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How to Write a Speech for a Family Reunion

by Jasmine Haryana

Family reunions draw together extended relatives who share common roots but may not have frequent opportunities to share time together. As the reunion gathers family members of different generations and various locations together, a speech can create common ground and set a tone for the reunion. Fear of public speaking and the formidable task of resonating with a large group of relatives can create anxiety as a relative forges a family reunion speech. Thankfully, with time-tested tactics and ample preparation, speakers can create a speech that unifies and breaks the ice.

Ask older family members for information. Interview parents and grandparents to receive details about reunion attendees, classic family stories and important family history.

Make a list of the attendees and one or two details about their lives. Circle the oldest and youngest family members, anyone who has recently achieved something notable and any new additions to the family by birth and marriage.

Research your family genealogy online. Take notes on your surname's region of origin, meaning and notable descendants.

Write out short summaries of two to three legendary family stories that are poignant or humorous.

Create a list of things your family means to you personally. Review your other notes and jot your thoughts down.

Transfer your cache of information onto index cards, writing one fact, story or person's bio on each card.

Arrange your cards. Lay the index cards on the floor and clip related cards together with paper clips. Order your index cards, placing short, humorous stacks toward the top of the stack and poignant stacks toward the end.

Write your reunion speech from your index cards, keeping the cards for reference.

Items you will need
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Index cards

Tip

  • Memorize your speech but keep your index cards for reference during delivery. Try to include every attendee in some mention during your speech. Mention any dear and departed relatives during the speech.

Warning

  • Avoid overly sarcastic humor or items shared in confidence that might embarrass the subject.

About the Author

With a career spanning business writing and technical commentaries, Jasmine Haryana has been writing and editing since 1996. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Davis and holds her certification in grant writing from The Foundation Center.