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Tribute Speech Topics

Keeping Legends Alive: 4 Tips and a List of Tribute Speech Topics

Tribute speech topics must be such that they inspire or evoke a strong emotional response from the listeners. Normally, they have more emotional component in their composition, and less or almost negligible information. It is an appreciation of the work or lifetime of an individual, an institution, a group, an event, or a culture.
SocialMettle Staff
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
The construction of tribute speech topics should be brief, and not exceed a span of around 10 minutes. The aim is to garner appreciation and adoration for the subject, rather than pointing out the work of the subject. Consider a case where the tribute speech being delivered is about a person who has done some great work. The achievements the person should only be used to stimulate a sense of pride and adoration for the person. Quite often, in the process of praising the work of the person, the projection of the person as the central theme is sidelined. Thus, the ultimate goal must be to focus public attention on the subject. Such topics can be as varied as a tribute to an individual, a construction work, an organization, a workforce, a team, an army effort, and so on.

Ideas for a Tribute Speech

A personal touch is the heart and soul of such a speech. It is very important for you to deliver a personalized address. A personalized address can include sharing your individual emotions or representing the mindset of a group or a community. A few general ideas that may help you in writing and delivering are mentioned below. These are applicable to a wide range of subjects, like organizations, landmarks, people, places, professions, teams, or activities. Some of the most common ones in these categories are talks on leaders, presidents, stars, organizations like the Red Cross, United Nations, structural heritages, like the Statue of Liberty, institutions like schools, or an Olympic event.

List of Topics

This list can be divided into two types, the first type is a list of subjects, which includes your own, personal experiences; while, the second one consists of people who have made a significant change in the world. The first list can have topics like:
  • The incident that changed my life.
  • The author who influenced me.
  • The friend who inspired me to change for the better.
  • A toast to the wedding couple at their reception party.
  • The business partner who had a lion's share in making this business a success.
  • The teacher who made a marked impression on my life.
  • My wife, who stood beside me when I was a nobody.
  • My mother, who made me what I am today.
  • The person who saved my life.
  • The hospital director who reopened the Cancer Research Center.
  • The old couple who made me change my thinking.
  • The movie which inspired the world.
  • The woman who changed my mentality.
  • The musician who made me believe that true love does exist.
  • The student who inspired the entire college/university.
As regards to the second list, you can pay a tribute to:
  • Steve Jobs
  • Bill Gates
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Yuri Gagarin
  • Joseph Lister
  • Coco Chanel
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Albert Einstein
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Stephen Hawking
  • Henry Ford
  • Thomas Alva Edison
  • Walt Disney
  • Larry Page
How to Write?

The Start: The beginning should be with a brief and a catchy phrase or lines about the subject. It should be followed by a clear and short understanding or introduction of the subject. If you are commemorating a marvelous building that has been recently completed, give a short talk about the project, the day it began, the reason it was built, and how it will affect the conditions around and so on.

Share Common Opinion: Considering the above example, there might be people who have been attached with the completion of the project and may be the recipients of the benefits of the project. Share their feeling and thoughts on the work. People will follow and like the speech when they can associate with the ideas being conveyed in the tribute.

Reflect General Mood: The way it is delivered and the mood of the gathering should be in harmony with the details. If it is to pay tribute to a person posthumously, the occasion is silent and relaxed with a hint of sorrow for missing the person. Whereas if the occasion is a celebratory tribute for the great effort of a local sports team, the atmosphere is joyous and cheerful. Thus, your speech should be a reflection of the mood of the gathering. Whenever we praise someone or something, it is because of certain attributes in that entity which are acceptable and appealing to you. Therefore, mention all the expectations and qualities desired of a person or a place that you are talking about and how the subject fulfills those. The audience has to be made aware and pointed out the criteria which make the subject stand out.

The Body and Conclusion: While narrating, it is a good practice to narrate some famous quotes, of the subject (if it is a person you are talking about) or incidences related to the subject. Some remarks or stories can also create a deep interest.

The concluding part can include a one line statement, a verb, or an adjective glorifying the subject, and a summary of why the subject is popular, loved, or appreciated by the masses. The words should reflect a sincere and a decent opinion with honest, polite, and humble expressions. It is important not to exaggerate and maintain the credibility of any of the topics you select. Who knows, perhaps one day it may become one of the famous speeches of the land.