I have just been informed that on my last day (Friday) my company will be hosting a luncheon for me with 30 colleagues attending.

This is usually fairly informal. People mingle and talk amongst themselves whilst eating and one of my bosses will probably say a few words. This worries me as I don’t do too well with speeches.

Is there a correct way of writing a leaving speech or responding to one? I would really appreciate some ideas or thoughts on what I should say or how I should frame this.

Mark's picture
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But of course there is.

1. Summarize your time with a brief comment that helps them see their impact on you (when I write these for clients, I use the word always): "I learned a lot from some people I will always care about." "You helped me appreciate what results and teamwork mean, and I will always carry that with me."

2. Mention a specific instance - a memorable project or event, and how it provides an example of the original comment.

3. Say thank you for the professionalism and friendship. (work and people, work and people, work and people!!!)

4. Say you look forward to staying in touch.

5. Sit down in less than 2 minutes.

You must NOT have anything written down to refer to: this must appear off the cuff.



arun's picture


Thank you for the very prompt response considering that it must be late at night your way.

I am really glad I asked the question now as I would never have framed it this way. Now gives me two days to word something.

I am also planning to mail out thank you notes next week to some (not all) managers I have worked with here. Is this the right thing to do??

Thanks once again.


choude's picture

[quote]I am also planning to mail out thank you notes next week to some (not all) managers I have worked with here. Is this the right thing to do??[/quote]

As long as they're effectively written, I'd say go for it! You don't have to send them all at once.. set a once a week recurring task to write thank you notes and keep a running list of people to whom to send them.

If the list gets too large, you can have a catch up session. That said, I've been able to keep mine manageable by sending 1-2 a week.

Mark's picture
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asteriskrntt1's picture


If you are not aware, there is a podcast on how to write an effective thank you note. I have used the model 4 times now and people said it was the nicest card they ever received. An added bonus is that it scores big time points on the building a network meter!


Len's picture

Arun, having spent 30 years in the military, and thereby, moving to a new job every two or three years, I've given my share of farewell speeches...and have been on the receiving end of hundreds of them.

Mark's advice is absolutely spot on. Especially, the part about NOT writing it down. I have seen people break out note cards, or even sheets of paper, and refer to these as they say their good-byes. It tends to detract from what would otherwise be a heartfelt and sincere statement.

I almost always "rehearse" these speeches the night before. It helps me to organize my thoughts, to consider the use of specific words or terms that will add meaning, and to discipline my timing (rehearsal will help you to avoid rambling).

I'd recommend that, as you speak, you keep in mind a theme. I use "appreciation." That will help keep you on track.

Good luck.

arun's picture

Thank you all for your advice.

I have put some thoughts down on paper based on your advice and will rehearse tonight for tomorrows luncheon.

Thanks once again