With commencement season coming up, veteran speechwriter David Meadvin shares tips and tricks for succeeding at one of the most difficult speeches to write and deliver.
Q: Why are commencement speeches so hard to write?
A: When it comes to commencement speeches, there's an unavoidable tension between uplift and cliche. Everyone in the audience -- graduating students, faculty and family -- expects to hear something inspiring, but commencement speakers tell us all the time that it feels like every concept has been done before. It takes real time and brainpower to kick ideas around before landing on a set of themes and stories that feel right.