call woes.

Pulling off humor requires reading the room correctly—a well-timed joke lands perfectly but always be prepared to pivot if not all faces in the crowd are smiling back.

While leaving behind familiar halls may tug at heartstrings, infusing personality makes sure those listening get one last memorable glimpse of who you were within these walls—and isn’t legacy what we’re really talking about here?

The Importance of Tone and Delivery in Your Retirement Speech

Think about your favorite comedian’s delivery. They could read the phone book, and you’d still crack up, right? That’s because how you say something is often as potent as what you’re saying—especially when it comes to retirement speeches.

A speech can be full of great stories and shout-outs, but if delivered in monotone or without feeling, it might fall flat. It’s not just words that convey your message; it’s the laughter in your voice when recalling a funny moment or the slight quiver during a heartfelt thank-you. These nuances breathe life into your speech.

To truly connect with listeners, let them hear who you are through variations in pitch, strategic pauses for effect, and even appropriate silence—a powerful tool for letting important points sink in. Don’t underestimate body language either. Standing tall with open gestures invites audience engagement more than crossed arms ever will.

Mastering Vocal Variety

Vocal variety isn’t about being loud—it’s about using volume smartly to emphasize key points or to draw people back if their attention has wandered off (admit it: we’ve all been there). The ebb and flow of volume keep ears perked and minds focused on what matters most: your experience coming alive through anecdotes only you can tell.

Sometimes whispering can have more impact than shouting ever could. It has the power to draw everyone closer like they’re part of an inside joke or a secret success story from behind-the-scenes battles won together at work. And don’t forget pace; speeding up through exciting achievements builds momentum while slowing down adds gravity to moments that shaped careers—including yours.

Leveraging Pauses like a Pro

We’ve all seen speakers who never seem to take a breath between sentences, but audiences actually need those breaks just as much as lungs do. Strategic pauses give folks time to digest information before moving onto the next big idea. Whether it’s the brief pause at the end of a sentence or a longer pause given after stating your main point, they’ll appreciate this courtesy (and so will their brains).

In addition, pausing, like after a shout-out to your team, subtly emphasizes thanks in a way that words alone can’t match. It’s powerful.

Visual Aids and Props in Retirement Speeches

Picture this: you’re at a retirement party, the mood is nostalgic, and then out comes a prop that sends everyone into an uproar of laughter. That’s the power visual aids and props can have when used effectively in retirement speeches. But it’s not just about getting laughs; these tools can underscore your message with memorable impact.

Choosing the Right Visuals

Selecting visuals or props for your speech should be like picking the right spice for a meal—it must complement, not overpower. If you’ve worked decades at an architecture firm, why not show off a miniature model of your first project? It connects to your journey personally and professionally.

A wise guideline is to contemplate if it contributes worth or only empty show. Your audience will appreciate something tangible that represents your legacy—like showcasing awards or photos from significant company milestones—but they’ll see through anything that feels gimmicky.

Making Technology Work for You

In today’s digital age, technology offers endless possibilities to enhance presentations with slideshows showcasing career highlights. Imagine projecting images that span across eras while sharing anecdotes—that kind of storytelling sticks with people long after they leave.

But remember, tech snafus happen even to seasoned pros. Always have backups ready and do run-throughs beforehand so you’re comfortable no matter what happens on stage.

The Power of Simplicity

Sometimes less really is more. A single item—a first employee badge or perhaps a classic product prototype—can symbolize growth without overwhelming listeners. The beauty lies in simplicity allowing stories told during one’s farewell moment shine brighter than any elaborate setup could ever hope to achieve.

Tying everything back to heartfelt narratives ensures those memories linger well beyond the confines of the event venue—and isn’t leaving behind enduring impressions what every retiree wishes for?

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Preparing for the Unexpected During Your Speech

Even the most carefully crafted plans can still go wrong, especially when it comes to giving a presentation in public. You’ve rehearsed your retirement speech, you know it by heart, but life loves a curveball. When an unexpected moment arises during your address, stay cool and your audience will follow suit.

Navigating Emotional Surprises

Sometimes emotions catch us off guard. One minute you’re sharing a lighthearted story, the next, you’re choked up reminiscing about good times gone by. If tears or laughter come knocking unexpectedly, breathe deep and pause if needed. Remember that showing genuine emotion can be powerful; it connects you with listeners because they see themselves in your vulnerability.

Tackling Technical Troubles

A slideshow goes blank or a microphone starts giving feedback—it happens. The key here is not just having a backup plan but also being able to transition smoothly into Plan B as though it were part of the show all along.

Ditching dependency on tech means knowing which parts of your speech pack enough punch on their own—the stories and jokes that need no visual aids yet leave lasting impressions are goldmines for such occasions.

The Audience Factor

An interruption from an enthusiastic retiree-to-be? A question thrown from left field? These aren’t disruptions—they’re interactions. They offer unique chances to engage directly with individuals who share this milestone moment with you. Here’s how we suggest weaving those interactions back into the narrative flow:

  • Show appreciation: Thank them for contributing,
  • Pivot gracefully: Bridge their input back to what you were discussing,
  • Leverage humor: Lighten any tension while acknowledging their participation.

Examples of Memorable Retirement Speeches

Taking the stage to give a retirement speech can feel like stepping into the spotlight for one final bow. It’s your opportunity to share reflections, motivate, and leave a lasting impression on those you have worked with. One shining example is Lou Gehrig’s farewell at Yankee Stadium in 1939; his poignant words captured hearts as he called himself “the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.” The power of this statement lies not just in its optimism but also in its vulnerability during what was clearly a personal trial.

A more recent memory brings us to Steve Jobs’ address at Stanford University’s commencement in 2005. He urged graduates to stay hungry and foolish—a simple yet profound message that resonated globally because it came from someone who lived those words every day. By sharing his own story about love, loss, and redemption, Jobs left us with life lessons beyond career success or technological innovation.

The impact of such speeches often lies in their authenticity—how well they capture an individual’s essence while striking universal chords with listeners. To craft something memorable, look beyond mere accomplishments. Instead, tell stories that reveal character, share insights gleaned over years, maybe even sprinkle some humor if it suits you—and always speak straight from the heart because sincerity speaks volumes.

Rehearsing Your Retirement Speech

You know the saying, “practice makes perfect,” right? Well, it couldn’t be more true when it comes to nailing your retirement speech.

Practice your speech to perfect the delivery, just as a musician tunes their instrument before a concert. Imagine yourself as a musician tuning an instrument before a concert; every note matters for the performance of a lifetime. When rehearsing your retirement speech, pay attention not only to what you’re saying but also how you’re saying it—your pacing, pauses, and inflection can change everything.

If you get nervous just thinking about speaking in front of people, take a look at these tips on how to overcome your fears . We’ll give you effective strategies for public speaking success—even if all eyes are on you during one of life’s big moments.

FAQs on How to Give A Retirement Speech

What should a retiree say at a retirement party.

Thank the team, share highlights, and express hope for the future. Keep it heartfelt yet concise.

What do you say in a farewell speech?

Acknowledge good times, give thanks to colleagues, and wish well for everyone’s path ahead.

How do you emotionally transition to retirement?

Create new routines, pursue passions and stay connected with former coworkers to ease into this chapter.

How do you start a retirement speech for someone else?

Kick off with an anecdote or praise that captures their essence and contributions they’ve made.

Stand tall as you craft your retirement speech. Capture hearts with stories and gratitude, maintaining a personal yet professional tone throughout. Perfecting tone and delivery matters just as much as words do.

Consider visuals—they can turn a good speech into an unforgettable one—but be prepared for those unexpected technical difficulties or emotions.

For inspiration, leverage lessons from great speeches past. And practice? It’s non-negotiable for delivering with confidence.

Your farewell marks a new beginning. Let it echo with warmth, wisdom, and wit.

  • Last Updated: February 29, 2024

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Retirement Speech Examples and Ideas That Get It Right

As a fomer educator and mom blogger who's a mother of four, Kristin shares helpful tips and advice on a variety of topics.

Learn about our Editorial Policy .

It is customary for a person retiring to give a speech, either at a retirement celebration or at a final meeting in the workplace. If writing a retirement speech isn't really in your wheelhouse, don't worry! It's easy to write a retirement speech when you create some focus for your words.

Original Sample Speeches for Retirees

If you need a little more guidance on writing your retirement speech, check out these original sample speeches. They might help inspire your own speech or might be appropriate to use with a little customizing. For help with downloading or printing these sample speeches, refer to the Guide for Adobe Printables .

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A Grateful Retirement Speech

Over the last few decades, you have probably spent more time with your co-workers than you have with your own family! For better and sometimes for worse, your co-workers have been a huge part of your career and your life. They have celebrated weddings, babies, and promotions with you. They likely comforted you in times of loss and were there when you hit a rough patch on the job. Use your retirement speech to pay homage to the people you worked with and the family and friends who supported you throughout your working years. This speech format focuses on gratitude and acknowledges the speaker's coworkers and family.

A Serious Retirement Speech

Some workplaces are fun and relaxed environments to spend your days, and others have a far more serious tone to them. If your workplace does not appreciate humor, or if you feel more reflective than funny about this milestone, a serious speech can be a good way to close this chapter of your life. As long as a serious speech is heartfelt and doesn't feel cold or removed, it will surely do the trick.

A Funny Retirement Speech

Some retirees want to go out with a bang! These people need to nail a speech that engages the audience with humor and brings smiles to faces surrounding him/her. During the final moments of your career, remind your colleagues, superiors, friends, and family why you were so much to be around for all those years and how much they will miss your banter around the watercooler. This speech is meant to prompt laughter while poking a little fun at the people who must return to work on the next workday. When creating a humorous speech, be sure to balance jokes and jests with grace and class. Humor speeches should never tread into the waters of offensive.

Related: Funny Retirement Quotes for a Hilarious Send-Off

Giving a Retirement Speech for an Employee

If you are the head honcho at work and you have an employee retiring, you will want to send him/her off with a well-thought-out, carefully planned speech.

Tailor the Speech to the Employee

The person who is retiring has given the company you both work for decades of his/her life. Show the retiree respect by handcrafting a speech specific to them. If they are full of personality, jokes and have a fun-loving spirit, then write up a funny speech full of hilarious memories and inside jokes. If they are better known for their serious side and hard work ethic, play on those qualities, incorporating them into a more serious speech.

Retirement Speech Etiquette

When you're writing your retirement speech, keep in mind the culture of your workplace. While you want to inject your own personality into it, you don't want to deliver a speech that will make other people uncomfortable. Follow a few key etiquette tips to ensure that you stay in your lane and don't veer too far off course during your speech.

Stay Positive

A retirement speech is not the appropriate opportunity in which to air your grievances. Even if you're leaving a workplace that you largely considered toxic, filled with co-workers who might benefit from anger management training , you should focus on the positive. Do your best to drum up the good and steer clear of the bad. Thank your co-workers for their passion or comment on the promptness that the company functions under.

Time the Speech Accordingly

How long your speech runs largely depends on the venue and tone of the event. If you're standing up in a meeting to say farewell, you should take less time than if you're giving your speech at a formal celebration intended only to celebrate your retirement. Ask the event coordinator how much time they set aside for your speech and stick to the time allotted. If no guidance is given otherwise, for a formal celebration, aim for a speech lasting under 10 minutes. For a quick stand up in a meeting, you should not exceed three minutes.

Read the Room

Consider your audience. Your now-former colleagues are likely comprised of older and younger people who are now all sitting in the venue awaiting your words. When you deliver your speech, regardless of the speech style and tone, be sure to address those who have been with you for many years, as well as newcomers to the workplace. Pay homage to everyone surrounding you and make sure all feel like a part of your journey.

Be Grateful

Thank all the people who helped you along the way in your career, including those outside the workplace such as mentors, family, and close friends. It's important to thank the people within your workplace responsible for pulling together your retirement celebration. Before drafting a retirement speech, draft a list of must-mention people. If you have many people to include in your tribute, consider grouping some folks into a department. For example, you could say, "I could not have made it through my days without the dedication and assistance of the ______ department."

There is nothing wrong with asking a trusted person to review your speech before you finalize it. They may come up with ideas or insights you didn't think of. Allow a few people to read through your speech or listen to you read through a draft of your speech before finalizing it. Take their thoughts into consideration. You don't have to change up your whole speech on account of others, but ponder their suggestions in the very least.

Delivery Tips

Speaking in public can be difficult for people unaccustomed to it, but there are steps you can take to ease your anxiety.

Dress and Dazzle

Put on something clean and pressed, give yourself a shave or freshen up your nails and makeup. You don't have to look like a supermodel, but you do want to put a bit of thought and consideration into your look on your retirement day. For many in the audience, this is the last time they will see you, so give them a bit of a show. Sometimes when people put on their best, they feel more confident and ready to take on challenges that lie ahead.

Practice Beforehand

Nobody expects you to memorize your speech, but you should familiarize yourself with your completed speech before you try to deliver it to a crowd. Reading it aloud beforehand may reveal portions that will make you emotional, and you don't want to get caught off-guard by getting choked up. Knowing that you are not going into a cold read can help reduce your anxiety levels on your big day.

Breathe Deeply to Calm Down

As you wait to deliver your speech, take slow, deep breaths to help relieve your nervousness. Envision your lungs and balloons and fill them with air, then forcefully exhale. This type of breathing can help calm you.

Have Water Handy

The body reacts to stress in different ways. If you feel anxious about delivering a speech in front of people, your throat might tighten up. A cup of water by your side allows you to take a moment, clear your throat, and continue with the speech. Additionally, it's a good idea to have tissues or a handkerchief nearby in case you tear up.

Choose a Go-To Focal Point

Find a spot on the furthest wall of the room and make that your go-to focal point. It might be an exit sign or a clock but look at your focal point when you have trouble looking at your audience - especially if the people close to you are getting emotional and you're afraid you might become emotional too. The other benefit to the focal point being at the furthest wall is that it will appear to your audience as though you're simply looking at the back row instead of staring at an exit sign or clock.

Remember: The Speech Won't Last Forever

This speech, daunting as it may seem, is only 3-10 minutes of your entire life. You WILL get through it, and then it is over, tucked away to memories for the rest of your days. Remind yourself that you will only be standing and speaking for a short span of time, and then you will be done. Even if you envision a million things going wrong, the reality is that none of it likely will. Our concerns are always worse than the reality.

Enjoy the Moment

You worked hard to get to the point of retirement . Nobody expects an Emmy award-winning performance from you, so try to enjoy this one final work task of thanking the people who helped make your retirement possible.

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How To Write A Memorable Retirement Speech: A Complete Guide

Retirement—a remarkable milestone, a time for celebration and heartfelt appreciation. As you prepare to deliver a speech that honors the retiree, it’s essential to make it truly exceptional. This guide is here to help you do just that with a conversational and engaging approach.

In this practical guide, we’ll unlock the secrets to crafting a stand-out retirement speech. From expressing genuine gratitude to sharing light-hearted anecdotes and inspiring words, we’ll cover the essential elements that will make your speech shine.

You’ll find valuable tips, techniques, and relatable examples to guide you every step of the way. With this guidance, you’ll gain the skills to deliver a speech that captivates, uplifts, and creates cherished memories for the retiree and everyone present. Whether you’re a close colleague, a dear friend, or a loving family member, this guide will be your trusted companion as you create a retirement address that resonates deeply.

Are you ready to honor the retiree and craft a speech that leaves a lasting impact? Let’s dive right in and uncover the secrets to preparing a retirement speech that will be remembered and cherished for years.

What Makes a Great Retirement Speech?

A heartfelt and memorable retirement speech is a culmination of several key elements. Let’s explore what separates a great retirement speech and how to incorporate these elements into your tribute.

black corded microphone with stand

Expressing gratitude

One of the fundamental aspects of a remarkable retirement speech is expressing sincere gratitude to the retiree. Take the time to reflect on their contributions, impact, and how they have touched the lives of others. Share specific examples and heartfelt appreciation for their dedication, expertise, and the positive influence they have had on colleagues, students, or the community.

Understanding the audience

An excellent retirement speech is tailored to resonate with the audience. Consider who will be present at the retirement gathering and what they value most about the retiree. Adapt your speech to connect with their shared experiences, sentiments, and why they hold the retiree in high regard. Understanding the audience helps you create a speech that truly speaks to their hearts.

Choosing a speaker who knows the retiree well

When selecting the person to deliver the retirement speech, choose someone who deeply understands the retiree’s journey, accomplishments, and personal qualities. This speaker should have an intimate knowledge of the retiree’s impact, allowing them to authentically convey the retiree’s story, achievements, and character traits that deserve recognition.

Keeping it short but meaningful

While it’s tempting to recount every detail of the retiree’s career, it’s essential to strike a balance between brevity and meaningfulness. Keep your speech concise, focusing on the most significant aspects of the retiree’s professional journey. Select anecdotes, achievements, or moments that best represent their impact, and share them in a way that captures the essence of their career and leaves a lasting impression on the audience.

Organizing notes and structuring the speech effectively

Organize your notes and structure the speech effectively to ensure a smooth and coherent delivery. Start with a compelling opening that grabs the audience’s attention and establishes a connection. Arrange your thoughts logically, transitioning smoothly from one point to the next. Consider using storytelling techniques to engage the audience and make your speech more relatable. Conclude with a powerful closing that leaves the audience inspired and grateful for the retiree’s contributions.

By incorporating these elements into your retirement speech, you’ll create a powerful tribute that expresses gratitude, resonates with the audience, and captures the essence of the retiree’s career. So, let’s move forward and explore how to write and deliver a retirement speech that will be remembered for years.

How to Write a Retirement Speech

When it comes to writing a retirement speech, it’s all about capturing the essence of the retiree’s journey, expressing heartfelt gratitude, and creating a memorable experience for the audience. This section explores practical tips and creative strategies to help craft a speech that has a lasting impact. From finding inspiration and injecting humor to tailoring your words to the audience, let’s delve into the art of writing a remarkable retirement speech.

a thank you note sitting on top of a table next to a pair of glasses

Start with expressing gratitude

Begin your retirement speech by expressing genuine gratitude to the retiree. Thank them for their dedication, hard work, and the positive impact they have had on others. Share specific examples of how their contributions have made a difference, leaving a lasting legacy. Remember, heartfelt appreciation sets the tone for an impactful tribute.

Ideas and inspiration for the speech content

When brainstorming speech content, consider the retiree’s notable achievements, memorable moments, and the unique qualities that define them. Reflect on their professional journey, personal growth, and the challenges they overcame. Incorporate stories, anecdotes, and quotes that highlight their character and contributions. Let their story inspire and resonate with the audience.

Crafting a funny retirement speech

Humor can be an excellent addition to a retirement speech, lightening the atmosphere and bringing smiles to everyone’s faces. Consider incorporating a well-placed joke or lighthearted anecdote if appropriate and in line with the retiree’s personality. Remember, humor should always be respectful and inclusive, ensuring it enhances the overall speech experience.

Keep the audience in mind while writing

As you craft your retirement speech, always keep the audience in mind. Consider their relationship with the retiree, their shared experiences, and what they value most about them. Tailor your words and anecdotes to resonate with the audience, ensuring they can connect with your sentiments and feel a sense of unity in celebrating the retiree’s accomplishments.

Seek a review from a trusted person

Before finalizing your retirement speech, consider seeking the feedback and review of a trusted individual who knows the retiree well. They can provide valuable insights, help refine the content, and ensure that your speech accurately reflects the retiree’s journey and impact. Their input can add depth and authenticity to your tribute.

Skills Required to Deliver a Retirement Speech

Now that you’ve mastered the art of writing a great retirement farewell speech, it’s time to explore the essential skills that will elevate your delivery and leave a lasting impact on your audience. Crafting the perfect speech is just one piece of the puzzle—how you deliver it is equally important.

a group of people sitting in a room

Confidence and public speaking skills

Confidence is key when delivering a retirement speech. Embrace the fulfilling career and remarkable accomplishments of the person retiring. Stand tall, speak with conviction, and let your confidence shine through. Remember, you are chosen to honor their journey, so own the stage and captivate the audience with your words.

Engaging with the audience

o create a memorable experience, engaging with everyone present at the retirement party is essential. Look into the eyes of family members, colleagues, and friends, making a genuine connection. Use your words to transport them into the retiree’s world, evoking emotions and shared memories. Let your speech be a conversation that embraces and includes everyone in the celebration.

Using appropriate body language and vocal delivery

Your body language and vocal delivery are powerful tools to convey your message. Maintain an open and confident posture, using gestures to emphasize key points. Modulate your voice, allowing it to reflect the emotions and significance of the moment. You’ll capture the audience’s attention and create a captivating atmosphere using your body and voice effectively.

Choosing a go-to focal point for speech delivery

When delivering your retirement speech, select a focal point that symbolizes the retiree’s journey. It could be a cherished memento, a significant photograph, or even the retiree themselves. Let this focal point guide your speech, grounding you in the essence of their accomplishments and their impact on others. This visual representation will enhance your delivery and add depth to your tribute.

Tips for Delivering a Retirement Speech

So, the big retirement celebration is just around the corner, and you’re eager to deliver a speech that honors the retiree’s work and bids farewell with grace. In this section, we’ll share practical tips to help you shine on retirement day. From practicing and rehearsing your speech to expressing genuine gratitude, let’s dive in and discover how to make your delivery truly impactful while navigating the excitement and emotions that lie ahead.

Formal man with tablet giving presentation in office

Practice and rehearse the speech

Practice makes perfect, they say, and that holds true for delivering a memorable retirement speech. Review your words, familiarize yourself with the flow and pacing, and ensure you feel comfortable with the content. Practice in front of a mirror, enlist the help of a friend, or even record yourself to gain confidence and fine-tune your delivery.

Delivery tips for an impactful speech

When the retirement celebration arrives, it’s time to put your delivery skills into action. Remember to make eye contact, speak clearly, and project your voice to ensure everyone can hear your heartfelt words. Engage the audience through gestures, smiles, and pauses, allowing your words to resonate and create a genuine connection.

Keeping the speech length appropriate

While you may have a lot to say about the retiree’s accomplishments and their impact, it’s essential to keep the speech length in check. Aim for a balance between heartfelt storytelling and concise delivery. Time yourself during practice sessions and make adjustments as needed to ensure your speech fits within the allotted timeframe, allowing others to share their sentiments.

Expressing gratitude genuinely

As you stand before the audience, express your gratitude from the depths of your heart. Be genuine, sincere, and specific in your appreciation for the retiree’s contributions. Share personal anecdotes and stories that highlight their character and the positive influence they’ve had. Let your words convey the profound impact of their work and express heartfelt thanks for their dedication.

With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to delivering an impactful retirement speech that celebrates the retiree’s achievements and sets the stage for the exciting chapter ahead in their personal life. So, let’s practice, prepare, and get ready to express your gratitude genuinely, leaving a lasting impression on this special day.

Retirement Speech Examples: Inspiration for your tribute

Looking for inspiration to craft your own remarkable retirement speech? This section presents a collection of retirement speech examples that will ignite your creativity and guide you in expressing heartfelt gratitude.

three crumpled yellow papers on green surface surrounded by yellow lined papers

These examples will help you strike the right tone and create a speech that leaves a lasting impact, allowing you to express gratitude for the retiree’s contributions eloquently. From heartfelt tributes to lighthearted anecdotes, let these speech examples guide you as you navigate the art of honoring a remarkable career and spending quality time with those who matter most. Get ready to embark on your journey of creating unforgettable retirement speeches filled with genuine expressions of gratitude.

Grateful retirement speech example

“Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed colleagues, and honored guests, today we gather together to pay tribute to a remarkable individual who has graced our lives and organization with their presence for many years. As we bid farewell to [Retiree’s Name], we reflect on an extraordinary career. They have exemplified excellence, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to making a difference throughout their tenure.

From their early days as a [mention early role] to their rise through the ranks, [Retiree’s Name] has consistently demonstrated a passion for [mention their main contributions]. They have become a true pillar of our team, a guiding force, and an inspiration to us all. Their tireless efforts and innovative thinking have propelled our organization forward, leaving an indelible mark on the landscape of [industry/field].

But beyond their professional accomplishments, [Retiree’s Name] has also been a beacon of kindness and compassion. Always ready with a word of encouragement, a listening ear, or a helping hand, they have touched the lives of countless colleagues on both a personal and professional level. Their mentorship and guidance have shaped careers, fostered growth, and created an environment where everyone felt valued and supported.

Today, as we express our deepest gratitude, let us remember the invaluable lessons we have learned from [Retiree’s Name]. They have taught us the importance of perseverance, the power of collaboration, and the impact that one individual can have on an entire organization. We are forever indebted to their dedication and vision.

So, as we bid farewell to [Retiree’s Name], let us do so not with sadness but with pride and admiration. Let us celebrate their legacy, their impact, and the countless lives they have touched. On behalf of the entire organization, I extend our heartfelt thanks for the privilege of working alongside such an exceptional individual. We wish [Retiree’s Name] a retirement filled with joy, fulfillment, and new adventures. May this be the beginning of an exciting new chapter where they can fully embrace the well-deserved rewards that await them. Thank you, [Retiree’s Name], for everything you have done.”

Funny retirement speech example

“Hey everyone, can we get a round of applause for the star of the day? That’s right; it’s time to celebrate [Retiree’s Name]’s grand exit from the world of early alarms and office shenanigans! Today, we bid farewell to someone who has been a dedicated colleague and a master of turning the office into a place of laughter and good times.

[Retiree’s Name], where do we even begin? From the moment they walked through those office doors, they brought a breath of fresh air and a truckload of humor. It seemed like they had a secret stash of hilarious one-liners for every occasion, turning even the dullest of meetings into an improv comedy show.

But it wasn’t just their quick wit that made [Retiree’s Name] a comedic genius. No, they had a talent for finding humor in the most unexpected places. Remember that time when [share a funny and memorable anecdote]? [Retiree’s Name] managed to turn what could have been a disaster into a legendary tale that still has us laughing to this day.

Beyond their jokes and pranks, [Retiree’s Name] was a friend, a confidant, and the reason why coming to work felt like a visit to the comedy club. Their contagious infectious laughter brightened our spirits and made the toughest days seem bearable. We all knew that if we needed a pick-me-up or a good laugh, we could count on [Retiree’s Name] to deliver.

So, as we gather here today to bid farewell, let us not shed tears of sadness but tears of laughter, reminiscing about the hilarious moments we shared. [Retiree’s Name], you’ve left an indelible mark on our hearts, and our days at the office won’t be the same without your quick comebacks and infectious sense of humor.

As you step into this new chapter of your life, may the laughter continue to follow you wherever you go. May your days be filled with endless adventures, hilarious escapades, and moments that make you double over with laughter. Thank you, [Retiree’s Name], for being the office comedian, the laughter catalyst, and a true friend. We wish you a retirement that’s as funny and joyful as you’ve made our time together. Cheers to you!”

So, let’s raise our glasses and toast to [Retiree’s Name], the office prankster extraordinaire, as we bid them farewell and wish them an abundance of laughter in their retirement.

Short retirement speech example

“Ladies and gentlemen, today marks a bittersweet moment as we say goodbye to our esteemed colleague, [Retiree’s Name]. They have dedicated themselves to [mention specific achievements] in their years of service. Their impact on our team is immeasurable, and their presence will be deeply missed. As we bid farewell, let us carry forward their spirit of excellence, commitment, and camaraderie. Thank you, [Retiree’s Name], for inspiring us all and leaving an indelible mark on our hearts.”

Wrapping Up: Crafting Memorable Retirement Speeches with Gratitude and Impact

In summary, this guide has provided valuable insights into crafting memorable retirement speeches. We have emphasized the importance of expressing heartfelt gratitude, connecting with the audience, choosing a speaker who knows the retiree well, keeping the speech concise yet meaningful, and organizing notes effectively.

persons left hand with silver ring

By incorporating these key points, you can create a retirement speech that resonates with the retiree and the audience. Remember, not everyone is a natural public speaker, but anyone can deliver a meaningful tribute with practice and honest feedback.

So, as you embark on this journey, remember to express gratitude sincerely, connect with the audience, and deliver a speech that leaves a lasting impact. Your words have the power to celebrate a fulfilling career and bid farewell with warmth and sincerity.

Use this guide as your roadmap, embrace the challenge, and create a retirement speech that will truly be remembered. The retiree and the audience await your heartfelt words.

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What should you say in your retirement speech that will blow everyone’s mind?

Let's discuss what to say in a retirement speech to make your retirement celebration truly memorable..

what to say during retirement speech

Retirement is an important milestone in any person’s life, marking the end of a long and fulfilling career. It is a time to reflect on the years of hard work, accomplishments, and growth, as well as a time to look forward to the future and the new opportunities that lie ahead.

For many, retirement is also a time to celebrate with friends, family, and colleagues, often at a retirement party or a smaller gathering at the office. In any case, retiring is an event to remember so a retiree-to-be is often expected to give a retirement speech. In this article, we will discuss what to say in a retirement speech and offer some retirement party speech ideas to make your retirement celebration truly memorable.

1. Express gratitude

The first thing to include in a retirement speech is a heartfelt expression of gratitude to those who have supported you throughout your career. This might include your colleagues, friends, family, mentors, and even your employers. Take the time to acknowledge the ways in which these people have helped you grow and succeed, and thank them for their contributions to your journey. If your family is present you may want to thank them too (your wife and kids might have also supported you in many different ways).

2. Reflect on your accomplishments

Next, take some time to reflect on your accomplishments throughout your entire career. Consider the challenges you faced, the goals you achieved, and the impact you made in your field when giving the speech at the retirement party. Share some of your proudest moments and talk about the lessons you learned along the way. A retirement speech is a great opportunity to inspire yourself and others and celebrate achievements. 

3. Share your vision for retirement

As you move into retirement, you likely have some ideas about what you want to do with your newfound free time. Take some time to share your vision for retirement with your audience in your retirement farewell speech. Whether you plan to travel, volunteer, take up a new hobby, or spend time with family and friends, let your audience know what you’re looking forward to in this new chapter of your life.

4. Offer advice and wisdom

As someone who has spent a long time in your profession, you likely have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to share with others. Take some time to offer advice to your colleagues and other professionals who may be starting out in their careers. Share some of the lessons you learned and the strategies that helped you succeed .

5. Finish on a high note

Finally, end your farewell speech on a positive note. Thank your audience once again for their support, express your excitement for the future, and perhaps share a quote or a piece of wisdom that has inspired you throughout your career. This is a time to celebrate all that you’ve accomplished and all that you have yet to achieve.

Ideas on what to say in a retirement speech

Here are some ideas to help you deliver a meaningful and memorable retirement speech:

  •         Talk about your hobbies, interests, and future plans
  •         Share a personal story that illustrates your career journey
  •         Include humor, but keep it tasteful
  •         Use quotes or sayings that inspire you
  •         Use visual aids, such as photos or videos
  •         Keep your speech concise and to the point
  •         Speak from the heart and be sincere
  •         Practice your speech beforehand to feel confident and comfortable

Samples of Retirement Speech

These are some retirement thank you speech examples that you can check out. Perhaps they will help you to write your own:

Retirement speech example 1

Greetings to all. As I stand here today to say goodbye to my coworkers and the company, I find myself experiencing a wide range of emotions. To begin, I would like to express my gratitude to my employer and coworkers for the privilege of working with such a fantastic bunch of individuals.

I started out as an intern here 30 years ago and am now the Chief Operating Officer. It’s been an amazing ride, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have contributed to the company’s success. I have gained a great deal of knowledge from my coworkers and boss, and I will always value the time spent with them.

During my stay here, I oversaw the launch of a new software system that drastically improved our data management. Additionally, I participated in a number of community outreach projects that ultimately aided in fostering better ties between the company and the local populace. These accomplishments were made possible thanks to the assistance of my team and Jill, the best and most professional CEO I ever had the pleasure to work with.

My future goals include seeing the world and spending more time with my loved ones. I’ll never forget my experience here, and I’m going to miss the company and my coworkers. I have no doubt the company will go on to greater and greater heights, and I eagerly anticipate hearing about its future achievements.

To wrap up, I’d like to thank everyone I worked with and everyone who helped me along the way at this company. We appreciate the chances, the help, and the time spent together. I want to leave you all with a piece of advice that’s served me well throughout my career: always strive for excellence, never give up on your dreams, and cherish every moment of your life. In closing, I want to say that it has been a pleasure to collaborate with you and that I wish you the best of luck in your future undertakings. It’s much appreciated.

Retirement speech example 2 – a heartfelt one

Good afternoon, everyone. I would like to thank you all for being here today to celebrate my retirement. It has been an incredible journey, and I have had the pleasure of working with so many amazing people over the years.

When I first started my career, I never imagined I would have the opportunity to work with such a talented and dedicated team. From the early days of my career to my current role, I have learned so much from my colleagues and mentors.

I would like to take a moment to thank a few people who have had a significant impact on my career. First, I would like to thank my mentor, John. John took me under his wing when I was just starting out. From the sleepless nights to the long hours of working, I will never forget the lessons he taught me.

I would also like to thank my colleagues, who have become like family to me over the years. We have shared so many memories and experiences, and I will miss working with each and every one of you.

As I move on to the next phase of my life, I am excited to explore new opportunities and spend more time with my family. I wish you all the best and look forward to seeing the continued success of the organization.

Thank you all again for your support and friendship over the years. It has been an honor to work alongside you.

Retirement speech example 3 – a short one

Good afternoon, everyone. It is hard to believe that my time at this amazing organization has come to an end. It has been a privilege to work alongside such dedicated and talented individuals, and I am proud of all that we have accomplished together.

As I move on to the next chapter of my life, I am excited about the new opportunities that await me. Retirement is not the end but a new beginning, and I plan to make the most of it.

I want to take a moment to thank my colleagues and mentors for their unwavering support and encouragement. Thank you all for being a part of my journey. Your friendship and support have been a constant source of inspiration, and I will cherish the memories we have made together.

In closing, I want to leave you all with this quote by John Quincy Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” I hope that, in some small way, I have been able to inspire and lead throughout my career. Thank you all again for everything.

Retirement speech example 4 – a funny one

Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed colleagues, and cherished friends, today I stand before you today with a heart filled with mixed emotions — sadness, joy, excitement, a bit of fear and the sudden urge to break into the Macarena. Yes, my friends, after countless years of battles with the office microwave that seems to have a vendetta against popcorn, the moment has finally arrived—my retirement day!

As I look back on my time in this incredible workspace, I can’t help but chuckle at the memories we’ve created together. From the infamous stapler thief incident (seriously, who steals a stapler?) to the epic battle of wills between the printer and our IT department, we’ve experienced a myriad of unforgettable moments that could easily fuel a sitcom.

Let’s not forget the legendary office parties where we showcased our secret talents, like Terry from accounting who revealed his hidden breakdancing skills, and Linda from HR who surprised us all with her impressive opera singing (we still have the shattered windows to prove it).

But amidst the laughter and hilarity, I want to express my sincere gratitude to each and every one of you. You’ve been more than just coworkers; you’ve been a second family—a dysfunctional, wonderfully quirky, and occasionally noisy family that I’m proud to be a part of.

As I bid farewell to this place, I leave you with a few pearls of wisdom. Remember, never trust a microwave’s estimation of cooking time, because it will always deceive you. And when it comes to office politics, well, just pretend to be Switzerland—neutral, diplomatic, and occasionally armed with chocolate.

Thank you all for the memories, the laughter, and the friendships that have made this journey worthwhile. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a recliner, a piña colada, and a never-ending playlist of ’80s classics. Cheers to retirement, where the only deadlines we face are deciding which tropical destination to visit next!

In conclusion, delivering a heartfelt retirement speech can be an emotional and challenging experience. However, by following these retirement speech tips, you can create a memorable and meaningful speech that will leave a lasting impression on your colleagues and employees. Remember to keep it personal and sincere, and don’t forget to thank the people who have been part of your career journey.

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Amazing Retirement Speeches Examples & Writing Tips

Writing memorable retirement speeches: expert tips & examples.

Writing your retirement speech seems daunting? You are not alone. In this post, our professional speechwriters share techniques for writing a truly memorable speech.

People with whom you've worked for years have become an important part of your professional and personal life. You have spent more time with your coworkers than with your family members, and they witnessed your achievements as well as rough times. Thus, you'll want to craft a heartwarming retirement farewell speech to thank everyone for the good times spent together.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to writing a good retirement speech for any situation. The duration of the speech and what to include will depend on your relationships with coworkers, how many years you have spent in the company, and the corporate culture. In this blog, we have summarized the main principles for writing a great retirement speech plus some examples for your inspiration.

If writing isn't your forte and you still want to express your co-worker with a memorable retirement speech, get professional help. On our website, you can order a custom retirement speech at a pocket-friendly price. Share what you'd like to include in your speech, and our expert will find the right words for your important event, keeping your speech professional yet powerful and emotional.

Two memorable retirement speech examples

If you are looking for sample speeches for your retirement party or the final meeting at the office, check out the examples below. You can customize them a little, or use them as an inspiration to write your own speech.

Formal retirement speech

what to say during retirement speech

This example of a speech of a person retiring has a formal tone and is focused on their professional achievements. It also expresses sincere gratitude towards colleagues and reiterates important professional highlights.

Funny retirement speech example

what to say during retirement speech

This humorous speech won an international speech contest decades ago. If you want to draft an informal speech, pay attention to the structure and tone of voice in this example.

Professional tips on what to say in your retirement speech

As you give a speech for your retirement celebration, things can easily go wrong. Some people get carried away and use unprofessional jokes and personal stories that make others feel uncomfortable. Others prepare thoroughly, but their speech lacks warmth and emotion. Here's how to compose a speech that will sound professional, appropriate, and sincere.

Keep it on a positive note

Not all companies can boast a positive working environment and strong relationships between the co-workers. Even if your boss had anger management issues and some coworkers were toxic, do not bring this up on your retirement day. Focus on the positive side of things - you can think of some good moments during your fulfilling career which are worth mentioning. If coworkers failed to become your second family, compliment them on their work ethic and mention the results you've achieved as a team.

Be grateful

As you spend time creating your speech, devote at least one paragraph to expressing gratitude. Thank your boss, people that worked next to you every day, and mention a few people you had strong relationships with. You may even share a short story about some project or achievement. If at least one family member is present, thank them for supporting you in your career as well. To make a lasting impression also mention what you've achieved with the company, what challenges you faced, and who helped you along the way.

Mind the event and the audience

You will want to adapt the content of your speech depending on where the event will take place and how many people will be present. Obviously, the text of the speech for a company-wide meeting with two hundred people and a small gathering in your office will be different. In the latter case, you can keep your speech less formal as if you were speaking to close friends, but do not forget to keep it professional. If speaking for a larger audience, you might want to leave insider jokes out and focus on things that everyone in a room will understand.

Choose the right tone

If you work for a company that encourages a laid-back environment, casual clothes, and informal team-building events, it is absolutely fine to come up with a funny retirement speech. Your colleagues will appreciate it and see it as a sign of warm, friendly working relations. On the flip side, if you work in a serious organization with a formal professional culture, such as an investment bank, law firm, or a government institution, it is best to keep your speech formal and polite.

Share your ideas for retirement

The public opinion about retirement today is different from that of twenty years ago. Now, not everyone is looking forward to receiving a gold watch and a calm time off work. Your retirement speech will look even better if you share plans for the future. Tell what you'd like to do during your next chapter of life: consult and mentor others, start a new exciting hobby, or maybe travel. Let your friends and family know that you are looking forward to something new and interesting.

Use visual aids

Another good idea for retirement speeches is supporting them with visual aids. You can prepare a presentation with pictures from corporate events or celebrations, or share a video of some memorable moments. If you launch a presentation during your speech, it will evoke a bigger emotional response and help you truly connect with an audience.

Get professional help

After you've written a draft of your speech, ask for honest feedback from a trusted person, such as a family member or a friend. They will look at the text with a fresh eye and recommend what to add and remove. If you truly care about the success of your speech, consult a professional speechwriter. They will review your speech with a professional perspective and recommend improvements that will work better with the auidence.

Just a kind reminder: at SpeechPaths, you can order a customized speech for any special occasion, including a retirement speech. A dedicated expert will work one-on-one with you to craft the text that you'll be satisfied with. Hire an expert to write a retirement speech with a 20% discount today - chat with us to claim your code!

How to give a retirement speech for an employee?

If you aren't the one who is retiring and need to pay tribute to a retiring coworker or subordinate, you'll want to prepare thoroughly. The most important thing about such speeches is to keep them personalized. Find features specific to that person, and focus on these features as you bid farewell to them. You may not only pay homage to a retiree's work, but also mention their personality, complement their sense of humor, the ability to solve unsolvable problems, or a high-achieving spirit. Thank the person for their contribution to the company - after all, they have devoted years of their life to it, and their achievements need to be mentioned.

Preparing to give your retirement speech

Composing your speech is only a half of the journey. You also need to deliver it efficiently to impress the audience. Since public speaking is a challenge to many, take these tips from professional speech writers into account:

Prepare and practice

It is hardly possible to deliver a persuasive speech without proper preparation. Start practicing your speech days in advance: read it aloud, and work on your gestures and body language. You will have plenty of time to hear how your words actually sound, and add/paraphrase something to make the speech better. Moreover, as you practice delivering the speech to your family, you will feel more confident speaking to the audience on your big day.

Dress for success

A polished professional attire will help you feel more confident in everything you do, including public speaking. You don't need to be overdressed, but wearing a new pressed suit and freshening your nails will make you look more considerate during the official retirement day.

Master techniques to stay calm

Many people find speaking to a large crowd intimidating. You may feel anxious, have sweaty palms, and other symptoms of stress. To calm down before the speech, try breathing exercises - the simplest one is counting to four as you breathe in and out. Other methods to beat anxiety include meditation - give yourself a few minutes before getting on stage - and visualization techniques. Imagine the room and the audience, and plan every move in advance. Keep a glass of water at hand in case you have a sore throat - you can also take a sip or two when you need to pause.

Keep it brief

Whether delivering the speech is an exciting perspective for you or you are anxious about it, remember to keep it short. As a rule, you need to keep it between 5 to 10 minutes. No need to pay tribute to every person you worked with and recollect every workplace situation. Mention only the most important milestones and people who played a key role in your professional life. Time yourself as you practice speaking at home to keep your speech at optimal length and not to bore the audience.

Choose a point you will look at

If you don't deliver speeches frequently, your eyes may start to wander as you speak, and you can get distracted or simply feel uncomfortable. Here's the solution: find a point that you will look at as you speak. This can be a clock or a poster on the opposite wall. The audience will think that you are looking at the back row, and you'll be able to concentrate on your speech entirely.

As you write and deliver your retirement speech, do not forget about the main thing: have fun during the process! Speeches may sound stressful, but eventually your retirement party will become a memorable day that will evoke only positive emotions.

Get professional help with your speech, anytime

At SpeechPaths, we deliver insightful and memorable speeches for every professional and personal occasion. If you lack inspiration to draft your retirement speech, let us know and our expert will prepare a speech tailored to your requirements in as little as 12 hours. We offer amazing prices for first-time customers - contact us and make sure!

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How to Write a Retirement Speech – Samples & Ideas

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Amanda Green was born in a small town in the west of Scotland, where everyone knows everyone. I joined the Toastmasters 15 years ago, and I served in nearly every office in the club since then. I love helping others gain confidence and skills they can apply in every day life.

Like other types of speech, a retirement speech takes preparation. You can dedicate one to a friend or colleague or deliver a message as the retiree. But how do you write a retirement speech?

My guide will help you give sample speeches for a retirement party. Discover the steps you need to follow, mistakes to avoid, and some tips to improve. I even included an example to follow.

What Is a Retirement Speech?

what to say during retirement speech

A co-worker can give a retirement speech to a retiree or a retirement speech by a retiree.

Someone who has worked with the honoree for a long time can extend their congratulations for racing this unique milestone at the end of their career. They usually share interesting information while showing respect to the person who contributed significantly to the workplace.

A retirement speech can also be given by the person retiring. They may thank their fellow employees for the beautiful years and for helping them grow in the company.

These occasions are usually informal. That means you can deliver a casually funny retirement speech that’s the opposite of typical, formal speeches. But it is always helpful to plan what you will say in the speech so that everything flows smoothly.

What Makes a Good Retirement Speech?

A speech is a critical medium for presenting information and entertainment to a group of people. Here are some qualities of an excellent retirement speech.

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Focuses on the Honoree

Whether it’s a formal or informal retirement speech, it’s essential to focus on the honoree . Do not focus on yourself but on the accomplishments and values of the retiree.

A speech should be free from ambiguity so everyone can understand it easily. Make sure to break up run-on sentences and reduce wordiness. Using the active voice also improves the clarity of the speech.


It’s okay to insert famous quotes in your speech. But it’s also important to customize your message to the person you are honoring. Do not give a generic retirement speech you copied from Google or a speech builder.


A person who served in your organization deserves a long speech. But avoid repetitive, cliche , and filler words. Don’t bore your audience with a 30-minute speech.


An attention-grabbing story in the introduction is a quick way to make your speech enjoyable. Other methods include using examples, inserting quotations, and citing jokes.

Use of Body Language

An outstanding speech is not only about verbal communication but also comes with necessary body language. Use non-verbal cues with your hands, mouth, and eyes.

How Long Should a Retirement Speech Last?

The length of the retirement speech depends on the time allotted for this part of the event. It usually lasts around 5-10 minutes and comprises 600-1000 words.

Some people do not need to read from their manuscripts at this length. They may prepare and practice using only their outline. But if you’re a beginner, you can bring an entire manuscript when delivering.

Retirement Speech Writing Steps

Follow these six steps to creating a retirement speech.

Step 1: Gather information

The first step to creating a retirement speech is to gather information about the person’s life from different people. Hopefully, you can get extraordinary stories from them and a core idea of what you will put in the speech.

Gathering information will be a breeze if the retiree has been a long-time employee. You’ll find out how multi-faceted the person is. To their fellow employees, the person might be friendly and good-humored. But to their supervisor, the retiree might be intelligent and strategic.

Try gathering as much information about their personality as possible. But remember the key details. Try asking the following questions:

  • How long has the retiree been in the industry?
  • How long has the retiree worked in the company?
  • What were their contributions to the field or company?
  • What were the awards they received in the course of their career?
  • What were their previous positions?

Step 2: Learn All the Special Qualities of the Person

Your retirement speech should not only highlight the person’s career. It must also involve legendary stories or perhaps funny stories from their personal life.

For example, what are their personal hobbies? If the retiree likes to golf, you might try a golf-related theme for the party. If the retiree is an English teacher, try inserting English puns in your speech.

Here are some questions you can ask during interviews with people to craft a fantastic retirement speech.

  • What are their nicknames?
  • What is the name of their current spouse and kids?
  • What would people say is the best trait of the retiree?
  • How has the person made an exceptional contribution to the workplace?
  • What lessons did the people learn from the retiree?

However, some people want to keep their private life private. You don’t have to snoop around when gathering information about the retiree.

Step 3: Write an Outline

The entire speech writing process and public speaking stage are much easier if you start with an outline.

You have to decide how the farewell speech will sound. Do you want a heartfelt speech, a humorous speech, or a mix of both? Once you have decided, it’s time to brainstorm what to include in each part.

  • Introduction – This part should include an attention-grabbing story. It’s an essential part of memorable retirement speeches.
  • Body 1 – Name one or two traits of the person. Are they great listeners? Do they always have the most brilliant ideas in meetings? Are they approachable to everyone?
  • Body 2 – Discuss the person’s entire career journey. This should be easy if you’ve worked with them for a long time or gathered enough information. Make it clear what the person has attained and the differences they made to the company.
  • Body 3 – Share personal lessons you’ve learned from the person. A short story can be used.
  • Thank the person – Wish the person well in their retirement. End the speech with a memorable punchline and a “Happy retirement!”

Step 4: Write Out the Speech (Optional)

Skip this step if you’re already a skilled public speaker. Some practiced orators can even deliver humorous speeches on the spot without stuttering.

But if it’s your first time delivering a retirement speech for a boss, it’s best to write it down. Start with retirement speech starter headlines. It can include interesting daft stories, milestones, or a philosophy.

But overly preparing a speech can make it sound less heartfelt. Make sure you’re writing an authentic speech that feels natural to deliver.

You also don’t want to use the word “I” very often. Otherwise, it will give the impression of a boastful speech.

Step 5: Get Feedback

Seek people’s help before delivering a grateful retirement speech in front of a large crowd. Try asking someone who knows the retiree well to listen to your speech. Ask them about their thoughts on the fun story you shared, and make sure to consider their alternative ideas.

It also helps to ask an editor to fix any spelling or grammar issues. They can help you keep the speech more concise and engaging.

Step 6: Record a Video of Your Speech Before You Give It

The last step before offering a tribute speech to a retiree is to record yourself. Check your appearance when you’re talking. Are you smiling or not? Was your brow creased? This step is essential if you don’t always talk in front of a large audience of people.

Retirement Speech Tips

what to say during retirement speech

Now that you know the correct procedure for speech-writing, here are some tips you can follow.

Choose a Speaker Who Knows the Person Well

If you were chosen as the speaker, then you must have enough knowledge about the person’s entire life. One advantage of knowing the person too well is that you instantly have various content ideas for your speech.

This person can be someone other than the head of the organization. It can be their work best friend, business partner, or family member.

Focus on the Honoree

Your priority is to think about how the person will feel. Do you want to focus on their success, positive attributes, or their future success? Brainstorm some characteristics or key points you want to include in the tribute speech.

You may evoke emotion in this speech by highlighting a sense of fondness. But don’t make it too dramatic, especially when your relationship was formed in the workplace.

Mentioning memorable moments improves bonds with the honoree. Let them know what you will miss most about them.

Keep It Short—But Not Too Short

An important person in the company deserves more than three minutes of tribute. But that doesn’t mean you must include every detail of their previous career. Keep it short and sweet at around five to ten minutes to not bore the audience.

Use a Simple Framework

Keep your outline organized and simple to clarify the main message. It should serve as a blueprint to track your entire speech.

You already know the five parts of a retirement speech. However, you can still make it simpler using these parts:

  • Greet the audience and thank them for coming to the party.
  • Express why everyone is gathered.
  • Talk about how this person made a difference in the company and industry.
  • Talk about how this person made a difference in your personal life.
  • Extend best wishes on the next chapter of their life.

Balance the Past and Future

Refrain from assuming that the best days of the retiree are over. They are likely to be excited about their retirement. So instead of making a eulogy-like speech, deliver one that covers both the past and future.

Carefully Use Humor

You’ve probably heard hundreds of speeches with funny punchlines. But you should always plan your humor around your audience. Avoid jokes that rely on profanity and controversial topics. No one also wants to hear you put the retiree down harshly.

As with any other type of speech or presentation, preparing is always worth it. Try talking with people who have worked closely with the retiree. Look for common themes, then start crafting.

I also don’t recommend spending too much time discussing the career highlight reel. The audience might already know the honoree’s professional development in minute detail. Focus on their impact, values, and the larger lesson they taught you.

Don’t Read Your Speech

It’s okay to bring an outline or manuscript as long as your eyes stay longer on the audience. Tell the speech from the heart, take deep breaths, and know exactly what you will tell next.

Stand Up Straight

Maintain a good posture as you walk across the stage and give the speech. It shows confidence in your discussion, making the audience more interested.

Avoid These Retirement Speech Pitfalls


Are you talking too much about yourself? Is your anecdote losing focus on the retirement speech’s goal? Make sure your address aims to make the retiree feel appreciated. The conclusion or final part of the speech should be direct gratitude toward the individual.

Joking Too Much

Using humor in speeches can be challenging, especially if your audience is a bunch of serious people. Although sharing a boys’ night out story is tempting, others might not appreciate it. That said, do your research on the audience to avoid awkwardness.

Becoming Out of Touch

No, retirees don’t sit on their porches all day reminiscing about their previous job. Many people continue working or start their own businesses. The correct term for this is “active retirement.” So avoid retirement cliches in your speech that will make you sound tone-deaf.

Joking about old age may have been common in earlier retirement speeches in an attempt to make a funny speech. But today, it’s considered insensitive. Avoid offensive words toward the retiree and the audience.

What Are Some Good Retirement Quotes?

Consider these thirty-five examples if you need some retirement quotes for your speech.

Inspirational Quotes for Retirement

  • “Retirement is not the end of the road. It is the beginning of the open highway.”
  • “Half of our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.” – Will Rogers
  • “For many, retirement is a time for personal growth, which becomes the path to greater freedom.” – Robert Delamontague
  • “Don’t act your age in retirement. Act like the inner young person you have always been.” – J. A. West
  • “Retirement, a time to enjoy all the things you never had time to do when you worked.” – Catherine Pulsifer
  • “Retirement is wonderful if you have two essentials: much to live on and much to live for.” 
  • “Retire from your job, but never retire your mind.”
  • “Age is just a number, but retirement is one of the greatest gifts to mankind.”
  • “The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.” – Vince Lombardi
  • “Choose a job that you love and you won’t have to work another day.” – Confucius
  • ​”Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain
  • “There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”​ – Bill Waterson
  • “Retirement is a blank sheet of paper. It is a chance to redesign your life into something new and different.” – Patrick Foley

Funny Retirement Quotes

  • “He who laughs at the boss’ jokes probably isn’t far from retirement.”
  • “Congrats on being so tired that you had to retire.”
  • “The best time to start thinking about your retirement is before the boss does.”
  • “There really are two lives we live. The first life and then the second life when we realize we only have one life.”
  • “The best part about being retired is never having to request time off.”
  • “My retirement plan is to get thrown into a minimum security prison in Hawaii.” – Julius Sharpe
  • “I’m always announcing my retirement. I’m still not retired.” – Dick Van Dyke
  • “How do you know it’s time to retire? It’s when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it!”
  • “During your work life, you pick up a lot of bad habits… like working.”
  • “The world’s longest coffee break is often referred to as retirement.”
  • “Now Fridays aren’t the best day of the week anymore… they all are!”
  • “I never reveal my age, but I do let people know I’m retired. They can just guess my age from that statement.”

Retirement Wishes

  • “Wishing you the best retirement ever! Enjoy the new chapter of your life and enjoy being your own boss.”
  • “It is not easy to say goodbye. But, I will hold on to the fond memories of working with you. I hope that this retirement brings you joy and peace.”
  • “Enjoy your new weekends which will last 7 days!”
  • “We wish you the best retirement possible.”
  • “You have been a great boss. I appreciate the effort you put into mentoring me.”
  • “You have reached an incredible level of freedom.”
  • “I can’t believe I will be working as you nap. Enjoy your retirement!”
  • “Cheers to a lifetime of weekends!”
  • “Goodbye to the coats and ties.”
  • “May your dreams come true as you begin your retirement.”

Retirement Speech Sample

Here’s an example of a short but heartfelt retirement speech you can give to someone you want to pay your respects to.

I have witnessed many friends come and go to this school. But today, we have gathered to show our love and respect for Hartford Elementary School’s English teacher, Bradley McAdams. After working with him for more than 30 years, I don’t think I have the right words to say about his inspiring impact, dedication, and character.

Bradley, or, as many people call him, “Mr. Brad,” has handled over 1,000 students. That includes 10,000 essays checked, 80 English lessons taught, and 60 literary works recommended.

But beyond the schoolwork checked, Bradley has made meaningful relationships with his students over the past few years. He became a good friend to individuals who need comfort and a family to children who want to feel a sense of belonging.

We are also proud of him for publishing his dissertation in 2018 and obtaining a doctorate in 2019.

Mr. Brad, you are one of the most inspiring educators in the teaching profession. You made a lasting impression on the world through your grit. You deserve a break! We hope you get enough rest, travels, and pampering in this new stage of your life. Congratulations on your retirement!

Craft a Well-Written Speech

Hopefully, my guide helped you learn how to write a retirement speech. Whether it’s for a friend or boss, that person deserves appreciation and support on their special milestone.

Another popular category for these speeches is when it comes to friends, family, service professionals, or a college commencement speech. Learn how to create an inspiring speech for different people!

How to Write a Farewell Speech – Tips & Samples

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How to write a retirement speech that wows: essential guide, how to write a retirement speech that wows: ultimate guide.

Picture this: After decades of hard work and dedication, the time has finally come. It’s your retirement, a significant milestone in your life that’s worthy of celebration. But how do you express your reflections on years of achievements, challenges, growth, and memorable moments at your workplace? You might be wondering, “How should I structure my thoughts?” or “What message would my colleagues appreciate most?” That’s where the art of crafting a retirement speech comes into play.

Writing a retirement speech can seem daunting, but it’s a great opportunity to express gratitude, share memories, and offer well-wishes for the retiree. The retirement party is a celebration of years of hard work and dedication, and the speech should reflect that. The retiree is an obvious choice to deliver the speech, but it’s also important to consider others who have shared in the journey. Whether you focus on personal anecdotes or offer advice for life after retirement, your speech should be heartfelt and sincere. Don’t forget to raise a toast to the retiree and wish them all the best in their future endeavors!

What are the key elements of a good retirement speech for the honoree?

A good retirement speech should include a heartfelt introduction, a reflection on the retiree’s accomplishments and contributions, personal anecdotes or stories, expressions of gratitude to colleagues and loved ones, a positive outlook on retirement, and a memorable conclusion that leaves a lasting impact.

In this guide, we’ll be your compass, leading you through the intricacies of writing a retirement speech that resonates with your audience and leaves a lasting impression.

Writing a retirement speech can be a daunting task, but it is an opportunity to celebrate years of service and honor the retiree’s accomplishments. It’s important to start with a heartfelt introduction that acknowledges the retiree’s contributions and dedication to their work. For instance, if the retiree has served for 25 years, highlight their achievements and milestones during that time. Share anecdotes and memories of working together, and express gratitude for their service. Finally, conclude with well wishes for the retiree’s future endeavors, and offer a sincere thanks on behalf of everyone present for their years of service.

When writing a retirement speech, it is important to have stories about the retiree. These stories can help to highlight their accomplishments and impact on the workplace or community. Personal stories can also add a touch of humor and emotion to the speech, making it more memorable for the retiree and audience. It is important to choose stories that are appropriate for the occasion and reflect positively on the retiree. By sharing stories, you can give a heartfelt tribute to the retiree’s career and legacy.

When writing a retirement speech, it is important to seek honest feedback from someone you trust. This person can help you refine your speech and ensure that your message is clear and appropriate for the occasion. They can also provide feedback on your pace, time, and body language, helping you to deliver a memorable and impactful speech. By taking the time to seek feedback from others, you can be sure that your retirement speech will resonate with your audience and leave a lasting impression.

When writing a retirement speech, it is important to acknowledge the retiree’s mentorship and impact on younger colleagues. You can highlight their dedication and personal qualities that have made them stand out in the organization. It is also an opportunity to express gratitude for their contributions and assure them that their legacy will be carried forward. Remember to make the speech personal and heartfelt, sharing anecdotes and memories that truly capture the retiree’s impact on the organization and its people.

The Importance of a Well-Crafted Retirement Speech to Say Farewell

When the curtains close on a distinguished career, a well-crafted retirement speech becomes the perfect soundtrack to the final bow. But why is such a speech so essential, you may wonder? Well, it’s quite simple really. A retirement speech serves as a golden opportunity to share your journey, your experiences, your learning, to inspire others, and to say a heartfelt thank you to all who’ve been a part of this significant chapter of your life. So, let’s dive deeper into the importance of getting your retirement speech right.

A good retirement speech is reflective; it brings to life the unique narration of your professional journey. It’s your chance to showcase the synopsis of an entire career in an encapsulated, engaging format. In those few minutes, you can step back into time, share your triumphs, your initial struggles, and how you turned them into stepping-stones. Curious about why all this matter?

Every retiree is a living repository of experiences, wisdom, trials, and triumphs. Your retirement speech presents a unique platform to share these with your peers and the next generation, thereby passing on a legacy that goes beyond the mere professional achievements.

Moreover, this is your moment, your spot under the lime-light. It’s one last formal chance to express your gratitude, to pay tribute to the support, guidance, and even the challenges that have shaped who you’ve become. A little embracement coming your way? Well, trust me, it’s vital to acknowledge the roles others have played in our life and a retirement speech affords a prime chance to do just that.

But let’s not forget — we are all social beings, aren’t we? We strive to make connections, to feel valued, and make others feel appreciated. Your retirement speech is not just about you; it’s also an opportunity to make your colleagues, mentors, friends, and juniors feel valued and respected. That’s indeed something to consider, right?

A well-crafted retirement speech not only strikes the right chords of emotions but also instils a sense of pride and accomplishment. So, there you have it! Remember, a retirement speech might mark an end, but it also signals the onset of new beginnings. So, shall we begin crafting the script of your farewell symphony?

Researching and Gathering Information

Just like any good speech, creating a retirement speech begins with gathering information. You may ask, “Where do I start?” Here’s the answer: Start with yourself. Reflect on your career, dig into old memories, and explore your growth and achievements over the years. This isn’t an exercise in ego, it’s simply a way to accurately and honestly portray your journey, sharing insights and lessons that can help others.

Before you can educate, inspire, or connect, you need to remember, and this is where research comes into play. Here are some practical steps you can take:

Conduct a thorough and meticulous review of your professional journey, sifting through old reports, projects, and emails. These documents often jog your memory, leading you to cherished moments you’ve possibly forgotten. Isn’t it amazing how a simple piece of paper can carry so much emotion and meaning?

Interviews are also a great resource for collecting information about your career. You could have conversations with long-time colleagues, managers, or subordinates. Don’t you think it’s fascinating to see yourself from their perspective?

And don’t forget to tap into the power of photographs. They have this unique ability to transport us back in time, don’t they? Scan through old photographs; they’ll remind you of people, places, events, and stories that you might want to include in your speech.

The goal here isn’t to dredge up every single detail, but to spark memories and stories that celebrate your career journey, shared experiences, and the bonds you’ve formed. Remember, it’s your career’s highlight reel we’re trying to create, not a documentary.

Taking Notes and Identifying Key Points

As you proceed with your research, it’s essential to keep a record of the facts, achievements, incidents, and individuals you want to mention in your speech.

  • Note down people and events that significantly influenced your career.
  • Jot down impactful projects or milestones that you’re particularly proud of.
  • Recall roles and responsibilities that challenged you and fostered your growth.

In essence, you are not only quantity-gathering, but quality-filtering your content. After all, you’d like your speech to resonate with your audience and create a lasting impression, wouldn’t you?

Considering Length and Time Constraints

You may be thinking, “How long should my retirement speech be?” Well, here’s the thing – while there’s no hard and fast rule, the general guideline is to keep it under 10-15 minutes. People’s attention spans tend to wane after that. A retirement speech isn’t about giving an exhaustive account of your career. Rather, it’s about encapsulating the key moments in a concise and engaging manner.

When writing your speech, being conscious of time constraints is essential. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re sharing stories from your long and vibrant career. However, remember that your audience will appreciate a speech that is succinct yet meaningful.

Stay focused on your key points and essentials stories. A helpful way to manage this is by timing yourself while practicing your speech. If you find yourself running over, revisit your speech and trim it down. It can be hard to decide what to keep and what to remove, but consider which pieces truly add value and capture the essence of your journey.

Simultaneously, respect the event’s timeline itself. If the event organizers have given you a specific time slot, make sure you’re prepared to fit within that window. It respects the audience’s time and keeps the overall event running smoothly.

Now, you might be asking, “But what if I have too much to share and too little time?” Here’s where the art of summarization comes in. Use visuals to share larger stories. For instance, a slide presentation with pictures from key milestones can be a powerful way to share your journey without eating up too much time. It also gives the audience something to connect with visually, making your speech even more memorable.

Time management skills extend beyond the workplace, don’t they? They even come in handy when writing and delivering a retirement speech!

Highlighting Personal and Professional Growth

Now, it’s time to cover your transformative journey, isn’t it? It’s your moment to reflect and share your personal and professional growth over the years. Aim to strike a balance—too much of one can make your speech feel unbalanced.

You’ve probably asked yourself, how has this experience changed me? Well, here’s your chance to delve into the changes you’ve seen within yourself since joining the organization. Perhaps you’ve developed resilience, gained critical skills, or discovered a passion you never knew you had. Don’t be reticent—these are the moments that sculpted you into the person you are today!

Here’s a pro tip: use concrete examples to demonstrate your growth. Instead of simply stating, “I have matured,” why not illustrate it with a story about a particular challenge you surmounted? After all, the evidence is always more powerful than mere assertions, isn’t it?

If I’m being honest, when I first started here, I was as green as they come. I recall receiving my first project and feeling completely overwhelmed. But with the support of my incredible team, I not only completed the project, I ended up leading more than I thought possible.

Turning our focus toward professional growth now, this is the moment to shine a light on any key achievements or milestones during your tenure. Maybe you led an award-winning project, orchestrated growth in the company, or invented something innovative? Celebrate these accomplishments with humility and grace.

Just remember, discussing professional growth is not just about listing successes. It’s also recognising the moments of struggle, failure, and the valuable lessons they taught you. Demonstrate how these moments led to your growth as a professional, shaping you into a more competent, self-assured, and wise leader.

Finally, wrap up this section by reflecting on how your personal and professional growth intertwined. How did experiences in the workplace shape your personal life, and vice versa? Through sharing these insights, your colleagues are not only getting to know ‘work you’, but ‘real you’—creating a deeper and more authentic connection.

Sharing Memorable Anecdotes and Stories

Sharing stories and recalling anecdotes adds life to your retirement speech, making it more engaging and relatable. As you embark on this endeavor, you’re not just creating a farewell speech — you’re creating a narrative that encapsulates your career journey. So what does it mean to share memorable anecdotes and stories in your speech, and how can you go about it? Let’s explore.

Your retirement speech is a gateway to your past. Through stories, you invite everyone present into your professional world, giving them a chance to see your career through your eyes. Start by brainstorming memorable events from your career. Was there a time when a spectacular failure became an unforeseen learning experience? Or perhaps there was a moment of teamwork that resulted in a project success against all odds? These are the crystals that add sparkle to your narrative diamond.

Rhetorical questions may arise here. For instance, “How can you weave these anecdotes into your speech without losing flow?” or “How many stories should you tell?”, and these are important to consider. The answers to these questions depend largely on your speech’s overall tone and length. But remember, balance is vital. Your stories and anecdotes should spice up your speech, not overpower it. They’re a part of the conversation and not the dominating element.

As you share these stories, strong emotions might surface – be it laughter, tears, or a heartwarming feeling – and that’s okay. Simply let these emotions flow. They make your speech human, authentic, and engaging. But, keep in mind to avoid any negative anecdotes that could hurt someone’s feelings or reputations. Your aim here is to leave a lasting positive impression.

Lastly, remember to connect these anecdotes to your overall message. Are you emphasizing resilience and growth in your career? Tie it back to the story where you learned from a setback. Highlighting the importance of teamwork? Refer back to an anecdote where your team accomplished the impossible. By doing so, not only do you enrich your speech with heartfelt stories, but you also reinforce your main messages in a vivid and impacting way.

Expressing Gratitude and Appreciation

A retirement speech, as you might agree, isn’t just a moment to shine a light on your journey; it’s also a golden opportunity to convey heartfelt gratitude and express sincere appreciation. And what’s the best place to start? Well, the beginning, of course!

Think back over your career. Consider the opportunities that have come your way. Remember the tasks you’ve carried out, the roles you’ve filled, and the growth you’ve experienced, all of which have contributed to the person and professional you are today. Who played a significant role in that process?

You might find it was a mentor who guided you, a team that believed in you, or a manager who challenged you ultimately driving you towards success. A kind soul in the canteen who made you smile every morning? Don’t forget them. It could also be the organization itself, providing an environment conducive to professional and personal growth.

When expressing gratitude, specificity is key. Saying “thank you” is good, but mentioning what you are grateful for precisely makes it even more impactful.

“I am grateful for being given the opportunity to lead the ABC project team. It was a challenging, yet profoundly rewarding experience which made me a better professional.”

Be wary of making the list too long though. Aim to touch on a few key people and experiences that had the most significant influence on your career.

Structuring Your Retirement Speech

You’ve done your research, you’ve gathered your notes, compiled your stories, and you’re ready to share your journey. The next step? Crafting the actual structure of your speech – a fundamental aspect that can determine how well your message resonates with your audience.

So, where should you begin? It’s often effective to adhere to the standard structure – initiate with an attention-grabbing introduction, follow up with a body containing your key points, and conclude with your farewell message, summarising your sentiments.

But how can you make sure you’ve got the right structure for your content? Let’s guide you through this step-by-step.

Creating an Impactful Introduction: Remember, first impressions matter. Your opening lines should draw your audience in, set the tone of your speech, and give a brief preview of what’s to come. Perhaps you could start with a light-hearted joke, or a profound quote, or a brief intriguing anecdote? Or how about an unexpected fact related to your workplace or industry? The goal is to captivate your audience right from the get-go.

Building a Strong Body: Aim to create a clear narrative that your audience can easily follow. Each of your key points should ideally flow from one to the next. Mix facts and figures with anecdotes and reflections, allowing your audience to engage both rationally and emotionally. Include the high points of your career, the growth you’ve experienced and the contributions you’ve made, as well as the challenges you’ve overcome – all of which underscore your journey. Let your personality and your experiences breathe life into your speech.

A Thoughtful Conclusion: This is your last impression, so make it count. Present your farewell sentiments along with words of appreciation, friendship, and hope. Reflect on the collective journey, and consider sharing your plans or hopes for the future. Make your concluding remarks memorable and uplifting, leaving your coworkers with feelings of camaraderie and inspiration.

Remember, the structure of your retirement speech isn’t a rigid framework but a flexible guideline that enables you to tell your story in an organized and engaging manner. No two retirement speeches are identical, and yours should authentically represent your unique journey.

And at the end of the day, what’s most important in retirement speech writing? It’s about connecting heart-to-heart, rekindling memories, leaving a meaningful impression, and saying goodbye with a touch of grace. Isn’t that worth striving for?

Crafting a Captivating Introduction

Let’s start with the beginning – the introduction. It’s your first few lines that set the tone for the rest of your retirement speech. So how do you make it captivating? It’s all about piquing interest and establishing an emotional connection right away.

One technique is to dive right into a story. It’s an age-old truth that people love stories, and launching your speech with a personal anecdote or inspiring moment from your career can immediately draw in your audience. Remember, though, to keep the narrative related to the theme of your speech.

Maybe, you’re more comfortable with humor? If so, consider kicking things off with a funny quip or joke. Injecting humor into your speech not only lightens the atmosphere, but lets your personality shine through. Be cautious, however – make sure your humor will be appreciated and understood by all in attendance.

Capturing attention right from the start requires a touch of creativity and authenticity. It could be a thought-provoking question, a surprising fact about your career, or even a heartfelt expression of feeling. You could say something like, “Can you imagine spending more than three decades in this fantastic company?” or, “I remember walking into this office for the first time like it was yesterday.”

While crafting the introduction, remember to introduce yourself – even if everyone already knows you. It’s a formal need, sure, but it’s also an opportunity to offer up a reflection of yourself from when you first began, compared to now. Trust me, it’ll lend more weight to the transformations discussed in your speech.

Your opening remarks should also hint at the theme of your speech. This guides your audience on what to expect and builds anticipation for the rest of your speech. The trick, my friends, is to keep it intriguing without giving too much away – like a movie trailer.

In conclusion, a captivating introduction is a blend of storytelling, humor, personal insights, and, above all, sincerity. It sets the stage for an engaging and memorable retirement speech. Remember, you’ve earned this moment, and your introduction is your first step to enjoying it.

Building a strong body to your retirement speech

After setting the stage with an engaging introduction, it’s time to fortify the heart of your speech – the body. This is where the magic truly happens, where stories unfold, and gratitude is expressed. But how do you construct it in a way that makes your retirement speech both memorable and impactful?

Start with outlining. Much like a road trip, you want to plan the route you’ll take from one point to another, and which interesting stops you’d like to make along the way. Identifying these different segments helps to structure your talk, ensuring a thorough and thoughtful journey.

  • Reflect on Your Journey: This is the prime opportunity to look back and share how your career evolved over time. What were your key milestones? What obstacles did you overcome? How did you grow as a professional and an individual?
  • Share Life Lessons & Learning: Being in the profession for many years, surely, you’ve accumulated a wealth of knowledge and insights. You can share the most valuable lessons you’ve learned with your co-workers, which can serve as words of wisdom and life advice.
  • Recognize the Contributions of Others: Acknowledge the people who have impacted your career positively. This can be colleagues, managers, or even family members who supported you through your journey.

Remember, this isn’t a sprint, but a reflective walk down memory lane. Connect the dots for your listeners, guiding them through your career narrative with sincere emotions and evocative details. While this is about your journey, it’s also a chance to instill lessons and strengthen bonds.

When explaining these touchpoints, consider utilizing storytelling techniques. Stories aren’t just entertaining, they’re familiar and relatable structures that help people comprehend and remember information. They tap into emotions, making them a powerful and captivating element to embed in your retirement speech body.

How do you recount your story? You might want to anchor it in a specific event and then expand, providing the what, why, and how. Create vivid images by using adjectives, verbs, and analogies, sparking the imagination of your listeners. Inject some humor, if it feels on-brand for you and comfortably aligns with the situation.

“Make them laugh, make them cry, but most importantly, make them remember you.”

In conclusion, building a strong body for your retirement speech is all about structuring it well, recounting your journey, sharing your wisdom, acknowledging the contributions of others, and tying it all together with storytelling. That’s the key to delivering a retirement speech that is equally enlightening as it is moving.

Looking ready to jot down those thoughts, are you? Great, because up next, we’ll learn how to end your retirement speech with pow.

Writing a strong conclusion to your retirement speech

The conclusion is where your retirement speech comes to its inevitable close – but that doesn’t mean it should end with a whimper. Remember, the best conclusions don’t just wrap things up in a neat bow; they leave an impact, giving your colleagues something to think about even after you’ve walked off the stage. It’s the cherry on top—the final memory your audience takes with them.

So, how do you end your speech with a bang, rather than an exhausted sigh? Here are a few tips:

  • Summarize the key points: You can briefly revisit the main points you’ve made in your speech. It helps to reinstate the central ideas, presenting them in a fresh light.
  • Call to action: No, you’re not selling anything, but you can surely inspire your colleagues to take some positive action or change their perspective on something. After all, with so many years of experience, you’re in a great position to inspire!
  • Use a quote: Be it from a classic book, a movie, or even a song—use it to add weight to your message. Quotes are familiar, and using them gives your speech a universal appeal.
  • Express your hopes for the future: As you conclude, you might also share your hopes and dreams both for yourself and your colleagues. It can include aspirations for the organization, team members, or wider industry trends.

Let’s be clear, the perfect closing is one that suits your style and message. You might end with a humorous quip or a heartfelt line that encapsulates your years at the company. And don’t forget—the end of the speech often marks the start of your farewell party, so closing on an upbeat note is always a good idea!

If you’re finding it hard to articulate your feelings as you conclude, it’s okay. I remember my own struggle to find the right words. In the end, I chose simplicity; I chose to speak from the heart. That’s where your colleagues will connect with you the most. After all, it is not every day that they get to see their colleague stepping into the liberating world of retirement.

So, don’t stress over crafting a speech that’s too sophisticated or rehearsed. Your retirement speech is all about authenticity—it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to express your joy, nostalgia, and gratitude. Make the most of it!

Adding Personal Touches and Customizations

Want to inject your unique personality into your retirement speech and make it truly represent who you are? Adding personal touches and customizations can help you achieve that. Let’s embark on this journey together, shall we?

You see, your retirement speech is more than a formal address; it’s a reflection of your journey, your personality, and your growth. With that in mind, it’s essential to ensure your speech includes those little quirks, anecdotes, and catchphrases that best capture your identity.

  • Use Your Unique Voice: You don’t have to make your speech formal and stale. If you’re known for your humor, weave in jokes. If you always offer words of wisdom, share some in your speech. Be yourself and just let your personality shine through.
  • Mention Significant Milestones: What were the highlights of your career? The ups, the downs, the turns of events that shaped you, or that one project that mattered a lot – don’t shy away from sharing these.
  • Share Personal Facts: Sharing some personal information can make your speech more relatable and interesting. Are you a science fiction fan? A garden enthusiast? Do you love to bake? Anything that adds a personal touch would work perfectly.

With these customizations, your speech would echo with authenticity. But be careful, you wouldn’t want to overshare, would you? Keep personal information to a minimum and keep the focus primarily on your journey and the company. Your speech after all, is still a professional one.

Another way to customize your speech is to tailor your content for your audience. Who will be listening to your speech? What do they need to hear? Paying attention to your audience’s needs and expectations can enhance the impact of your speech. You could ask, for instance, “What would my team find the most interesting or helpful?”

In the end, remember that this speech is your final curtain call in your professional journey, and you get to decide how it looks and sounds. So, why not add personal touches and customizations that will make your speech as unique as you are?

Retirement Speech Templates and Outline Samples for Retirees

Visual learners, rejoice! Nothing aids understanding like a well-structured example. Let’s delve into sample templates you can use as a starting point for your retirement speech. But remember, your speech should reflect you, so don’t hesitate to modify and customize these to your heart’s content. Feel free to add, edit, or discard parts based on what resonates with you the most.

“I once heard someone say, the art of writing is rewriting. Well, with retirement speeches, you could argue the art is in personalizing.”

Template 1: The Thankful Retiree

  • Introduction: Lighthearted joke or anecdote to connect with your audience
  • Gratitude: Expressing deep appreciation towards colleagues, superiors, or employees
  • Acknowledgment: Recognizing the shared experiences and growth
  • Memory Lane: Sharing a memorable story or event
  • Conclusion: Warm wishes for the company’s future, and expressing your excitement for the next phase of your life

Template 2: The Reflective Retiree

  • Introduction: Sharing your initial years or first impressions of the organization
  • Journey: Recounting your professional journey, touching upon ups and downs, successes and failures
  • Lessons Learnt: Discussing the valuable lessons you’ve acquired over the years
  • Acknowledgment: Thanking specific individuals who’ve made a significant impact on your career
  • Conclusion: Reflecting on your time spent, and looking forward to the freedom and possibilities retirement brings

As you can see, you’ve got the building blocks right here, but how you assemble them—that’s where the fun really begins! The key is to make it yours. Use your own words, your own style. Include what’s important, and leave out what isn’t. If the process seems a bit overwhelming at first, no worries. Take your time. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I dare say a good retirement speech isn’t either!

Are you tempted to just stick to the script? Surely it’s easier and less time-consuming. However, I’d encourage you to resist that pull. The beauty, and real power of a retirement speech, is in its authenticity and sincerity. Your speech can echo the uniqueness of your journey, and the emotional resonance of your experience. Who wouldn’t want that?

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Retirement speeches require tact, sincerity and preparation

How to Give a Great Retirement Speech

Retirement Wisdom · Aug 20, 2019 ·

by Joe Casey

A great retirement speech takes a little preparation. At some point in your life, you may be asked to give retirement speeches for a friend, colleague – or even your boss. Well, you’ll want to be prepared and navigate some of the unique nuances presented by this type of speech. And you’ll want to deliver a sincere retirement speech that strikes the right chord. But, a lot can go wrong if you’re not mindful.

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Focus on The Purpose of Your Retirement Speech

Start with Rule #1:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,

but people will never forget how   you made them feel.”

 – Maya Angelou

If you keep that top of mind, you’ll do well.

Avoid These 7 Retirement Speech Pitfalls

If you’re not careful in planning your retirement speech, you could end up doing more harm than good. Don’t be that co-worker or that Boss. Here are some real-life examples I’ve seen that you’ll want to avoid:

The Joker – Retirement speeches are tricky situations for humor. You will be likely to be speaking to an audience with different levels of familiarity with the retiree being honored. It may be tempting to revel in the legendary stories from that conference in Chicago or that Girls Night Out in Miami, but not everyone will appreciate that. It’s ok to use humor, but it’s wise to stop and consider your audience. It’s awkward for everyone when humor lands wrong. Especially for you.

The Out of Touch Well-Wisher  –  Retirement has changed dramatically in recent years. It is a much longer period of time than it used to be. Today, retirement often spans twenty to thirty years – or more. But, our beliefs and quotes about retirement haven’t caught up yet. It’s easy to use sentiments that simply don’t fit retirement today. Anecdotes about retiring to the rocking chair, the front porch, and the gold watch have all themselves been retired. For example, according to several surveys, the majority of people today (as high as 70%) expect to continue to work in some way during retirement. The odds are high that the person you’re speaking about may not be completely done with work. If they are, they’re probably planning an active retirement that’s very different than those of retirees a generation ago. Using well-worn retirement clichés risk making you look tone-deaf.

The Ageist – Ageism is prevalent in our society today. Many people aren’t aware that some of their statements are considered ageist. Some comments you may have heard in earlier retirement speeches are now considered insensitive. Be careful not to offend your honoree or others in the audience.

The Overlooker – You don’t want your retiree to leave feeling underappreciated. If you’re not well-prepared, you may forget to express a genuine appreciation for the person and what they’ve contributed to the organization.

The Truth Stretcher – On the other hand, it’s a mistake to puff up a person’s accomplishments in a retirement speech. A tell-tale sign is that co-workers start exchanging knowing glances ( “Bob certainly didn’t do that!” ). Worse yet, the honoree will know if you’re stretching it too.

The Rambling Wreck – You’ve probably been in an audience when speakers didn’t fully prepare. Their anxiety was palpable. They didn’t seem to have a sense of where they are going. What did most of them do? They kept talking … and talking. They meandered down paths that they conjured up on the fly and went go on and on. Winging it showed that they didn’t think this was important enough to prepare for in advance. That’s definitely not the right message.

The Robot – On the other hand, you’ve also probably heard speakers who are so well-prepared, so well organized and efficient that everything ran like clockwork. They hit all their marks – except for one thing. They forget to express any emotion. They left the guest of honor and the audience feeling flat, and let down.

7 Steps to a Great Retirement Speech

Think about how you want the person to feel  – always remember rule #1 (above)., use a simple framework.

It can be as simple as:

A. Thank Your Audience

B. Express Why You’re All Here

C. Talk About How This Person Made a Difference

D. Extend Best Wishes on Their Next Chapter

Review Your Remarks with Someone You Trust

Balance the past and the future.

  • Be Sincere – Keep it real. Offer your genuine sentiments and well wishes on the future. Make your new retiree feel honored, respected, and valued.

A retirement speech is one of the last experiences someone will go through in a career. By taking the time to prepare, you can make yours a sincere retirement speech and a memorable gift.

Joe Casey is a former senior HR executive at Merrill Lynch, who’s created a second career as a retirement coach. He holds a Masters in Gerontology from the University of Southern California and, as a retirement coach and Designing Your Life coach, he helps people discover What’s Next after their primary career. 

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How to Give a Retirement Gift That’s Meaningful

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Guide On How To Write An Amazing Retirement Speech With Examples

what to say during retirement speech

While some may view a farewell or retirement speech as optional, it’s far more than a mere formality. It offers a powerful opportunity for both the retiree and their colleagues, friends, and family to experience closure, reflection, and connection. 

For the retiree, it’s a chance to share their story, reconnect with those they’ve touched, and express gratitude. For colleagues, friends, and family, it’s a moment to appreciate, learn, and be inspired. This speech can even be a cathartic release for the retiree, allowing them to share words they’ve held close.

In this guide, I’ll provide you with ideas and tips on crafting a memorable and impactful retirement speech, whether for yourself or on behalf of another retiree. The latter half will offer some curated examples to inspire your own unique message. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

How To Write A Farewell Speech: Step-by-Step Guide

Here’s a step-by-step guide to crafting a memorable and impactful farewell speech, packed with practical writing and public speaking tips. Follow these steps to create a speech that resonates and leaves a lasting impression.

Note : This guide primarily assumes you’re the retiree, but the steps and tips are equally applicable if you’re writing on someone’s behalf or honoring a retiree. Just adapt the language as needed.

1. Plan Ahead

Before diving into your farewell retirement speech, ensure you have ample time to plan and prepare. Create a rough outline beforehand, jotting down key points you want to cover.

Some crucial points you may want to prioritize in your draft outline:

  • The beginning : Reflect on your early days in the company. How did your journey start?
  • The middle : Share significant experiences and anecdotes from your time here. What shaped your journey?
  • The end : Discuss your retirement plans and the emotions surrounding your departure. How are you approaching this new chapter?

Remember, these are just suggestions; choose the aspects that resonate most with you and your story.

Writing Tip: Prioritize outlining first. It allows you to visualize the flow of your speech. Work your way down to the last bullet point, and don’t hesitate to cross out anything that feels inappropriate or uninteresting.

Public Speaking Tip: Aim to internalize your outline. It will guide you seamlessly if you choose to deliver the speech without a script.

2. Consider The Audience

Once your outline is complete, it’s time to flesh out the details and craft your script. Before diving in, familiarize yourself with your audience.

Remember, tailoring your speech to your listeners is crucial. Consider their age range and interests. If children will be present, adjust your language accordingly. Similarly, for a formal event, minimize potentially offensive jokes or anecdotes, especially about colleagues or supervisors. You want to leave a positive lasting impression, not be remembered as someone who has turned hostile with retirement.

Writing Tip : Prioritize clear and relatable language, using examples that resonate with your audience’s level of understanding. While AI can be a helpful tool, carefully review its output as the tone and language it generates can sometimes be extreme or inappropriate.

Public Speaking Tip : Establish eye contact to connect with your audience. Consider encouraging participation by asking questions or inviting them to share their own stories, but be mindful of time constraints and use your judgment when deciding if interacting with individuals in the audience is feasible.

3. Set A Goal For Your Speech

Decide what you want to achieve with your speech. Do you want to express gratitude, share memories, or offer advice? While you may have each of those covered in your speech, it’s still critical to choose one of them as your speech’s main theme. Having a clear goal will help you to structure your speech and stay focused.

Writing Tip : Your farewell retirement speech is a unique chance to create a lasting impression that reflects your true essence. Think about what will resonate most with you and your audience. Also, write it as if it’s the last thing you’ll write in your life.

Public Speaking Tip : Sharing personal experiences or feelings can deeply connect with the audience. While staying within your comfort zone is important, consider injecting moments of vulnerability to add authenticity and emotional resonance.

4. Brainstorm Ideas

With a solid outline as your compass and your audience in mind, you can start enriching your script with fresh ideas and engaging content. While your retirement speech holds the potential for countless anecdotes, don’t forget to balance it with lighthearted moments and playful touches.

Begin by brainstorming all the elements you want to weave into your speech. Consider personal stories, noteworthy achievements, and pearls of wisdom you wish to share. Don’t hold back—let your imagination run wild!

Writing Tip : While it’s important to acknowledge your achievements, remember not to overemphasize them or let them overshadow the essence of your speech. Your personal journey takes center stage.

Public Speaking Tip : Watch out for overly playful or flippant tones that might undermine your message. If you become aware of sounding cheeky, playfully acknowledge it and redirect the focus to a more serious tone.

5. Do Research

As you expand your retirement speech with additional content, consider supporting your claims and stories with research. While your personal experiences are inherently credible, verifying surrounding details adds a layer of factuality and gravitas to your message.

Grounding your anecdotes in verifiable truth can significantly enhance your credibility and persuasiveness, effectively driving your points home with greater impact. 

For example, if you have a remarkable story from your work, you might consider speaking to others who were present to corroborate the events. This not only strengthens your story’s credibility but can also add more nuance and richness through their perspectives.

Writing Tip : Pepper your speech with specific examples and anecdotes to illustrate your achievements and the impact you’ve made on the company. These personal accounts will resonate powerfully with your audience.

Public Speaking Tip : Leverage the presence of individuals you consulted during your research. Their involvement can amplify your claims and add weight to your stories, further solidifying your credibility and speech’s impact.

6. Organize Your Ideas

At this point, your script is becoming longer and longer, filled with memory-inducing details. Now, it can become a hot mess, so you need to make sure that you organize all the thoughts and stories you’ve written.

Group your ideas by theme and decide on the order in which you want to present them. This will help you to create a clear and logical structure for your speech.

Writing Tip : Perform mind mapping. It’s a visual brainstorming technique that can help you organize your thoughts effectively, especially when crafting a complex speech. There are many apps out there that provide helpful and intuitive mind mapping.

Public Speaking Tip : When delivering your speech, remember your well-organized writing plan!  But also chunk your ideas, pause between chunks, and signpost your transitions.

7. Write Your Initial Draft

With your ideas nicely organized, you’re ready to write your initial draft. Start by making a memorable introduction that grabs your audience’s attention right away. This is your chance to set the stage and show your tone, whether it’s heartfelt, funny, or a bit of both.

Follow your outline and include personal stories, sincere thanks, and well-timed humor. Remember, balance is important. Your stories should highlight your journey, your thanks should feel genuine, and your humor should bring smiles without making light of the occasion.

Also, keep it short and sweet. Aim for a speech that holds the audience’s interest for about five to 10 minutes to leave a lasting impression. And most importantly, speak from the heart. Use a conversational tone, like you’re sharing these stories with old friends, which is basically what you’re going to do during a speech.

By the way, five to 10 minutes of speech is roughly equivalent to 1,000 to 2,000 words. As you can see, you have a lot of legroom.

Writing Tip: Keep it flexible. Your outline is a guide, not a rigid framework. Be open to modifying it as you write and rehearse your speech. Also, write in a way that feels natural to you, as if you were conversing with a friend.

Public Speaking Tip: Your first draft will likely evolve as you refine your ideas and practice your delivery. Don’t get attached to it or feel pressure to memorize it right away. Meanwhile, don’t get rid of your outline. Your outline serves as a valuable roadmap later, even after you’ve written the full speech. It can help you stay on track, remember key points, and maintain logical flow.

8. Edit And Revise

Depending on the time available, you can edit and revise your initial draft until you are satisfied with it. Focus on clarity, conciseness, and sincerity. Also, make sure to eliminate inappropriate lines and language.

Writing Tip : Read it aloud. Hearing your writing can help you identify clunky sentences and areas that need improvement.

Public Speaking Tip : Prepare key phrases and responses. Anticipate questions or situations where you might need to ad-lib. Some of your listeners may take a jab at you, ask questions, or try to humor you while you speak. It’s unavoidable. So, have prepared answers or transitions ready.

9. Practice Your Delivery

Practicing your delivery is still a part of the writing process. While reading your lines out loud may help you find awkward and even grammatically erroneous sentences and paragraphs, practicing your delivery can help you identify problems with pacing, length, and impact.

Rehearse your delivery several times before the big day and edit as you go. This not only familiarizes you with the content but also helps you avoid stumbles and deliver with confidence. 

To ensure comfort and confidence on the big day, practice your delivery in front of a mirror or with a friend. Remember to time your speech to avoid exceeding or falling short of the allotted duration.

Writing Tip: Imagine the questions your audience might ask, especially for complex sections that could ignite their curiosity. By seamlessly incorporating answers within your speech, you can proactively clarify any potential doubts and maintain a smooth, uninterrupted flow.

Public Speaking Tip: Practice your pacing, tone, and gestures. Record yourself and watch the playback to identify areas where you can improve.

Elements Of An Amazing Farewell Retirement Speech

Though you’ve reached the end of the steps on how to write a great farewell retirement speech, chances are you haven’t begun writing yet (that’s a good thing!). Before diving in, be sure to consider these key elements for a truly amazing speech—aspects the previous section might have missed.

1. A Strong Opening

A powerful opening to your retirement speech isn’t just a formality; it’s a strategic move with several compelling advantages:

  • It suggests there are more interesting things to come and immediately draws the audience in.
  • It establishes your voice and personality, captivating them with a memorable start even if they already know you. 
  • It raises anticipation and curiosity, leaving them eager to hear the rest of your story and the wisdom you’ll share.

Now, how do you translate this advice into an unforgettable start?

Begin with a memorable and attention-grabbing opening that sets the tone for the rest of your speech. This could be a funny retirement joke that breaks the ice and eases any tension, a personal anecdote that reveals a glimpse into your journey, or a retirement quote that resonates with your personality or your time at the company.

2. Gratitude

As a retiree, take a moment to express gratitude and appreciation to your colleagues, managers, and mentors. Thank the people who helped you along the way, acknowledging their hard work, dedication, guidance, and support. This act not only reinforces the positive relationships you’ve built but also showcases your deep appreciation for their contributions.

3. Achievement Highlights

While highlighting your achievements is a natural part of a retirement speech, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Here’s why your speech offers so much more:

  • Retirement speeches offer a chance to reflect : bask in achievements, learn from challenges, and express gratitude—a rare mic drop without judgment.
  • Shine, but share the spotlight : Acknowledge mentors, teams, and the community you built. Focus on impactful accomplishments that inspire, not just accolades.
  • Balance triumphs with wisdom : Your speech becomes a testament—a farewell filled with gratitude, impact, and the enduring spirit of your career.

No need to fear self-promotion, but remember, don’t cross the line and brag about everything about yourself for more than you should. 

Stories can be powerful tools for communication, helping to engage your audience. Choose stories that are relevant to your audience and effectively illustrate your points. Keep them brief and to the point, using them to highlight the impact of your work and the relationships you’ve built.

5. Memorable Moments

For a lighter touch, consider sharing a humorous anecdote that embodies your personality or your dedication to work. Choose something that resonates with you and your colleagues, allowing them to see you beyond just your professional achievements.

Some of the memorable moments you can try to include in your speech are the following:

  • A humorous yet relatable story : Share a light-hearted anecdote that showcases your personality and connects with the audience.
  • A significant challenge you overcame : Describe a moment when you faced adversity and emerged stronger, highlighting your resilience and problem-solving skills.
  • A touching moment of impact : Share a story where your work positively affected someone or the community, demonstrating the purpose and value you brought.

While it’s good to include a lot, remember that you don’t need to tell everything. Leave yourself and your audience some topics to discuss after the speech.

6. Well Wishes

Add heartfelt wishes to your retirement speech. They can make room for your speech to express your thanks, strengthen bonds with the audience, and provide positive closure. They can also capture your audience’s attention and inspire them.

Leave a lasting legacy of goodwill. Well-wishes, sprinkled with personalized mentions and optimism, show you value the relationships built. They warm your farewell and build camaraderie, creating a cherished memory for all.

7. Positivity

Making your speech positive allows you and others to celebrate triumphs more fully, embrace the future with optimism, and solidify bonds with the audience. It also creates a joyful atmosphere, which is something everybody would definitely appreciate.

Beyond these benefits, positivity simply feels good. It allows you to end your career on a high note, filled with joy and satisfaction. It also sets a positive precedent for your retirement, paving the way for new adventures and experiences.

8. Sincerity

Ticking off retirement speech boxes can be tempting, but it often leads to a calculated, formulaic monologue that falls flat. Authenticity, on the other hand, amplifies connections, creates a lasting impact, and sparks genuine inspiration. 

Why? A heartfelt retirement or farewell speech isn’t a checklist; it’s an opportunity to express yourself honestly to celebrate your career with integrity. This unfiltered expression resonates with others, forging a genuine farewell that honors your achievements and strengthens your bonds. 

Sincerity simply feels right and it can allow you to end your journey with grace and authenticity. This, more than anything, will leave a lasting impression, not just on those present, but on your own path ahead.

9. Concision

While “concision” may not be the most common word, it’s the secret ingredient for a captivating retirement speech. Avoid rambling detours and focus on the essence of your journey. It’s easy to get lost in memories, but prioritize the core moments and keep your audience enthralled. 

As a rule of thumb, five minutes of speech is highly acceptable, but it’s okay to go longer than that as long as you don’t exceed 10 minutes. Remember, like a good host, leave them wanting more, not wishing for the end.

Injecting some humor into your retirement speech benefits both you and your audience. For starters, a well-timed joke can help dissolve your nervous tension, especially for those of us who aren’t seasoned public speakers. Beyond calming your nerves, humor can also forge a relatable connection with your listeners and leave a lasting positive impression.

Humor further enhances engagement by keeping the audience on their toes and invested in your message. And let’s be honest, a well-placed laugh can provide a welcome emotional release after recounting the trials and triumphs of your career. 

While sharing the dramatic moments is valuable, a well-timed joke can lighten the mood and prevent tears (of boredom, of course!). Here are a few retirement speech jokes you may want to draw inspiration from:

  • Age-Related Humor : “Retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Turns out, ‘early bird’ doesn’t mean waking up at 5 am anymore. Now it means getting the worm discount at Denny’s!”
  • Work-Life Balance Shift : “My colleagues keep asking me what my retirement plans are. Well, first I’m going to sleep for a week straight, then I’m going to spend another week figuring out how to turn off my email notifications forever!”
  • Time For Hobbies : “Finally retired! Now I have all the time in the world to do all those things I never had time for, like cleaning the garage… again… for the third time this week.”
  • Travel Plans (Or Not) : “They say retirement is all about traveling the world. Honestly, the furthest I plan on going is my neighbor’s hammock—it has a built-in margarita holder, you know.”
  • Goodbye Office Life : “Retirement isn’t just about leaving the office; it’s about leaving the office chair-induced back pain behind. Goodbye, ergonomic nightmare! Hello, comfy recliner!”

Conclude your address with a statement that resonates. Choose a funny retirement quote or expression that embodies the essence of your career and accomplishments, delivered with the gravitas of one taking their final bow. This final message will echo long after your speech is done.

11. Visuals

Elevate your retirement speech by utilizing visuals. With projectors and widescreen televisions now being common in homes and function halls, you can expect to have the opportunity to show some relevant pictures and videos, which can help with your speech.

Photos in a slideshow can illustrate key points and add engagement. Alternatively, create a fun tribute video featuring colleagues, family, and friends. If that sounds daunting, fear not! Here are some of my articles that can help you out with retirement slideshows and tribute videos and clips .

12. A Positive Note

Having a highly positive speech may not be possible. However, you should at least make sure that you end with a positive note.

Concluding your retirement speech on a positive note not only leaves everyone with a smile but also provides a profound sense of closure and satisfaction. This shared positivity extends beyond mere cheer as it serves a more profound purpose. It enables you to wrap up your career on a high note, filled with joy and contentment. 

In essence, by ending on a positive and uplifting tone, you not only mark the end of one chapter but also signal the promising beginning of another, creating a seamless transition into the next phase of your life.

Farewell Retirement Speech Examples

Now that you’re familiar with the process of writing a farewell retirement speech and the crucial elements you can include, it’s time for some inspiring examples!

Please note that these examples are condensed for brevity and lack specific details. They’re meant to serve as adaptable templates, not ready-made speeches.

Without further ado, let’s explore these examples!

Retirement Speech For Retirees

Here’s a sample of a retirement speech by a retiree:

Good evening, everyone. I am truly honored to be standing here today, surrounded by my colleagues and friends, to celebrate my retirement. After many years of hard work and dedication, reflecting on my career and the many memories I’ve made along the way feels incredible. As I look back on my time with this company, I am struck by the many challenges and accomplishments that I’ve experienced. I’ve worked with some incredible people, faced some difficult obstacles, and come out on the other side as a stronger and more resilient person. I am especially grateful for the friendships and relationships that I’ve formed over the years. Working alongside such talented and committed individuals has been a privilege, and I know that the memories we’ve made together will last a lifetime. To my colleagues and managers, I want to express my deep appreciation for your guidance and support throughout my career. Your mentorship and advice have been invaluable to me, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from you. To those still working, I want to share a few words of wisdom I’ve learned throughout my career. First, never lose sight of your passion and your purpose. Your passion will keep you motivated and inspired and your purpose will guide your actions and decisions. Second, always remember the importance of teamwork and collaboration. None of us can achieve our goals alone, and only through working together can we make a real impact. Finally, I want to say thank you to everyone in attendance today. Your friendship and support have meant the world to me, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to have worked with you. I will miss you all dearly, but I am excited for the next chapter in my life. As I move on to the next phase of my journey, I feel a sense of excitement and anticipation for what’s to come. I know that retirement will bring its own set of challenges and adventures, and I am ready to embrace them with open arms. Again, thank you for your kindness, generosity, and friendship. Working alongside you has been an honor and a privilege, and I will always cherish the memories we’ve made together.

Retirement Speech For Teachers

Here’s a sample of a retirement speech by a retiring teacher:

Dear students, colleagues, and friends, I stand before you today with mixed emotions as I announce my retirement from teaching. After [insert number of years] years of being in the classroom, it’s time for me to step back and enjoy the fruits of my labor. As I reflect on my career, I’m filled with a sense of pride and gratitude. Teaching has been more than just a job for me. It has been a calling, a passion that has enriched my life in ways I never thought possible. To my students, I want to say thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey. I have learned so much from you, and I hope that I have also imparted some knowledge and wisdom to you. Watching you grow and develop into successful adults has been the most rewarding part of my job. To my colleagues, I want to express my appreciation for the support and encouragement you have given me over the years. You have been more than just co-workers; you have been my friends and confidantes. I will miss our collaborations and discussions about teaching, but I’m excited to see what the future holds for you and the students. As I begin this new chapter in my life, I look forward to spending more time with my family, traveling, and pursuing other interests. But I will always remember the memories and experiences that I have gained from my time as a teacher. Thank you all for the wonderful years I have spent here, and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Retirement Speech For Colleague

Here’s a sample retirement speech from a coworker:

Dear colleagues and friends, Today is a bittersweet day for all of us as we gather to celebrate the retirement of our esteemed colleague and friend [Retiree’s Name]. We’re here to honor [Retiree’s Name] and to acknowledge the incredible contributions [they/he/she] has made to our organization. It’s hard to imagine our workplace without [Retiree’s Name]. [He/She] has been a constant presence here for [insert number of years] years and has played a pivotal role in shaping the culture and success of our team. [Retiree’s Name] has always been a person who leads by example. [He/She] is hardworking, committed, and always willing to lend a helping hand. [He/She] has inspired all of us to be better colleagues and better people. [His/Her] dedication to our team and our mission is something we will always remember. As [Retiree’s Name] begins a new chapter in [his/her] life, we want to express our deepest gratitude for all [he/she] has done for us. [His/Her] hard work, leadership, and unwavering dedication to our team will be greatly missed. [Retiree’s Name], we wish you all the best in your retirement. We hope you will take this opportunity to relax, travel, spend time with your family and friends, and pursue everything you’ve always wanted to do. Know that you leave a lasting legacy here, and you will always be a part of our team. Thank you for being such an amazing colleague, mentor, and friend. We will miss you dearly. Congratulations on your retirement!

Retirement Speech For A Retiree Given By A Friend

Here’s a sample retirement speech from a friend:

Dear [Retiree’s Name], As I stand before you today, I feel both joy and sadness. Joy, because I’m so happy for you as you embark on your retirement journey, and sadness because I know our time together will be more limited. But today is about celebrating you, my friend, and I’m honored to have this opportunity to do so. You have been my true friend over the years, and I’m grateful for the memories we’ve shared. We’ve been through a lot from our college days to our careers. And now, as you retire, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride in all that you’ve accomplished. Your work has always been a source of inspiration to me. I have watched you dedicate yourself to your profession, and your passion and commitment have always been evident. Your work has touched so many lives, and you leave a legacy of excellence that will be hard to match. But as much as I admire your professional accomplishments, what I treasure most about our friendship is the person you are. You have always been a kind, caring, and loyal friend. Your wit, humor, and wisdom have enriched my life countless times. As you move into this new phase of your life, I hope you’ll take some time to reflect on all that you’ve achieved. But more importantly, I hope you’ll savor the simple pleasures of life—time with loved ones, new experiences, and the chance to pursue hobbies and interests that may have taken a back seat to work. So my dear friend, as you retire, know that you leave behind a legacy of excellence, friendship, and inspiration. You will be missed, but your impact will live on. Congratulations on your retirement, and I wish you all the happiness in the world.

Retirement Speech For Employee From A Boss Or Colleague

Here’s a sample corporate retirement speech for an employee from a boss or colleague:

Good afternoon, everyone. Today, we’re here to celebrate the retirement of one of our most dedicated and hardworking employees, [Retiree’s Name]. [He/She] has been an integral part of our team for [insert number of years] years, and we’re all sad to see [him/her] go. [Retiree’s Name] has been a true asset to our company. [His/Her] hard work, leadership, and innovative thinking have helped us achieve some of our most important goals. [His/Her] contributions to our team and our mission will be missed. As [Retiree’s Name] moves into retirement, we want to express our deep gratitude for all that [he/she] has done for our company. [He/She] has played a key role in making us the successful organization we are today, and [his/her] influence will be felt for years to come. But beyond [Retiree’s Name]’s professional achievements, [he/she] has been a valued colleague and friend to many of us. [His/Her] kindness, generosity, and willingness to help others have left a lasting impression on all of us. [Retiree’s Name], thank you for your hard work, dedication, and commitment to our company. You leave behind a legacy of excellence that will inspire us for years to come. We wish you all the best as you move into this new chapter of your life. We hope you will take this opportunity to relax, spend time with your loved ones, and pursue everything you’ve always wanted to do. We will miss you dearly, but we’re excited to see what the future holds for you. Congratulations on your retirement, and have fun!

Retirement Speech For Boss From An Employee Or Another Boss

Here’s a sample of a retirement speech for a boss:

Good afternoon, everyone. Today, we are gathered here to celebrate the retirement of one of the most esteemed leaders in our organization, [Retiree’s Name]. [He/She] has been an integral part of our team for [insert number of years] years, and [he/she] will be greatly missed. [Retiree’s Name] has been an outstanding boss and mentor to all of us. [His/Her] vision, leadership, and passion have helped us achieve some of our most important goals. [His/Her] contributions to our team and our mission have been immeasurable. As a boss, [Retiree’s Name] has inspired us all to improve. [His/Her] ability to lead by example, challenge us to achieve our full potential, and create a culture of excellence has been remarkable. [His/Her] wisdom, guidance, and unwavering support have left a lasting impact on our organization and every one of us. But beyond [Retiree’s Name]’s professional accomplishments, [he/she] has been a valued colleague and friend to many of us. [His/Her] kindness, generosity, and willingness to help others have left a lasting impression on all of us. [Retiree’s Name], thank you for your tireless work and unwavering commitment to our organization. You have left an indelible mark on our company and our lives, and we are forever grateful for all that you have done for us. As you move into retirement, we hope you will take this opportunity to relax, spend time with your loved ones, and pursue all the things you’ve always wanted to do. We know that you will continue to inspire and lead in whatever you do next, and we wish you all the best in this next chapter of your life. Congratulations on your retirement, and thank you for everything.

Retirement Speech For Principals From Teachers Or School Staff

Here’s a sample retirement speech for a principal from teachers or school staff:

Good afternoon, everyone. Today, we gather to celebrate the retirement of one of the most distinguished and accomplished principals to ever lead our school, [Retiree’s Name]. [He/She] has been an integral part of our school community for [insert number of years] years, and [he/she] will be greatly missed. As a principal, [Retiree’s Name] has been more than just a leader. [He/She] has been a mentor, a role model, and a champion for our students, faculty, and staff. [His/Her] unwavering commitment to excellence, [his/her] tireless work ethic, and [his/her] dedication to our school have left an indelible mark on our community. Under [Retiree’s Name]’s leadership, our school has thrived. [He/She] has implemented innovative programs, embraced new technologies, and fostered a culture of learning and growth that has inspired us all. [His/Her] ability to connect with students and staff on a personal level, to listen to their concerns, and to provide guidance and support has made [him/her] one of the most beloved leaders in our school. But [Retiree’s Name]’s impact goes far beyond our school walls. [He/She] has been an active member of our community, serving on boards, volunteering, and always striving to make our city a better place. [His/Her] leadership and vision have profoundly impacted our entire community, and [he/she] will be remembered as one of the most outstanding educators and leaders of our time. [Retiree’s Name], we want to thank you for your dedication, your passion, and your unwavering commitment to our school and our community. You have left a lasting legacy of excellence that will continue to inspire future generations of students, faculty, and staff . As you embark on this next phase of your life, we hope you will take some time to reflect on all that you’ve accomplished. You have touched so many lives, and your impact will be felt for years to come. Congratulations on your retirement, and have a happy, healthy, and joyful retired life.

Retirement Speech For Father From Children

Here’s a retirement speech example for your father:

Good evening, everyone. Today, we come together to celebrate a very special man—my father—[Retiree’s Name]. After [insert number of years] years of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice, my father has decided to retire. For as long as I can remember, my father has been the hardest-working man I know. He has always put his family first, and he has sacrificed so much to provide for us. Through his tireless work and unwavering commitment, my father has built a legacy of strength, determination, and love that will live on for generations. As a father, my dad has been my rock. He has been there for me through thick and thin, always providing a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, and a guiding hand. His wisdom, compassion, and selflessness have helped shape me into the person I am today, and I am forever grateful for his love and support. Now that my father is retiring, I know that he will finally have the chance to relax and enjoy his well-deserved retirement. I am excited to see him explore new hobbies, travel the world, and spend more time with his us. Dad, on behalf of our family, I want to thank you for all that you have done for us. You have been an amazing father, provider, and role model, and we are so proud of all that you have accomplished. You have left an indelible mark on our lives, and we will always cherish the memories we’ve shared and the memories to come. As you enter this next phase of your life, know that we are here for you and support you. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you, and we know that you will continue to inspire and lead in whatever you do next. Congratulations on your retirement, Dad, and thank you for everything.

Retirement Speech For Mom From Children

Here’s a sample retirement speech for a mother from her children:

Welcome, everyone. Today, we gather to celebrate a remarkable woman who has dedicated her life to her family and her career—my mother—[Retiree’s Name]. After [insert number of years] years of hard work, sacrifice, and devotion, my mother has decided to retire. As a mother, my mom has been an inspiration to us all. She has always put her family first, sacrificing so much to provide for us, support us, and love us unconditionally. Through her unwavering commitment and dedication, my mother has built a legacy of strength, resilience, and compassion that will live on for generations. As a professional, my mother has been a true leader. She has dedicated her career to [insert profession], making a profound impact on the lives of so many people. Her expertise, innovation, and passion have inspired colleagues, mentees, and students alike, and she will be remembered as one of the most outstanding professionals in her field. Now that my mother is retiring, I know that she will finally have the chance to relax and enjoy [her/his] well-deserved retirement. I am excited to see her explore new hobbies, travel the world, and spend more time with her loved ones. Mom, on behalf of our family, I want to thank you for all that you have done for us. You have been an amazing mother, provider, and role model, and we are so proud of all that you have accomplished. You have left an indelible mark on our lives, and we will always cherish the memories we’ve shared. As you enter this next phase of your life, know that we are here for you and support you. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you. Make sure to kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Congratulations Mom. You deserve a happy, healthy, and joyful retirement.

Retirement Speech For Retired Military Personnel

Here’s an example of a military retirement speech by a retiree:

Good afternoon, everyone. As I stand here today, I am filled with mixed emotions. On the one hand, I am excited for the next chapter in my life, but on the other hand, I am sad to be leaving behind the military family that has become such a big part of my life. After [number] years of service, it is time for me to hang up my uniform and retire. When I first joined the military, I could never have imagined the incredible experiences that were in store for me. I have had the privilege of serving alongside some of the finest men and women this country has to offer. Together, we have faced countless challenges, from training exercises to deployments to combat missions. Through it all, I have learned the true meaning of teamwork and the importance of trust, loyalty, and dedication. I would like to take a moment to thank my fellow service members for their unwavering support and camaraderie. You have made my time in the military unforgettable, and I am honored to have served alongside every one of you. I would also like to thank my family for their constant love and encouragement. Your sacrifices and support have made it possible for me to pursue my dreams and proudly serve my country. Without you, I would not be where I am today. As I prepare to transition to civilian life, I am excited about what the future holds. I look forward to spending more time with my loved ones, pursuing new interests and hobbies, and positively impacting my community. I want to express my gratitude to the military for allowing me to serve my country and make a difference in the world. Working alongside you has been an honor and a privilege, and I will always cherish the memories we’ve made together. Thank you, and goodbye!

Retirement Speech For Retired Military Personnel From Another Personnel

Here’s a sample military retirement speech for a retiree:

Dear [Retiree’s name], Today, we gather to honor and celebrate your years of dedicated service to our country. You have served with distinction, and we are grateful for your unwavering commitment to our mission. Throughout your career, you have demonstrated the qualities that define the best of the military: loyalty, honor, and selflessness. You have sacrificed much, spent long hours away from your loved ones, and faced danger with courage and resolve. Your service has made a real difference, and we are proud to have served alongside you. But now, as you enter this new phase of your life, we know you will continue to impact the world. You will apply the lessons you learned in the military to whatever path you choose next. You will inspire others with your example, just as you have inspired us. As you leave the service, we want you to know that you will always be a part of our military family. We will remember your contributions, and we will be here for you whenever you need us. On behalf of everyone here, I want to thank you for your service and wish you a happy and fulfilling retirement. May the years ahead be filled with joy, adventure, and the satisfaction of a life well-lived. Congratulations!

A farewell retirement speech is more than just a formality. It’s a meaningful moment for saying goodbye, reflecting on your journey, and connecting with your colleagues, friends, and family.

When you retire, you often get one chance to share your story, which is through your retirement speech. Take this unique opportunity to make your story known and leave a lasting impression on everyone. To do so, follow the steps and suggestions mentioned earlier. Also, feel free to use the examples provided and add your own experiences and personality to them.

If you want to learn more about retiree life and get extra insights, check out my website for more relevant content.

My wife and I quit the rat race and retired in 2021. We RV'ed around the US for a couple of years and now we're slow traveling outside the US!

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what to say during retirement speech

Retirement Speech Examples To Send You Off In Style

Retirement speech examples

Your retirement day speech is an opportunity to say goodbye to those you have worked with over the years. While it may not be a long speech, it typically includes thanks, stories about the past, what you are looking forward to, and motivation for other workers. Here are some retirement speech examples.

Your retirement represents a significant milestone in your life – it’s a time to bid farewell to a long and fulfilling career and embark on a new chapter of well-deserved relaxation and exploration. Delivering a retirement or farewell speech is a poignant and cherished tradition, offering an opportunity to reflect on the past and share simple messages of gratitude with colleagues, friends, and family.

This article presents a collection of inspiring retirement speech examples designed to help retirees craft their own memorable farewell addresses. Whether you’re seeking a touch of humor, heartfelt appreciation, or words of wisdom, these speeches will provide you with valuable guidance to create a lasting impression at your retirement celebration.

Table of Contents

What Is The Purpose Of A Retirement Speech?

The purpose of a retirement farewell speech is multi-faceted and holds significant meaning for the retiree and their audience. Here are a few key purposes:

  • It provides an opportunity for the retiree to  reflect on their career journey, accomplishments, and experiences throughout their working years. It also serves as a celebration of their contributions, highlighting milestones, successes, and the impact they have had on their profession.
  • They are a platform to  express sincere appreciation and gratitude to colleagues, mentors, friends, and family members  who have supported and influenced the retiree through their career. The retiree can acknowledge the individuals who have positively impacted their career and express heartfelt thanks for their guidance, collaboration, and friendship.
  • A retirement speech often includes  valuable insights, life lessons, and wisdom  gained over the course of a career. Retirees can share their experiences, offering advice and inspiration to those still working or embarking on their own professional journeys.
  • Retirement speeches  mark the transition from work to retirement .  They allow retirees to say goodbye to their colleagues and wish them good luck in the future.

What Do You Say When Retiring From A Job?

Retirement speech example for work to retirement

When retiring from a job, here are five examples of what you can say to make your retirement speech memorable:

  • Expressing Gratitude:  “Today, as I bid farewell to this incredible chapter of my life, I want to express my deepest gratitude to each and every one of you. Working alongside such talented and dedicated individuals has been an absolute privilege.”
  • Reflecting on Accomplishments : “As I reflect on my career, I am filled with immense pride and gratitude. Together, we have achieved great milestones and overcome numerous challenges. From groundbreaking projects to moments of triumph, each accomplishment has been a testament to our collective work ethic, dedication, and passion.”
  • Sharing Personal Growth:  “During my years of service here, I have grown not only professionally but also personally. This organization has provided invaluable opportunities to learn and develop my skills. I am forever grateful for the mentorship, guidance, and encouragement I have received.”
  • Offering Words of Wisdom : “As I step into retirement, I would like to share a few words of wisdom I have gathered along the way. Cherish the relationships you build; they are the true wealth of any career. Embrace change with an open mind, as it often leads to new and exciting possibilities.”
  • Looking to the Future:  “While this is a bittersweet moment, it also marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter. Retirement is not the end but rather a fresh start filled with endless possibilities. I wish each of you continued success and fulfillment in your journeys.

What Do You Say At An Employee Retirement Party?

An employee retirement party provides a more relaxed and celebratory atmosphere than a formal work setting.  While the overall tone may be casual, you should still deliver a thoughtful and meaningful speech containing the right words.

Here are some points to consider for your speech at an employee retirement party:

  • Begin by  warmly welcoming everyone  to the retirement party and expressing gratitude for their presence.  Acknowledge the retiree and highlight their significant contributions and achievements throughout their career.
  • Take a moment to  reflect on the retiree’s career journey and milestones.  Share anecdotes, stories, and memorable moments that showcase their impact on the organization, colleagues, and the broader work community.
  • Express your appreciation to the retiree  for their dedication, hard work, and positive influence on others. Recognize their accomplishments, leadership, and contribution to the company’s success.
  • Invite colleagues and friends to share their own memories  and well wishes for the retiree. Create an open and supportive environment where attendees can express their gratitude, share funny or heartwarming stories, and extend personal messages of appreciation.
  • End the speech by inspiring the retiree for the next chapter of their life.  Encourage them to embrace their new beginning with excitement, explore new passions, and enjoy some well-deserved relaxation.

What Should You Thank Your Boss For In Your Retirement Speech?

When expressing gratitude to your boss in your retirement speech, consider thanking them for the following:

  • Express appreciation for your boss’s  guidance and mentorship  throughout your career. Acknowledge their role in your professional development, whether through their advice, expertise, or willingness to share knowledge.
  • Thank your boss for  providing opportunities to grow and advance  in your career. Recognize their trust in your abilities and their support in challenging assignments or promotions.
  • Express  gratitude for the support and encouragement your boss provided  during your tenure. Recognize their role in boosting your morale, providing constructive feedback, and offering a nurturing work environment.
  • Acknowledge your boss’s advocacy  for your achievements and recognition. Thank them for their efforts in highlighting your contributions, whether it was through promotions, awards, or public acknowledgment.
  • Thank your boss for their leadership and the positive example  they set throughout your career. Express appreciation for their dedication, vision, and commitment to fostering a productive and thriving work environment.

what to say during retirement speech

What To Say At A Retirement Speech For Someone Else?

Here’s how to craft a heartfelt speech to honor a retiring colleague:

Start Strong:

  • Grab attention : “Good morning/afternoon everyone! Can I have your attention please?”
  • Celebrate the milestone: “Today, we celebrate [colleague’s name]’s well-deserved retirement!”

Highlight Contributions:

  • Mention their tenure: “[Colleague’s name] has been a valuable member of our team for [number] years.”
  • Focus on key skills: “[He/She] brought expertise in [mention specific skills]…”
  • Emphasize positive traits: “…and a [positive personality trait] attitude that always brightened our days.”

Personalize it (Optional):

  • Share a specific anecdote: Briefly tell a story about your colleague showcasing a positive quality or achievement.

Express Gratitude:

  • Thank them for their impact: “[Colleague’s Name], your dedication has left a lasting mark.”
  • Acknowledge you’ll miss them: “We’ll miss your presence, but…”

End with Well Wishes:

  • Express excitement for their future: “…we’re thrilled for you as you embark on this new chapter!”
  • Wish them well in retirement: “We wish you all the best, filled with [mention things they might enjoy].”

Conclude and Make a Toast:

  • “Let’s raise a toast to [colleague’s name]!”
  • “Please join me in wishing [him/her] a happy and healthy retirement!”

Remember: Keep it heartfelt, focus on their contributions, and express your best wishes for a fulfilling retirement.

What Do You Say In Your Retirement Speech?

Here is a template you can use as a reference for your retirement speech:

  • Get things underway with a warm greeting and express gratitude to the audience for their presence.
  • Share your excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to address everyone on this special occasion.
  • Set the tone for the speech by mentioning the significance of the moment and your emotions surrounding retirement.
  •  Reflect on your career journey – from the early days to the present.
  • Share key milestones, achievements, and memorable moments that shaped your professional life.
  •  Highlight the growth, challenges, and lessons learned along the way.
  • Extend your heartfelt gratitude to colleagues, superiors, mentors, and team members for their support and contributions.
  • Acknowledge the friendships, camaraderie, and collaborative spirit that made your career enjoyable and fulfilling.
  • Express gratitude for the trust, opportunities, and guidance you received throughout your career.
  •  Share personal anecdotes, stories, or lessons learned from your professional experiences.
  •  Offer words of wisdom or advice to colleagues and future generations in your field.
  •  Reflect on the impact your career has had on your personal growth and development.
  •  Extend well wishes to colleagues, the organization, and the industry as a whole.
  •  Express optimism for the future and excitement for the next chapter of your personal life.
  •  Share your retirement plans, whether pursuing new hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or embarking on new adventures.
  •  Conclude the speech by expressing gratitude once again and reiterating your appreciation for the support and memories created.
  • Offer a final heartfelt message of thanks, leaving a lasting impression on the audience.
  •  End with a positive and inspiring note, encouraging others to cherish their careers and make the most of their professional journeys.

Retirement Speech Examples

Retirement speech examples

Here are a few great retirement speech examples that you can use as inspiration for crafting your own farewell address:

Example 1:  Humorous and Appreciative

“Good morning, everyone! Today is the day I officially join the ranks of the retired. First and foremost, I want to  thank my colleagues for tolerating my questionable jokes and putting up with my endless requests for office supplies. 

Your laughter and patience made the journey worthwhile. I also want to express my deepest gratitude to my wonderful team.  Your dedication and hard work have been the driving force behind our successes. You’ve made this rollercoaster ride of a career incredibly fulfilling.”

Example 2:  Reflective and Inspirational

“Dear friends and colleagues, as I stand before you on this momentous day, I can’t help but reflect on the incredible journey we’ve shared. It has been an  extraordinary adventure from the early days of uncertainty to the triumphs we celebrated together. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, the friendships I’ve formed, and the growth I’ve experienced. 

Remember, every challenge is an opportunity in disguise. Embrace change, take risks, and keep pushing the boundaries. Your potential knows no limits.”

Example 3:  Heartfelt and Appreciative

“Today, I am filled with immense gratitude and a bittersweet mix of emotions.  I want to express my deepest thanks to my colleagues, who have become my second family. The unwavering support, encouragement, and friendship we shared are truly priceless.  I am indebted to you for making this workplace feel like home.

Thank you to my mentors and superiors for believing in me and helping me realize my potential. Your guidance has shaped my career and instilled a desire for excellence.”

Example 4:  Wisdom and Advice

“As I bid farewell to this remarkable chapter, I would like to share a few nuggets of wisdom I’ve gathered along the way. First,  remember that success is not measured solely by professional accomplishments but by how you influence others. Be kind, compassionate, and empathetic in all your interactions.  

Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks and embrace new opportunities. It’s in these moments of uncertainty that we truly grow. Cherish the relationships you build along the way – they are the true treasures of a fulfilling career.”

Adam Howarth

Adam covers the topic of Public Speaking for Digital Authority. From his first experience of oratory with his school debating society to his more recent experiences of promoting the local business scene in Wrexham, Wales, he has always been involved in public speaking.

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Farewell Retirement Speech Examples

A farewell retirement speech is hard work! How do you sum up all your years and experiences at work in just a few words? The following suggestions for structuring your speech should help you, and there are short examples at the end of this page.

A good method for a retirement speech is to start with a line like "What will stand out in my heart and mind as I look back at the past X years of working for X?" Then describe with affection some of the characters that you have worked with, or some good moments or memories. You could also describe some of the changes that have occurred in the industry or business, with the line "When I started in business..." - even describing how things were called different names etc, and ending with the funny line "And remember - change is inevitable - except from vending machines". You could then bring it forward in time to how things are today. Catch phrases like "it seemed like a good idea at the time" for a number of funny things that you did, which were mistakes others can learn from.

Another angle is to describe a project that you are passionate about, and its successes while thanking everyone that was part of it.  That way you are mentioning your legacy but also encouraging others to look after it now that you are going, as well as ensuring those who deserve credit are getting more buy-in to the project - see the example below for this.

Try not to give advice - but if you do, make it general and stick to just one point.

If you can't add personality, keep it safe with best wishes for everyone!

Does retirement feel like a looming road of emptiness? Have some therapy and tips for your sad goodbye .

Retirement speech 1:

Hello Everyone,

As most of you know, today is my last day at the company. I will be riding off into the proverbial sunset to ultimately throw my energies into who-knows-what. In the short term I will be focusing on enjoying my family, providing Anne with support whilst she grows her own business, and involving myself in the renovation project of our home. Importantly, the decision to leave has been entirely of my own making. The time is simply right for me to, at least temporarily, “hang up my boots, turn the camp oven upside down and pack away the prospecting gear”. To all of the wonderful people whom I have had the opportunity to work with over the past almost 10 years - Thank You. The times shared, friendships forged and the incredible successes which we have enjoyed have been an extraordinary part of my life. I am very proud of what we have achieved and they have been times I will never forget.

I would like to encourage you all to continue to value and support diversity in our workplace and community. Diversity is something special. It is something very personal to us all, while at the same time it is something we all share. Diversity can enhance and support all our business decisions. It is something to be valued and cherished.  I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every member of Human Resources and Aboriginal Liaison departments.  With the support of our amazing supervisors, liaison officers, trainers, and the wider community, we have built our program into something extraordinary, the likes of which is rarely seen in any workplace outside metropolitan areas, if anywhere at all. The quality of our program is a testament to countless hours of hard work, collaboration, inspiration, and fun. It’s the result of the support willingly given by all stakeholders in our amazing company. We should all be incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved.

As a good mate said during a chat recently, “everything has a beginning and an end”. The timing to end this chapter seems about as right as it could be. I wish all of you every success for the future. Stay safe and maintain the passion!

Spice up your farewell speech with some

funny retirement quotes ! 

Retirement speech 2:

Thank you everyone for being here, 

I truly appreciate seeing you all because I can say thank you to your faces.

I've been here for X years, at other companies for another X years so if my maths is correct that makes XX years in the industry.  I can only say that in my time as a worker in the [industry] I have always found there is more to learn and that the moment anyone thinks they know it all, there is a humbling experience just around the corner.  Like now, for me, seeing everyone here.

I can also say that for everyone I have mentored, helped or given advice to, I have also learned from.  Maybe you don't know what I've learned from you - sometimes it has just been that your energy has renewed my own interest or reignited my own passion.  Maybe you have shown me that I don't know anything about admin (ahem, Ramona) and that I am grateful YOU do [pointed look at Ramona]; maybe you have shown me different values to adopt for different situations or given me a different perspective that has been personally helpful.  So don't ever feel that you don't belong wherever you are, you absolutely deserve to be here, and you just haven't realised what you offer.

Coming here every day has always been interesting, and I can say that working in the industry in general has been an adventure.  So my moving on is really just creating space for someone else to have a turn.

And good luck to that person...  [Raise eyebrows, because it has been a hair-raising adventure!]   ...working for that guy! [Waggle your thumb, hitch-hike style, over to your boss who can take a joke, or even better, at Ramona in admin who has been riding you for the past X years.  If you work in admin, point to someone in finance and make the earlier joke about Ramona about someone in finance instead.  Basically your real boss is the company dragon or gatekeeper] .

I hope everyone enjoys their work as much as I have and I wish you all good fortune in your careers!

Now before I finish, I would like to present Ramona with a present which I call The Enforcer [give Ramona an engraved wooden spoon or club] for all her efforts with me over the years.  

Let's all say thank you to Ramona [and on that note, your speech is over with all the attention now on Ramona] .

I think Ramona deserves a big something

for putting up with you -

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How to Write the Best Retirement Speech

To write a retirement speech for a retirement party is more complicated than it looks. I have done this exercise a few times now.  To ensure I was successful in this new task, I did a lot of research to get the best result.

Key Points to Consider When Writing the Best Retirement Speech

First the purpose of the speech is to celebrate the big change signified by retirement.  However, it may not be a celebration for everyone.  The retiree may be worried about reaching this milestone.  If you want to know more about this big step, you can read our article about How to Enjoy Every Moment of Retirement Life.

In general, the key elements of a retirement speech are an appreciation of the inspiration, guidance, support, leadership and kindness of the person.

Step 1 – Brainstorming to Write a Retirement Speech for a Retirement Party

This stage is particularly important if you want to succeed at writing a successful retirement speech.  Brainstorming will help you generate ideas and information.  You need to spend some time finding and reading retirement speech ideas.

To Write a Successful Retirement Speech You Need to Grab and Hold the Audience’s Attention

To make this happen, there are a few techniques to grab the attention of your audience and keep them with you.  If you are making a speech for a colleague in front of a whole department, this can mean a lot of people.  Unfortunately for you, there will be many people who do not know the person as well as you.  For this reason, they have less interest in listening to you.

So, How to Grab the Audience’s Attention?

To grab your audience’s attention, the best technique is to surprise them.  You need to wake-up them up.  For this, the first thing which comes to my mind is an alarm clock.  So, make the alarm clock ring and say something like: “John, this is the last time you will hear this song!”

Alternatively, if you have a screen at the office, why not use it to display a picture of the person in a funny situation.  You can start by saying: “We are all going to miss your professionality.”  You get the idea.  You are basically telling the audience: “Wake-up! I am speaking.”

Related Articles:

How to Keep your Audience’s Attention

To keep the attention of your audience, you need keep them guessing.  You achieve this by drip feeding information without revealing your main point too soon.

Another efficient method is a story. If you incorporate a story inside your retirement speech, it will have the same effect as the present.  Some people will know the story very well and they will already be laughing.  The others will be very attentive because they want to be part of the laughter.

Headlines of a Retirement Speech

First, let us remember the key elements of a retirement speech:

The headlines will form the main points of your retirement speech.  Under each of them, you need to write a small paragraph.  You may not use all of your ideas.  However, by writing something for each, you may remember other interesting things to include.

Why do we respect and appreciate him/her? (Appreciation/Kindness)

John was always reliable and had a good word to say about everyone. We all recognise, respect and appreciate John’s contribution to the company. 

Why do we always listen to him/her? (Inspiration)

John has a lot of knowledge which he was willing to share.  We learnt a lot from him.
John has accumulated a lot of experience during his 20 years with us.  His experience helped us to solve problems, to make decisions and guide us in the right direction.

Why are we not afraid to ask for his/her help? (Support)

Whatever your needs, John is always there to help and support us.  He always finds the right words.  He would probably write a better speech.

The brainstorming of ideas is the most important part of writing a retirement speech and also the hardest.  However, once you have your headlines, you just need to develop them.

How to Organise a Retirement Speech?

There are three different parts to a retirement speech:

What to Put in the Opening Part of a Retirement Speech?

(Put the alarm clock on the table and make it ring.) “John this is the last time you will hear this song; you can now wake-up when you wish (laughs).  I am honoured, and it is a privilege for me to speak on behalf of all the team. Today, we are here to celebrate John’s retirement.  It is a new chapter for him but for us we need to close this chapter. John it will be different here without you.”

After that, you can make a small presentation about the person leaving.

What to Put in the Main Body of a Retirement Speech?

“John used these incredible skills to bring this company where it is now. He was more than an excellent leader; he was the Captain of our boat. We knew we could trust his expertise to face any kind of situation we faced in the past. I bought this crane for you (give him crane toy).  Do you remember…”

What to Put in the Conclusion of a Retirement Speech?

“John will be extremely hard to replace.  We worked together for many years and I had the opportunity to learn so much from him.  John showed us the path to success….”

Resources to Further Improve Your Retirement Speech

It is a good idea to add quotes in your retirement speech.  Depending on the quote chosen, they can add humour and reflection.  If you want some ideas, read our post which includes a list of the Best Quotes for Retirement Party.

List of Words to Express Joy:

List of words to express trust:.

Trustworthy, Reliable, reliability, Faith, faithful, Admiration, to admire, Proven, Guaranteed, Scientific, science, Research-backed, Facts, factual, Absolutely, Authoritative, authority, Saint, Fool-proof, sure-fire

List of Words to Express Surprise:

List of words to express sadness:, examples of retirement speech for a retirement party.

“I am honoured and it is a great privilege for me to be chosen to give this speech.  John, we have worked together for the last ten years and I know you very well.  We spend plenty of time together, but do you remember this picture? (Show old picture to the audience.)

I would like to thank you for being here for me when I needed you.  I t’s been a privilege to work with you.  During his 25 years in the company, John has built a reputation of trust in his work. John has mastered all the qualities to succeed in his role within this company. When we don’t know the answer to something, we always say, “Let me ask John.”  You always have the answer. Unfortunately, for us it is time for us to find these answers on our own.  Please leave your email address just in case!

John has spent more than two decades leading and inspiring us.  Some of you have known John for years like me but others just for months. Whatever the time you have known him, you know his capacity to solve problems and to deal with any kind of issues.

This goes to show that John was always dedicated to life at the office and he helped raise the company to the level it is now.

On behalf of all the team, I will thank you again John.  I would also like to thank all the people who made this event possible.”

what to say during retirement speech

Sarah De Winne

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Giving Your Perfect Retirement Speech

senior retired woman celebrating with a balloon and a party hat

You’re about to retire and your employer just announced your retirement party date. 

It’s official — it’s time to start planning your retirement party — from ideas to invitations — and celebrate!

Except… you feel a pang of anxiety creep in as you realize:

You need to give a retirement speech…

Before you start to panic, we’re here to help – this guide walks you through everything you need to know about giving a retirement speech that will leave your audience laughing, crying, and remembering. 

After all, a retirement speech is more than just a farewell.

It’s a celebration of years of hard work, a reflection of the journey you’ve been through, and an exciting hello to the new adventures that await. 

Not to mention, it’s also your chance to express gratitude , share memories, and maybe even inspire someone else in their career journey.

So, let’s head into the first step on how to give your perfect retirement speech.

#1 Do a Creative Brainstorm Session

As cheesy as it sounds, having a solid brainstorm session before you begin writing your milestone retirement speech is worth the dedicated effort. 

Retirement is a momentous occasion that deserves a proper sendoff — and that means having a speech prepared that really captures the essence of your time with the company. But where do you even begin? 

With so many memories and experiences to draw from, it can be overwhelming to try and encapsulate it all. That’s why brainstorming first is the way to go.

If you’re looking for brainstorming techniques that spark creativity , try some of these ideas (popularized by organizations yet relevant and effective for any topic):

  • Starbursting or mind mapping – to give your ideas some structure and central theme
  • The idea napkin – to simplify a central theme and build from there
  • Figure storming – to put yourself in another’s shoes and ask your version of “what would Abe do?”
  • Rapid ideation – to throw in a range of ideas without judgment  

Either way, consider the milestones you’ve achieved, the people who have supported you, and the memories that have shaped you. 

Think about the future, too — what do you hope to accomplish in your retirement? Who do you want to become? 

Take some time to think about what new adventures you want to embark on and what kind of legacy you want to leave behind. 

Once you’ve brainstormed all the wonderful memories you want to share in your retirement speech, the next step is to prepare an outline.

#2 Prepare an Outline

An outline is like a roadmap that helps you stay on track and organized as you share your thoughts. 

After you’ve poured out all of your ideas from the creative brainstorm session, use an outline to break down your thoughts into sections, making it easier to organize and deliver your message cohesively. 

Plus, when you write things down on paper, it’s so much easier to sift through your ideas and memorize them later on.

You can break your retirement speech ideas into sections like:

  • The starting point — this is where you share the beginning of your career journey. It’s a chance to reflect on where it all began, maybe even share a funny or inspiring story about your first day or job.
  • The milestones — here, you highlight the significant turning points in your career. These could be promotions, challenging projects, or even hardships that shaped your professional growth.
  • The relationships — acknowledge the people who made your career meaningful. From mentors to colleagues, clients to friends, share anecdotes that showcase the bonds you’ve formed.
  • The lessons learned — share some wisdom you’ve gained over the years. These could be professional lessons or personal growth insights, which could inspire others at their own career crossroads.
  • The farewell — this isn’t just a goodbye; it’s a celebration of what’s yet to come. Go over your retirement plans and your dreams for the future.

brainstorm your retirement speech by thinking about the starting point, the milestones, the people, the lessons learned and your farewell

And this is just an example of an outline that’s based on chronological happenings. There’s no right or wrong way to do this; it’s your story, told your way. Just organize it into a nice outline flow.

#3 Include Personal Anecdotes 

As you prepare to bid farewell to the workforce and embrace retirement, it’s only natural to feel nostalgic and reflect on all the memorable moments you’ve experienced throughout your work life. 

Perhaps there was a project that presented a seemingly insurmountable challenge, but you and your team persisted and eventually conquered it. 

Or maybe there was a hilarious incident that still makes you chuckle to this day, even though it happened years ago. 

And who could forget the nervous excitement that comes with starting a new job? 

Regardless of the topic, your personal storytelling is not just a way to entertain your listeners, but it’s also a way to showcase the good times, the bad times, and everything that came in between. 

Carmine Gallo researched some of the most popular TED Talks and found that personal stories accounted for 65% of their content.

The best TED Talks are made of 65% personal stories, 25% data, facts and figures, and 10% resume builders to reinforce credibility

So it’s worth showcasing personal storytelling in your retirement speech. Your stories can have a similar effect on your audience, reminding them of the ups and downs of being in the workforce, and how it all comes full circle in the end. 

#4 Express Gratitude

On top of your personal storytelling, writing a retirement speech is the perfect opportunity to express your gratitude and appreciation for those who have made a difference in your life. 

Whether it’s your team who has stood by you through thick and thin, mentors who have offered guidance and support, family who has provided a listening ear, or even the organization itself that has given you opportunities to grow, take the time to express your heartfelt thanks. 

This is especially important if you want to maintain ties to some of your colleagues and coworkers after retiring from the workforce. In fact, one study about gratitude, reciprocity, and relationships , suggests that gratitude promotes relationship formation and maintenance.

Either way, a retirement speech without gratitude is simply incomplete. So, let your appreciation shine through. 

#5 Inject Humor 

Before you get too sentimental, remember that humor can go a long way in making your farewell speech a memorable one. 

Don’t be afraid to delve into your treasure trove of funny stories or throw in some witty remarks — it’s sure to have the crowd giggling and smiling in no time. 

And don’t worry if you’re not a stand-up comedian, the best jokes are often the simplest ones . Research has shown that people respond well to humor that’s easy to follow and relatable. 

people respond best to humor that's easy to follow & relatable

So, keep it light, keep it funny, and channel your inner comedian.

#6 Conclude with Positive Impact 

As the last words of your retirement speech echo through the room, you may find yourself feeling a swirl of emotions. It’s understandable to feel bittersweet as you close a chapter in your life that has shaped much of who you are. 

But this isn’t a time to give in to overwhelming sentimentality. 

Instead, take a deep breath and focus on the positive moments that have defined your career. Remember the joy and fulfillment that you experienced over the years, and let those feelings of hope and satisfaction guide your final message. 

As the University of Minnesota reminds us, a strong conclusion is essential to signal the end of the speech and help the audience remember the main ideas. So, take this chance to really explain the importance of your message and inspire those around you with a positive closing theme.

It’s the perfect ending to a stellar career and the perfect start to your next adventure .

Retirement Speech Ideas & Examples

Crafting a memorable retirement speech is an art form that’s unique to you . It’s about striking the perfect balance between professional reflections and personal anecdotes. 

Here are some examples that can serve as inspiration for your own speech:

#1 Funny Retirement Speech

If you want to add some humor to your speech, then we’ve got you covered with this example:

“I stand before you today with a heart full of mixed emotions. Part of me is saying, “Finally! I can sleep in on Mondays!” while another part is wondering, “What on earth will I do with all this free time?”   You know, they say, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” That’s a quote from A. A. Milne, better known for his creation Winnie-the-Pooh. And it rings true today. Working with all of you was a real pleasure. We’ve had our share of ups and downs, haven’t we? Like the time I accidentally sent that confidential email to the whole department instead of just my boss. Or when I spilled coffee all over the new carpet on its very first day. But hey, who’s counting?   [personal storytelling]   To wrap up, I’m too happy to be profound, too relieved to bestow any life advice upon you, and too old and tired to stand here for long, making a speech. I’ll think of you all every time I roll over and go back to sleep at 7:30 a.m. on a Monday. Thank you for all the memories, and remember, I’ve retired from work, not from life. So, don’t be strangers!”  

#2 Sentimental Retirement Speech

For a more heartfelt version, check out this retirement speech example:

“I’ve had the privilege of working alongside some of the most extraordinary people I’ve ever met.   Firstly, I want to express my deepest gratitude to each and every one of you. You have not only been my coworkers but also my mentors, my guides, and my pillars of support. You have been my second family, and for that, I am eternally grateful.   Whether it was late nights working on projects or celebrating our successes, each moment has left an indelible mark on me. And each one of you has enriched my life in so many ways, and I hope that in some way, I’ve been able to do the same for you.   [personal storytelling]   As I step into this new chapter, I carry with me the lessons I’ve learned here, the friendships I’ve made, and the memories we’ve created. I want to leave you with this thought: The beauty of life lies not in its length, but in the love and respect we share with those around us.   So, thank you for sharing this journey with me, for your wisdom, your guidance, and your friendship. Remember, this is not goodbye. It’s just a see you later. So, until we meet again, take care of yourselves and each other.”  

#3 Formal Retirement Speech

And if you’re looking for a more formal approach:

“ Thank you for joining me today as I announce my retirement. Over the past three decades, we have achieved milestones that were once distant dreams. It has been an honor to work with such dedicated individuals.   I am filled with gratitude for the countless opportunities I have been given, the invaluable lessons I have learned, and the unforgettable memories I have created. Each one of you has contributed to my journey in your own unique way, and for that, I will always be thankful.   [personal storytelling] I want to express my deepest appreciation to all of you. Your hard work, dedication, and commitment to excellence have not only made this organization the success that it is today, but also made my journey an incredibly rewarding one.   As I step into the future, I am excited about the opportunities that await me. However, I know that I will always carry a piece of this wonderful journey with me.   Thank you for the privilege of working with you, for the camaraderie, and for making this chapter of my life such a memorable one. I look forward to seeing all the remarkable things you will undoubtedly continue to achieve.”

Leaving on a High Note

Everyone’s retirement speech is going to be unique and special to them. 

But there are some common elements that you should keep in mind when preparing your own:

  • #1 Have a creative brainstorm session — let those memories, thoughts, and emotions pour out onto the page – there’s no right or wrong here, just your unique journey
  • #2 Prepare an outline — think of it as your roadmap, guiding you from one milestone to the next
  • #3 Include personal anecdotes — sprinkle in storytelling of your personal anecdotes, share those behind-the-scenes moments that brought laughter, tears, and everything in between
  • #4 Express gratitude — it’s your chance to acknowledge those who’ve walked this journey with you, to let them know how much their support has meant, and to say thank you from the bottom of your heart
  • #5 Inject humor — lighten the mood, share that funny story, let your audience laugh with you 
  • #6 Conclude with positive impact — leave your listeners with something positive to remember you by

Whether you choose to end your career with a funny toast, an emotional thank you, or a formal goodbye — your words can leave an indelible mark on those who are lucky enough to hear them and remember you by. 

Retirement Speech FAQ

What to say at a retirement speech for someone else.

When delivering a retirement speech for someone else, try to focus on their achievements, dedication, and contributions. Use personal anecdotes that highlight their individual character and work ethic. Keep it positive, motivational, and heartfelt. For example:

“John, your tireless dedication and exceptional leadership have been an inspiration to us all. Your journey has, not just been about milestones, but also about the lives you’ve touched along the way.”

How long should a retirement speech be?

A retirement speech should ideally be between 5-10 minutes long. This duration allows enough time to cover all the important points without dragging on.

How to start a retirement speech?

Starting a retirement speech can be as simple as a warm greeting followed by an introduction. You might even want to begin with a light-hearted joke or an inspiring quote. Either way, make it feel authentic. For example:

“Good evening everyone, I’d like to start by saying, retirement is when you stop living at work and start working at living!”

How to end a retirement speech?

Ending a retirement speech should come with a strong positive close, and include a blend of gratitude, reflection, and anticipation for the future. Here’s an example: 

“As I close this chapter and open a new one, I want to express my deep gratitude for the journey we’ve shared. We’ve laughed together, faced challenges together, and celebrated victories together. I’m proud of the work we’ve done and the impact we’ve made. Thank you for being a part of my journey. Here’s to new beginnings and the exciting adventures that lie ahead!”

What's Your Retirement Purpose?

portrait of Cyn Meyer, founder of Second Wind Movement and a certified retirement life coach

Retirement Life Coach

As a certified retirement life coach since 2018, Cyn has helped thousands of older adults turn their retirement years into remarkable years full of growth, purpose, and passion. Through her signature program Rewire My Retirement, she helps people achieve their best life across the 5 Rings of Retirement, which covers topics Growth, Community, Health, Giving Back, and Finance.

Cyn combines specific life coaching tools, neuroscience, and her extensive background in marketing (spanning 17 years) to make a powerful impact with Second Wind Movement – an organization dedicated to providing educational resources and coaching for seniors.

With meticulous research, insight, and passion, Cyn’s mission is to usher in a new wave of positive experiences for generations of retirees.

As a certified retirement life coach since 2018, Cyn has helped thousands of older adults turn their retirement years into remarkable years full of growth, purpose, and passion (beyond the stereotypical financial planning side of retirement). 

She combines specific life coaching tools, neuroscience, and her extensive background in marketing (spanning 17 years) to make a powerful impact with Second Wind Movement – an organization dedicated to providing educational resources and coaching for seniors.

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Great and Inspiring Retirement Dinner Speech Examples

Table of Contents

Retirement is a major milestone in someone’s life that can bring immense accomplishment, joy, and freedom. It marks the end of a great career and the start of a new and exciting chapter. And this definitely calls for a celebration. So whether you have a company dinner party or one planned with your family, you should come prepared with a  retirement dinner speech .

A well-written speech will help you express gratitude to your family, peers, and the company for all their support and encouragement throughout your career. Let us help you develop a great speech that will truly leave a lasting impact. Keep reading for writing tips and examples that will inspire you!

What to Include in Your Retirement Speech

Preparing your speech can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be all that complicated. The first thing you need to do is know what you should include. When you have an outline of your main points, you’ll be able to focus on what you want to say instead of rambling aimlessly.

Here’s an outline of the main points that you should include for an effective speech:

  • Introduction : You may skip this part if you’re hosting a private celebratory dinner. But if you’re attending a company function, include a quick introduction about yourself. You can include your job position, department, the years you’ve worked for the company, and so on.
  • Thank You Message : It is important to include heartfelt gratitude for those who have helped you along the way. From colleagues and bosses to friends and family, recognizing their contributions and expressing appreciation can be an emotional moment for everyone involved.
  • Your career story : Reflecting on meaningful milestones during your career is an opportunity to reminisce and share stories that illustrate how far you’ve come. It will also help you reflect on lessons learned in the process.
  • Parting advice : Finally, offering words of wisdom and advice to your successors will help them in their own journey. It will also ensure they understand the values underpinning your successes.

A successful retirement dinner speech should weave together these diverse elements with vivid language, creating an experience that resonates with all present.

People raising their glasses to make a toast during a celebratory dinner.

Retirement Dinner Speech Examples

Greetings, everyone! It’s a pleasure to be here tonight to honor my retirement from the wonderful world of work. For decades, I have had the privilege and good fortune to contribute in meaningful ways across various industries. But now, it is time for me to embark on a new journey of leisure and discovery. 

I feel grateful to have achieved so much throughout my career, creating lasting relationships with colleagues who are like family to me. At this juncture, I would especially like to thank all of you for your love and support over these past few years. Without your efforts, I would not be standing here today as a proud retiree. 

I will miss our professional camaraderie, which has allowed us to achieve so much together. But I also look forward to a new stage of life full of possibilities and exploration. As we all make our way into tomorrow, let us take solace in the well-tread paths of wisdom and collaboration we have forged together. May they propel us ever onwards toward greater horizons! 

Thank you once again for coming to celebrate my retirement with me. Now, let’s get this party started!

I stand here before you all tonight, humbled and grateful to share this moment with such wonderful friends. After a long career filled with highs and lows, I’m proud to say I’m finally retiring. 

I’ve worked in many different fields over the years – from engineering to finance to customer service – and it’s been an incredibly enriching experience. During my time at each job, I encountered many unique challenges and opportunities that have helped me grow professionally and personally. 

I want to thank everyone who has helped me on this journey. Thank you to my colleagues, mentors, and family members who have shared their wisdom and guidance. My boss, for taking a chance on me when no one else would. All my friends, for always listening and understanding. And, of course, my wife for her unwavering love and encouragement throughout it all. 

I leave feeling invigorated by the knowledge I have gained and excited for what lies ahead. Though I am entering a new chapter in life, I will never forget those special moments we spent together. Let us raise our glasses in celebration of this meaningful milestone!

Good evening everyone! I want to say thank you to all of you for coming here tonight and joining us in celebrating my retirement. As many of you know, I have been a proud member of this company for the past 20 years as Chief Financial Officer. 

I can recall some of the more challenging moments we faced together, such as when our profits plummeted during the economic crisis in 2009. But with perdurable perseverance and dogged determination. We managed to pull through unscathed. It was an honor to serve alongside every one of you during that trying time, where we also made invaluable memories along the way. 

Your support over the years has allowed me to reach heights beyond what I initially envisioned for myself. For that, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude. 

As I retire from this role, I take solace in knowing I will leave behind a strong legacy of leadership within this organization. May your success continue to flourish for many generations ahead! To conclude my speech, let me share with you my favorite quote: “The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.” With that said, cheers to another successful decade ahead. Thank you once again!

Wrapping Up

A  retirement dinner speech  brings closure to your working career. It provides an opportunity to reflect on your hard work, dedication, and accomplishments over the years. It’s also a great time to acknowledge your family, colleagues, and company for their support. Make it count by taking inspiration from these examples!

Great and Inspiring Retirement Dinner Speech Examples

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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Sample retirement speech honoring a co-worker

Need a sample retirement speech to help you organize your thoughts when it's your turn to honor a retiring co-worker? 

The sample retirement speech below has notes to give you a structure you can use for your retirement tribute.  But first, some guidelines about what to say and what to avoid.

Retirement speeches and toasts can be funny or touching. They are often the highlight of a retirement party given to recognize the retiree’s work or the person's role in the organization. 

If you are the main speaker, your tribute should include humor.   How did the retiree interact with coworkers, the bosses, or those in subordinate positions?  Such personal associations are often a source for good-natured fun.

But you'll also want to include comments about the person's character, leadership style or contributions.

A mix of light-hearted anecdotes and thoughtful observations is always a fitting tone for this capstone event. 


If you are the main speaker, your tribute should include humor.   How did the retiree interact with coworkers, the bosses, or those in subordinate positions?  Such personal associations are often a source for good-natured fun. But you'll also want to include comments about the person's character, leadership style or contributions. A mix of light-hearted anecdotes and thoughtful observations is always a fitting tone for this capstone event. 

The main retirement speech

If you are honoring the retiree, you'll want your speech to be entertaining and touching. Open your speech with something that will grab the attention of the audience.  A quote, statistic or funny story about the honoree works well. And since retirement parties are walks down memory lane, most of your speech should include recollections of what the individual has meant to the workplace.

Aim for a 5 minute talk.  That's  long enough to do justice to the retiree and short enough to keep your audience from secretly reaching for their phones.  The body of your talk should be a blend of stories and observations that paint a picture of the retiree and the role he or she has filled with the organization.

Put some thought into your conclusion.  It may be funny or serious but be sure to mention how much the person has contributed or will be missed. If you’re a pro, you’ll end your talk with a conclusion that ties back to your opening remarks or an earlier story. Hard to do but that is always a winning formula.

For help with polishing your retirement speech, check out these tips from Toastmasters International. 

(If you are retiring and will be making a speech, See When you are the retiree for a suggested speech outline.)

And in case your sensitivity monitor does not always work, remember that over-the-hill remarks or nursing home jokes that were hilarious at a 50th birthday party are not  so amusing now. Most retirement parties include members of the family and some will probably be elderly. A safe option is to focus on the workplace and relationships there.  Highlight some funny things that happened to the person while at work or earlier in his or her life.

drawing of business man waving goodbye to illustrate a retiring co-worker

If the person is healthy, active and looking forward to leaving work, it’s appropriate for the retirement speech to include some light remarks about a laid-back future enjoying hobbies. But if you’re not sure of the person’s situation, focus on their role with the company.

If the retiree is leaving the military, include some stories or sayings about military service that apply to the retiree and the branch of service.

There are a variety of retirement sayings or quotes you can use but be careful. In all cases, avoid those dire predictions about a toothless, drooling, declining future that, while intended to be funny, may embarrass others or make them uncomfortable.

Sample retirement speech honoring a colleague

The following sample honors Joe Smith who is retiring from Always There  Insurance in Wilkesboro after working there for 15 years. You can adapt this formula and the tips for retirement wishes listed in the left-hand column to fit your honored guest. If you're stuck for ideas, incorporate some of the retirement sayings on this website. 

If you are the main speaker, keep your remarks to around 5-7 minutes.  (The average attention span of an audience is about 7 minutes.)  If there are several speakers (besides the retiree), aim for no more than 4 minutes.

Statistics tells us that 10,000 Baby Boomers reach retirement age every day.  And one of those retiring today is Joe Smith.

We're sorry to say goodbye to Joe.  But, every ending has a bright side when it also marks a new beginning.

We're here to say a few words about his life at Always There and wish Joe well as he goes to that place in life we all look forward to . . . retirement. 

Thank you, friends and coworkers,  for joining us . . . .   Joe, you didn't know, did you, that so many people would be celebrating your departure!

Before we get started, I'd like to take just a minute to introduce some special guests.  . . .

Seriously, Joe, … you've been an anchor in our marketing department for the past 15 years. He was one of the first ones in every day and would watch we Gen X’ers and  Millenials come dragging in an hour after he’d finished his second cup of coffee. And he’d always have something cheerful to say before 8 a.m. Sometimes it was irritatingly cheerful for those of us who are night owls.

He’s definitely not like those people who come in late but make up for it by leaving early.

Joe was always here, greeting us with a wide grin. I asked him once why he was always so happy and Joe simply said, “You might as well smile because you’re here anyway and there’s no point in bringing anybody else down by complaining.”

That comment says a lot about who Joe Smith is. His glass is always half full. And on those occasions when our marketing team's creativity had run wild and out of bounds, Joe knew how to gently guide us back in the fold while complimenting their ingenuity.

One of the things people like most about Joe... besides his ability to smile all the time . . .  is the fact that he can laugh at himself.  And Joe has provided the rest of us with some laughs along the way.

Remember that time when his team developed the campaign with the talking locks? That campaign had a memorable slogan:  Joe’s bright idea to the idea was to show everybody how we were the one insurance company with the talking locks that could make every house safe.

His pitch  – – was a great success until it was abruptly ended. As you recall, that was the time the Wilkes police launched a raid on a prostitution ring that covered five states and was headquartered in a safe house in nearby Winston.

Suddenly Joe’s idea of pitching Always There as the backer of the safe house didn’t fit the image the executive suite wanted.

I think cracks about  Joe's  safe house went on for months. . . . And he laughed every time he heard it.    Thanks, Joe, for being such a good sport.

Looking back over Joe’s career here, we all have stories about him. Others will share some of those shortly.

To Joe, I want to say how much we admire your dedication to your colleagues and this company. When Joe started working here, Always There was a small agency with just 6 employees but with a vision of customer service that would transform us into in this market. And Joe... you have been in our growth and prosperity.

It’s the people like Joe, who come into work with a smile, make our clients happy and understand that we always have to keep  improving our service  . . . those people like Joe are the ones who have made Always There Insurance the success it is today.

It’s impossible to measure what Joe has meant to this company all these years. And I know I speak for everyone when I say this is a bittersweet moment . . . saying goodbye to a friend and coworker who has meant so much. But we are all happy that Joe and Laura will have time to kick back, get off this treadmill and do what they want.

We’re now at the point in a retirement party when someone presents the retiree with a watch. But we don't have one and that's okay because Joe will no longer need a watch.

What we do have are some more memories we’d like to share.

It is obvious that you will be missed. We wish you and Laura all the best and like knowing that your smile will be even broader now that you don’t have to take that commute in every morning.

And we know that if the Wilkes police ever break up another safe house, they can call you because you’ll know just what to say.

Joe and Laura, would you please stand so we can say thanks.

dog in business suit with caption My Work Here is Done.

You might like these

Retirement sayings - retirement wishes.

These retirement sayings - retirement wishes will help you write a retirement toast or speech.

Military retirement toasts

Are you participating in a military retirement ceremony or celebration? If so, this collection of military retirement toasts will help you says something heartfelt and punchy.

Retirement party planning

Need some help with retirement party planning? Here are some tips to help you organize a fun gathering whether the party involves a dozen people or a hundred. The basic elements of planning a successful retirement party are the same.

If an educator you admire is departing, here are some teacher retirement toasts to help you express your appreciation.

  Retirement celebrations   Honoring a retiring co-worker      Quotes about retirement    Your retirement speech      Make them glad they came   Military retirement toasts       Teacher retirement toasts       Retiring teacher tribute       Boomer retirement party    Quotes about teaching            P lanning the party        Retirement roasts and song s   Retirement songs and poems

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Biden calls kamala harris ‘vice president trump’ at top of error-laden ‘big boy’ press conference: ‘qualified to be president’.

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WASHINGTON — President Biden stunned journalists Thursday by confusing Vice President Kamala Harris and former President Donald Trump at a closely watched press conference — shortly after he mixed up Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky  at a different event.

“Look, I wouldn’t have picked Vice President Trump to be vice president did I think she was not qualified to be president,” the 81-year-old said to gasps and groans from journalists at the annual NATO summit.

Biden spoke in a soft, raspy voice, frequently paused to cough, and at points lost his train of thought at what his aides had promoted as a “big boy press conference” at Washington’s Convention Center.

The event had been called to dispel mounting Democratic clamor for Biden to step aside after a confused June 27 debate against Trump — but the commander-in-chief ended up compounding those concerns by making contradictory remarks, forgetting questions and giving rambling answers that didn’t directly address the subject he had been asked about.

Trump, the 78-year-old presumptive Republican nominee, quickly ridiculed his successor in a statement on social media.

“Crooked Joe begins his ‘Big Boy’ Press Conference with, ‘I wouldn’t have picked Vice President Trump to be vice president, though I think she was not qualified to be president.’ Great job, Joe!” the ex-president wrote.

Asked for his thoughts on Trump using the gaffe to deride him, Biden gave a confusing, three-word response: “Listen to him.”

In another concerning moment, Biden could not remember the correct title of Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, the military’s chief of the Joint Staff, saying he would “listen to his commander-in-chief” before correcting himself to the still-inaccurate “chief of staff of the military.”

The president also struggled to say the word “neurologist” while claiming he wouldn’t seek another cognitive exam unless doctors asked for one — as medical pundits say he may have Parkinson’s disease or a related condition.

Biden claimed he had last seen his neurologist, Dr. Kevin Cannard, in February, though his press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the visit was in January .

The president also made a number of other factual errors, at one point incorrectly indicating that China had fewer than 1 billion people (current estimate: 1.4 billion) and confusing that country with another American adversary, Russia.

The 59-minute event featured questions from 10 reporters selected in advance by the White House press office, plus one shouted question at the end from Peter Alexander of NBC News, and was closely watched by Democrats weighing whether to join calls for Biden to step aside.

Joe Biden

Taking the stage almost an hour late, after the press conference start time had already been pushed back 60 minutes, and sticking closely to teleprompters for a seven-and-a-half-minute opening statement, the president told reporters he was “catching hell from my wife” because his staff “add things” to his schedule.

Biden also denied reports last week that he told Democratic governors that he intended not to do events after 8 p.m. to avoid embarrassing stumbles — saying it was “not true” and that he was instead trying to “pace” himself better.

What to know about the fallout from President Biden's debate performance:

  • President Biden’s poor performance in the first 2024 presidential debate left some Democrats unsure of his fitness for office and future as the party’s candidate.
  • Biden told a crowd at a North Carolina rally the day after the debate that he doesn’t “debate as well as I used to” — but insisted that he can still “do this job.”
  • The New York Times editorial board called on the president to serve the country by dropping out of the race. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a similar editorial a day later.
  • In a pre-taped interview with ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos , Biden claimed that his “bad episode” at the debate was the result of a cold and not any cognitive issues.
  • Biden has rejected calls for him to step down from fellow Democrats, insisting to Stephanopoulos that he is the most qualified to win the election. At a Wisconsin rally, he declared that he is “running and going to win again.”
  • More than a dozen congressional Democrats have joined in calling for Biden’s exit from the race. Former Biden supporter George Clooney echoed these calls in an op-ed published in the New York Times just weeks after he helped lead a record-breaking fundraiser for the Democrat.
  • Democratic voters have continued to raise concerns about Biden’s nomination since the debate, with speculations and suggestions for replacement nominees running rampant.

“My schedule has been full bore” since the debate, he argued while insisting that he plans to remain in the race and follow through with his rematch against Trump on Nov. 5.

“The campaign hasn’t really started, it hasn’t started in earnest yet,” the president said hopefully — at one point asking reporters: “How accurate does anyone think the polls are these days?”

Despite painting Trump as a threat to democracy, Biden told reporters he would not step aside amid tanking support from his party. Still, he said Harris could handle taking his place.

“The way she’s dealing with issues — almost any issue on board. [She] was a hell of a prosecutor,” he said. “I said she’s qualified to be president at the very beginning — she’s qualified to be president.”

If delegates to the Democratic National Convention want to support a different candidate at the Aug. 19-22 event in Chicago, they “are free to do whatever they want,” Biden said, before adding in a whisper, “That’s not going to happen.”

The DNC currently is set to nominate Biden via virtual roll call before Aug. 7 so that the Democratic ticket qualifies for the Ohio ballot — possibly foreclosing a convention floor fight.

Biden vowed he would not relinquish the top job because of the “gravity” of the challenges facing the country and insisted that he wouldn’t leave the race unless he was told he couldn’t win against Trump, another possibility he said would not happen.

“I’m determined on running but I think it’s important that I allay fears by letting them see me out there,” Biden said, later adding, “There is so much we can do still and I’m determined to get it done.”

“There are other people who could beat Trump too, but it’s awful hard to start from scratch.”

Moments after the press conference ended, a 15th House Democrat said it was time for Biden to retire.

Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said “we must put forth the strongest candidate possible to confront the threat posed by Trump’s promised authoritarianism” and “I no longer believe that is Joe Biden, and I hope that … he will continue to put our nation first.”

Fourteen House Democrats and one Democratic senator previously called on Biden to relinquish the presumptive nomination.

With polls showing Biden’s support cratering since the debate as fellow Democrats express fear of a Trump landslide, Thursday marked the president’s first time formally facing a room full of reporters in Washington since November 2022 and his first extended Q&A session with journalists since the debacle at the CNN forum in Atlanta. 

“I feel like the narrative needs to change. So either Dems need to get behind Biden or he needs to step aside. But we are losing time,” a Democratic source close to the White House told The Post before the press conference.

“His press conference is another make-or-break moment.”

Let's break down Clooney's role in Biden's 2024 presidential campaign

  • George Clooney has played a role in Democratic fundraising since Barack Obama’s 2012 run, including leading a benefit for former Vice President Joe Biden in 2020 and another in June 2024.
  • Clooney, joined by actresses Julia Roberts and Barbra Streisand, helped Biden take in a record $30 million-plus at a star-studded fundraising event in New York City just last month.
  • Just weeks later, Clooney turned on Biden and published an op-ed in the New York Times calling for the 81-year-old to leave the race following his atrocious debate appearance .
  • Clooney wrote that Biden “cannot win” in November, adding that the president is not the man he used to know, but rather “the same man we all witnessed at the debate.” The actor even said that “every senator and Congress member and governor that I’ve spoken with in private” agrees that Biden must step down.
  • Donald Trump blasted Clooney for his comments , telling him to “get out of politics and go back to TV,” and said the actor had “turned on Crooked Joe like the rats they both are.”
  • A report also revealed that Obama knew ahead of time what Clooney planned to write and did not object to the op-ed.

Jean-Pierre repeatedly referred to the event as a “big boy” press conference, irking some fellow West Wing staffers, who viewed it as infantilizing the commander-in-chief.

Although polls have long shown that an overwhelming percentage of voters believe Biden is too old for another term, Democratic officeholders have increasingly agreed following the debate, in which the incumbent made puzzling remarks, including that he “finally beat Medicare.”

Rep. Hillary Scholten of Michigan  on Thursday morning became the 10th House Democrat to publicly call for Biden to “step aside from the presidential race and allow a new leader to step up” — after  Sen. Peter Welch of Vermont  on Wednesday evening became the first Democrat from the upper chamber to ask Biden to call it quits, citing “valid questions” about his cognitive fitness.

Scholten was joined later Thursday by Reps. Brad Schneider of Illinois, Ed Case of Hawaii, Greg Stanton of Arizona and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington — the last of whom called on Biden to resign the presidency rather than serve out the next six months as a lame duck should he drop out.

Reps.  Lloyd Doggett  of Texas,  Raul Grijalva  of Arizona,  Seth Moulton  of Massachusetts,  Mike Quigley  of Illinois,  Angie Craig  of Minnesota,  Adam Smith  of Washington,  Mikie Sherrill  of New Jersey,  Pat Ryan  of New York and  Earl Blumenauer  of Oregon previously asked Biden to exit the race.

Harris, 59, is the most likely replacement candidate should Biden step aside, though many of her critics doubt she would perform any better than Biden due to even lower approval ratings.

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Biden kicks off NATO summit with highly scrutinized speech

Asma Khalid photographed by Jeff Elkins/Washingtonian

Asma Khalid

Mary Louise Kelly, photographed for NPR, 6 September 2022, in Washington DC. Photo by Mike Morgan for NPR.

Mary Louise Kelly

President Biden kicks off a NATO summit with a speech. It will be scrutinized because of questions about whether he's still up to the job.

Copyright © 2024 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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Current Issue

Cover of July 2024 Issue

An Open Letter to the President of the United States

There are worse things in life than a comfortable retirement.

what to say during retirement speech

Asian elephants eating bamboo in the wild.

Dear President Biden,

I am sitting on a floating hotel, deep in the jungles of the River Kwai, in Thailand. To be honest, I had hoped to unplug this week, to put aside the messiness of US politics. But your ongoing refusal to confront what have become the catastrophic implications of your presidential candidacy has pushed me to write on my week off.

Mr. President, let me tell you what I did earlier this week. I spent a morning at an elephant sanctuary, a place where majestic old elephants, far past their prime, are eased into retirement—earning their daily bread by letting tourists feed them watermelons and give them mud baths.

There was, I’ll admit, something a bit sad about them—their ears were torn, the males’ tusks had been hacked off, and there was a passivity to them that made me wish they still had the wherewithal to raise a ruckus. But, at the same time, they were safe and were being taken care of in their dotage. There are worse things in life than a comfortable retirement.

Joe, when you got elected in 2020, I wept for joy. In defeating Donald Trump, you had saved the Republic; you had reinvigorated a dream that was in danger of morphing into a permanent nightmare. You had pitted liberalism against intolerance and darkness, optimism against Trump’s American Carnage vision—and you had won. There was little doubt in my mind that you were a genuinely decent, kind, humane, even humble man—everything that Trump and his rancid administration were not. It’s a rarity in the modern political environment that such traits win out over hard-right populism.

Four years later, you are making me weep again. But this time around, I weep over the arrogance and selfishness you are demonstrating in claiming, despite all evidence to the contrary, that you and only you can prevent Trump’s second ascent to power. I weep because you now so clearly lack the vitality and intellectual agility for the fight—but, while you have lost so much of your political skill set, you seem, somehow, to have preserved just enough wile and orneriness to cling to personal power like a hungry dog tugging on a bone. I weep because in 2020 you rose to the political moment to aggressively confront a terrible political peril, and in 2024 you are instead doing a star turn in your own version of Sunset Boulevard , sinking into a political quicksand of your own making that will destroy your legacy and return Donald Trump to office with an overwhelming mandate.

As I write this, it’s been 12 days now since you made it abundantly clear, in front of a TV audience of 54 million people, that you no longer have what it takes to be either a president or a presidential candidate. Last week I wrote, in the conditional tense, that this performance could result in your losing overwhelmingly in November. This week, the poll numbers seem pretty unambiguous . If you remain the Democratic candidate you will lose overwhelmingly. There are states such as New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Virginia, even New Jersey, for God’s sake, in play now for the Republicans, that a decent Democratic candidate would have locked up months ago.

Each day you refuse to step aside for a new generation is a day of campaigning against Trump lost. The sands are fast slipping through the hourglass, and each defiant statement you make—that one about only God being able to get you to change your mind was a real doozy—and each absurd fundraising letter you send out ridiculing the concerns of those who believe you can no longer win adds to the volume of wasted effort. There are barely 100 days left until the election. The longer you remain the Democratic Party’s candidate, the less chance the Democrats have of holding the White House, holding the Senate, or recapturing the House. You will either step aside too late for it to make a difference, or you will emerge as a nominee so damaged that no one will seriously expect you to win.

I weep, Joe, because of your delusions. Bubbles are strange things to live within, and you and your family seem, now, to have become bubble captives, as delusional in your analysis of power as Louis XIV. L’État, c’est moi.

The Nation Weekly

Trump has always had the same idea. But he’s never really pretended to be anything other than a narcissist. Self-absorption isn’t just a byproduct for Trump; it’s the whole deal. You, Joe, you sold yourself as something better. You’ve always said that this isn’t about you, that you are fighting for the survival of this beautiful experiment in democracy and pluralism. That is why your grubby determination to hold onto power at all costs, even if it is simply for a short ride to a humbling electoral defeat, is ultimately loathsome.

You say you made a “mistake” in your debate performance against Trump, and you have pledged to do better. But what America saw for 90 minutes on June 27 wasn’t a “mistake”—though, to be fair, you made your share of factual “mistakes” in your hard-to-follow comments—it was a textbook example of the ravages of time, the all-too-predictable consequence of putting up an 81-year-old for reelection to the toughest job on earth. What the world saw was a very old man grasping for basic answers, floundering in presenting his ideas, unable to project himself physically or mentally.

I’m not a doctor and wouldn’t presume to make a diagnosis. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. The public now has the perception that age has gotten the better of you—and that’s a perception pretty much impossible to shake. You could wrestle alligators and come out victorious—the public will still see your frozen face and hear your stumbling, incoherent debate answers. And you will still, in consequence, lose millions of votes from people who otherwise would be voting Democrat in November—citizens who are longing to vote for the Democrats if only the party can present a credible presidential candidate.

There’s no shame in getting old. You’ve had a phenomenal run at the center of power for more than half a century. You won the presidential election in one of the darkest moments in US history, and you have spent the past four years pushing for, and often getting, vital social reforms and public investments. You have placed liberal justices up and down the judicial system. You have done more to address climate change than any other president. You have done more to protect LGBTQ rights than any of your predecessors. You have every right to consider these four years a personal and political triumph.

In the Wake of the Trump Shooting, We Need Clarity—and Caution In the Wake of the Trump Shooting, We Need Clarity—and Caution

The rise and fall of the marvel cinematic universe the rise and fall of the marvel cinematic universe.

Kyle Paoletta

Don’t Believe Trump When He Claims He’s Not Racist Don’t Believe Trump When He Claims He’s Not Racist

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The President Can Now Assassinate You, Officially The President Can Now Assassinate You, Officially

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But there is a tremendous shame in trying to hoodwink the public, in claiming all is right in Bidenworld when that’s clearly not the case, and in putting yourself above the interests of the greater community. Joe, what, for example, was that Parkinson’s expert doing consulting with your physician time and again these past several months? Joe, how does a cold, or jet lag, or staying up late—or any of the other half-baked excuses your team keeps coming up with to explain away your debate disaster—turn you into the confused wreck on display two weeks ago? How does telling your staff that you need more sleep and can’t schedule events past 8 pm put to rest public doubts about your stamina and your mental acuity?

Four years ago, Joe, you became a true American hero in defeating Trump. Now, in your egoistic inability to gracefully leave the stage, you are all but guaranteeing another Trump administration. Each day that you stay on you make it more likely that the worst president in living memory will occupy the White House again come January. At this point, Joe, you are behaving in a more egomaniacal manner than Trump. The vast majority of your own supporters want you to step aside for someone younger. In not listening to them, in daring them to try to force you out, in pitting yourself against not just your political enemies but your erstwhile friends too, you are holding the country’s future to ransom.

Joe, I say this with all due respect: It’s time. The elephants on the River Kwai have found retirement to have its blessings. I’m sure you, too, could find ways, other than permanently hogging the political spotlight, to enjoy your twilight years. You have a choice, and it’s pretty clear: Retire now, and your legacy will be secure. Continue what has become a quixotic campaign for reelection, and you will trigger an electoral defeat of utterly catastrophic dimensions. The stakes—for your own legacy as well as for the public well-being—are simply too high for such a gamble to have legitimacy. Surely, Joe, you don’t want to go down in history as one of America’s most tragic, unsympathetic and, ultimately, hated of figures.

Yours, Sasha Abramsky

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The president started with a flub but ended strong. It may not matter.

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what to say during retirement speech

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what to say during retirement speech

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Citing his recent comments, Republicans blame Joe Biden for Donald Trump rally shooting

what to say during retirement speech

A number of Republicans are pointing fingers at President Joe Biden after the shooting of former President Donald Trump at a political rally on Saturday, with some citing Biden’s recent statement that “it’s time to put Trump in a bullseye.”  

Biden told donors in a private phone call on Monday that Trump was running from his record and that Democrats "can't go another day without explaining what he's doing."

"We can't waste any more time being distracted," Biden said, pointing out that the election was just four months away.

"I have one job and that's to beat Donald Trump," Biden said. "We're done talking about the (June 27) debate. It's time to put Trump in the bullseye. He's gotten away with doing nothing for the last 10 days except ride around in his golf cart, bragging about scores he didn’t score…The fact is, he's not answering questions."

Republicans pounced on Biden's remarks after the shooting, even though there is no evidence trying those comments to the attack on Trump or the shooter's motivation. The man the FBI has identified as the shooter, Thomas Matthew Crooks  of Bethel, Pennsylvania, is a registered Republican, according to county voter records.

Still, Rep. Mike Collins, R-Ga. , shared part of the Biden quote on X and claimed without evidence along that “Joe Biden sent the orders.” 

Rep. Lauren Boebert , R-Colo., Sen. Marsha Blackburn , and the X account for the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee shared a snippet of the quote on X as well.  

Responding to the shooting: Top Democrats condemn political violence after Trump assassination attempt

Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, a contender to be Trump's running mate, also took to X to blame the shooting on the Biden campaign , writing that the campaign's rhetoric "led directly to President Trump's attempted assassination.”

Biden condemned the shooting on Saturday at an emergency briefing room in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, telling reporters "there is no place for this kind of violence in America. It’s sick. It’s sick."

“The idea – the idea – that there’s political violence, or violence in America like this, is just unheard of, it’s just not appropriate. Everybody, every must condemn it. Everybody,“ he said.

Biden also has repeatedly condemned political violence throughout the campaign and during his presidency, saying it is wrong and has no place in America.

USA TODAY reporter Michael Collins contributed to this report.


  1. How to Write a Memorable Retirement Speech + Examples

    The retirement speech is a chance to express gratitude on behalf of the organization, pride in their accomplishments, and to assure the retiree that their shoes were hard to fill. Retirement Speech Etiquette. Retirement speeches are a tribute, a celebration, and a farewell all wrapped into one.

  2. 5 Retirement Speech Ideas with Examples

    2. Short Retirement Speech. Many retirement speeches happen in spaces where we need to be brief, such as a Zoom meeting or other virtual space. A short retirement speech will allow you to be concise and still convey your message. It can also make for an excellent written piece for a retirement card or email greeting. Example Short Retirement ...

  3. How to Give a Retirement Speech: Making Your Farewell Count

    Celebrating Milestones and Achievements. The meat and potatoes of any good retirement speech are the milestones. Reflect on what you've accomplished, emphasizing gratitude as you do so. Avoid bragging as you give credit where credit is due, both to yourself and those who helped along the way.

  4. Retirement Speech Examples and Ideas That Get It Right

    When you're writing your retirement speech, keep in mind the culture of your workplace. While you want to inject your own personality into it, you don't want to deliver a speech that will make other people uncomfortable. Follow a few key etiquette tips to ensure that you stay in your lane and don't veer too far off course during your speech.

  5. How To Craft A Memorable Retirement Speech By A Retiree And For A Retiree

    Craft A Retirement Speech: Guide For Honoring A Retiree. If you're not the retiree but wish to deliver a memorable retirement speech for one, here's a structured outline to help you along: 1. Introduce The Retiree. Begin your speech by introducing the retiree and shining a light on their remarkable career journey.

  6. 28 Powerful Tips For Your Retirement Speech

    6. Speak From The Heart. Let your genuine emotions shine through to make your speech authentic and engaging. Show your appreciation and admiration for everyone celebrating with you and express yourself properly and appropriately in response to their heartfelt congratulations and well-wishes. 7.

  7. How To Write A Memorable Retirement Speech: A Complete Guide

    Organizing notes and structuring the speech effectively. Organize your notes and structure the speech effectively to ensure a smooth and coherent delivery. Start with a compelling opening that grabs the audience's attention and establishes a connection. Arrange your thoughts logically, transitioning smoothly from one point to the next.

  8. Retirement Speech Ideas (And Samples To Inspire You)

    In this article, we will discuss what to say in a retirement speech and offer some retirement party speech ideas to make your retirement celebration truly memorable. 1. Express gratitude ... During my stay here, I oversaw the launch of a new software system that drastically improved our data management. Additionally, I participated in a number ...

  9. Amazing Retirement Speeches Examples & Writing Tips

    Funny retirement speech example. This humorous speech won an international speech contest decades ago. If you want to draft an informal speech, pay attention to the structure and tone of voice in this example. Professional tips on what to say in your retirement speech. As you give a speech for your retirement celebration, things can easily go ...

  10. How to Write a Retirement Speech

    Retirement Speech Writing Steps. Follow these six steps to creating a retirement speech. Step 1: Gather information. The first step to creating a retirement speech is to gather information about the person's life from different people. Hopefully, you can get extraordinary stories from them and a core idea of what you will put in the speech.

  11. How to Write a Retirement Speech That Wows: Essential Guide

    A good retirement speech should include a heartfelt introduction, a reflection on the retiree's accomplishments and contributions, personal anecdotes or stories, expressions of gratitude to colleagues and loved ones, a positive outlook on retirement, and a memorable conclusion that leaves a lasting impact. In this guide, we'll be your ...

  12. How to Give a Great Retirement Speech

    Focus on The Purpose of Your Retirement Speech. Start with Rule #1: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget howyou made them feel.". - Maya Angelou. If you keep that top of mind, you'll do well.

  13. Guide On How To Write An Amazing Retirement Speech With Examples

    1. Plan Ahead. Before diving into your farewell retirement speech, ensure you have ample time to plan and prepare. Create a rough outline beforehand, jotting down key points you want to cover. Some crucial points you may want to prioritize in your draft outline: The beginning: Reflect on your early days in the company.

  14. How to Give a Great Retirement Speech: 8 Ideas and Tips

    5. Include Humor. Retirement speeches can be serious. Humor can help to lighten the mood, ease any tension, and engage the audience. It also shows your personality and helps you connect with your audience in a more relaxed and personal way. However, it is important to strike a balance between humor and sincerity.

  15. Retirement Speech Examples To Send You Off In Style

    Conclude and Make a Toast: "Let's raise a toast to [colleague's name]!". "Please join me in wishing [him/her] a happy and healthy retirement!". Remember: Keep it heartfelt, focus on their contributions, and express your best wishes for a fulfilling retirement.

  16. A Farewell Retirement Speech for YOUR retirement farewell

    Retirement speech 2: Thank you everyone for being here, I truly appreciate seeing you all because I can say thank you to your faces. I've been here for X years, at other companies for another X years so if my maths is correct that makes XX years in the industry. I can only say that in my time as a worker in the [industry] I have always found ...

  17. How to Write the Best Retirement Speech

    In general, the key elements of a retirement speech are an appreciation of the inspiration, guidance, support, leadership and kindness of the person. To make your speech easy to write, you need to divide it into sections. To start, write down all the headlines of the retirement speech. Essentially, you are making a plan of your speech.

  18. Giving Your Perfect Retirement Speech

    So, let's head into the first step on how to give your perfect retirement speech. Table of Contents hide. 1 #1 Do a Creative Brainstorm Session. 2 #2 Prepare an Outline. 3 #3 Include Personal Anecdotes. 4 #4 Express Gratitude. 5 #5 Inject Humor. 6 #6 Conclude with Positive Impact. 7 Retirement Speech Ideas & Examples.

  19. How to Write a Retirement Speech

    The goal of this guide is to help you first generate ideas of what you want to say, to look at examples of retirement speeches, and to create a structure you can use to make it easier to write the ...

  20. How to Give a Retirement Speech

    5 Rules for a Great Retirement Speech. If you'll soon be called on to give a retirement speech, I suggest you keep these five rules in mind: 1. Keep it short. Your co-workers and family are there ...

  21. Great and Inspiring Retirement Dinner Speech Examples

    What to Include in Your Retirement Speech. Retirement Dinner Speech Examples. Example 1. Example 2. Example 3. Wrapping Up. Retirement is a major milestone in someone's life that can bring immense accomplishment, joy, and freedom. It marks the end of a great career and the start of a new and exciting chapter.

  22. Sample retirement speech honoring a co-worker

    We're here to say a few words about his life at Always There and wish Joe well as he goes to that place in life we all look forward to . . . retirement. Thank you, friends and coworkers, for joining us . . . . Joe, you didn't know, did you, that so many people would be celebrating your departure!

  23. Sample Retirement Speech

    Let him know that he will be missed. Conclude your talk with a thank you to the honoree for the time he has given to the institution. We also have a few tips that you could use when giving your talk. Keep them in mind when you're rehearsing your sample retirement speech: Create Cue Cards for help.

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  26. Biden kicks off NATO summit with highly scrutinized speech

    And I will say this week he is also trying to do it on the global stage. He's going to be trying to demonstrate to anxious allies that he still has the stamina for this job. Tonight's speech was ...

  27. An Open Letter to the President of the United States

    There are worse things in life than a comfortable retirement. Asian elephants eating bamboo in the wild. Dear President Biden, I am sitting on a floating hotel, deep in the jungles of the River ...

  28. John Cena Announces Retirement From WWE

    "I want to say thank you," Cena continued. "Thank you so much for letting me play in the house that you built for so many years. Thank you so much, always, for your voice, 'cause it's really loud ...

  29. Republicans blame Joe Biden for Donald Trump rally shooting

    A number of Republicans are pointing fingers at President Joe Biden after the shooting of former President Donald Trump at a political rally on Saturday, with some citing Biden's recent ...

  30. Takeaways from Biden's critical solo news conference

    President Joe Biden on Thursday participated in the most high-stakes news conference of his political career on the sidelines of the NATO summit, aiming to convince his detractors and supporters ...