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College Graduation Speech

May 2, 2017

Most colleges graduation speakers give inspiring speeches, or try to. What type of speech would you give if asked? Will it be like most of the others? If asked, here is mine for this year.

Speeches are supposed to be long – long enough to justify the effort of appearing with the anticipation of great words of inspiration from a speaker that hopes you will find dynamic and exciting. Chances are it is doubtful you can walk away with more than one or two action items. I decided to give you a short checklist of what you could do to succeed and hope that you adopt much of what I am saying…to make your life better. What you think of me is not relevant – it is about you; and my planting seeds that will help you grow.

  1. When you present a speech – short is better than long
  2. When you prepare memos for your boss or a client – short is better than long. If what you wrote is long, prepare an executive summary – that is a fancy way of providing a cliff notes version that will offer your recommendation clearly and succinctly on one page
  3. Be involved in what you work on – understand the overall project and the part you are working on
  4. Take ownership – that means follow through with the rest of the people picking up on the project after you
  5. Look at your output – does it make sense – is it relevant – is it meaningful – does it add to the reader’s knowledge? Does it contain usable information? It not, it ain’t any good!
  6. Never, ever, start something if you do not fully understand the instructions. Most people dispensing assignments do not take ownership but rather just go through the motions of passing the work off. If you do the job ineffectively you will get a reputation of being sloppy inaccurate and nonresponsive. If you make the person assigning the work repeat their instructions numerous times until you get it, they will think you are a pain in the butt, but when the work is delivered the way they needed it, a reputation of producing good, thorough and on time work will overshadow their earlier unfavorable thoughts of you. On the other hand, a reputation of producing unacceptable error laden work never goes away
  7. Always meet the deadline. If it becomes clear you will not meet a deadline, let your boss know as soon as it becomes evident, not ten minutes after it was due
  8. If you must ask questions, try to save bunch them together but don’t let that hold up your work on other parts of the project
  9. Do not chase your tail for more than a half hour or some other reasonably short period. If you find yourself not making progress – put it aside and work on another part of the project
  10. Ask for help if you need it – the sooner the better
  11. When you come across something new, make that your opportunity to learn about it. Many opportunities do not repeat themselves
  12. Get involved – join and participate in industry and professional associations and read their journals. Keep current with business news

This is a checklist you should look at daily until it becomes second nature. Your success depends on it. I wish you much success with the rest of your life which is starting right now! Do not waste this opportunity.

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