Giving a Farewell Speech at Work (With Examples and Tips)
Updated March 16, 2023
Giving a thoughtful farewell speech when you retire or leave your job to pursue other career opportunities can leave a lasting impression on your colleagues. Your farewell speech can be an opportunity to say goodbye to team members and express your gratitude for their help and friendship throughout your time at the company.
In this article, we'll discuss what makes a good farewell speech at work, explain the steps to writing a farewell speech and what to remember when delivering one, plus we share speech examples and presentation tips to assist you in giving a farewell your colleagues will remember well.
Related: 13 Main Types of Speeches
What is a work farewell speech?
A farewell speech is a professional gesture you may deliver to your colleagues if and when you leave the workplace. You might give a farewell speech when you're retiring, leaving your organization to pursue other opportunities or transitiongin to another location within the same company. Individuals sometimes give farewell speeches in their offices on their last day with the company or at official leaving parties or ceremonies.
Giving a farewell speech isn’t necessarily appropriate in all situations and settings, so consider your time with the company, how previous people with similar roles exited and the company’s farewell traditions. These speeches are typically reserved for individuals who made an important impact on the organization, have been there for many years or are being celebrated for retirement.
How to write a job farewell speech
A well-written farewell speech can leave a good lasting impression on your colleagues. Writing down what you want to say can help you feel calmer and more confident when it comes time to give your speech. Follow these steps to write an effective farewell speech:
1. Draft an outline
Start by making a list of bullet points that highlight your experiences at the company to give you an organized framework on which to build your speech. Take note of specific memories and experiences that'll resonate with your colleagues and leave them with a positive impression of your time at the company.
Related: How To Write an Outline
2. Include relevant details
The following details are common components of farewell speeches at work:
Your company involvement, including how long you’ve worked there and in what roles
Your favorite aspects of working at the company
The colleagues that made the best impressions on you and what you like about them
Your feelings about leaving the company
The parts of the job you're thankful for, such as the friendships you made and the learning opportunities you had
Special memories of the company and your coworkers, including fun anecdotes
Why you're leaving the company and your future plans
Your hopes and well wishes for your colleagues
3. Write an introduction
Write an introduction that greets and thanks your audience for listening to your farewell. You can also directly address the purpose of your speech. A sentence or two is sufficient for this section. While drafting, it may be helpful to write your introduction after organizing speech ideas. This strategy allows you to focus efficiently on most of your speech and brainstorm ideas for a strong opening.
4. Expand on your ideas with the right tone
Build a farewell speech around your bullet points by expanding ideas in a conversational, honest and respectful tone. Consider writing your speech as if you are writing a farewell letter to a friend to help keep your tone relaxed.
5. Add humor when appropriate
You can include a humorous anecdote and even a few jokes to make your farewell speech more engaging. Consider your work environment when deciding on appropriate humor. Your farewell speech should express your feelings about the people and events that made your position memorable, so focus on the positive aspects of your coworkers and role in highlighting special company experiences.
6. Edit your speech
Read your speech aloud to help you better identify areas for improvement, such as where your ideas could flow better or where your word choice could sound more natural. Consider also looking for sections and passages to streamline so the speech is concise and brief to increase engagement. The most effective speeches last between three to five minutes. Keep editing your speech until it is within this time frame.
7. Ask for a trusted colleague’s opinion
Read your farewell speech for a colleague before you present it. Ask them whether there are any additional key points you can add or if there are areas that could use further improvement. Be sure to gauge when and where they react to your words to see if you’ve optimized its impact.
How to begin and end a farewell speech
Your speech’s two most memorable elements will be your beginning and ending. Here are a few tips to keep in mind for these important parts of your farewell speech:
At the beginning of your speech: Ensure you greet the audience by thanking everyone for attending. This should be at the top of your farewell speech to set the tone for the rest of your speech. If you’re talking to a large group of people that may include people who don’t know you, it might also be appropriate to introduce yourself and how long you have been with the company.
At the end of your speech: End your farewell speech on a positive note by wishing everyone well and reinforcing a positive attitude about the company and its accomplishments and continued success. The tone of your speech should be consistent throughout, so if you began on a casual note, continue that here through the ending.
Example farewell speeches at work
Use these sample farewell speeches to help you write your own.
Farewell speech for retirement
"Hello, everyone, and thank you for coming to this small get-together to mark my final day with TypeCo. I’ve worked 24 amazing years at this company, and I am forever thankful for my marketing career.
To my amazing marketing, graphics and advertising teams, I appreciate your hard work completing some of our most fruitful client campaigns, including the Murphy City Park project last spring. I’ve never had so much fun creating park bench ads while eating greasy takeout.
To Sharon, my replacement as director of marketing, I am honored to have witnessed your development over the past 10 years as such a keen, intuitive marketing professional. I can’t wait to see how your vision takes TypeCo to the next level. I am confident you can lead this department in securing new challenging clients and bringing the creative energy out of every team member.
I’m so glad to be retiring, but I will miss the spontaneity of the work and the generosity of such brilliant colleagues. Thank you again. And best of luck!"
Farewell speech for a new opportunity
"Good evening, everyone, and thank you for the wonderful farewell dinner. It’s amazing to think I have worked at Delaney’s Family Restaurant for 10 years, including the last three as your sous chef. I’ve learned invaluable lessons about preparing food to an exacting standard during my time here. Those fast-paced Friday and Saturday night shifts tested me, but I’m a much better chef.
To my colleagues, I value your friendship and all the support you have given me over the years. Your hard work every night has helped me more than I can tell you. You are always organized and enthusiastic. Even when we cater big events, like the ACME record industry party, you always rise to the occasion.
Thank you to the Delaney family for making me part of your family. You took a chance on me fresh out of culinary school. I thought I knew so much after graduation, but your kitchen was my real classroom. Thank you for seeing my potential and always giving me new challenges and learning opportunities. You have given me the confidence I needed to take the next step in my career.
As some of you know, I have decided to start my own food truck business serving different types of gnocchi. When I took this job, I knew nothing about making gnocchi, but it has become one of my favorite dishes to prepare. I hope running this food truck will help me create a legacy for my family, much as Delaney’s has created for their family.
I have mixed emotions about leaving Delaney’s. I am so excited about the challenges ahead, but I am sad to leave you all. I am so proud of what we have built together, and I have enjoyed working with every one of you. Please come visit me at my new food truck!"
Tips for giving a memorable farewell
Follow these tips to deliver the best job farewell speech you can:
Employ a relaxed tone. A relaxed tone engages your audience. Further, delivering your speech from notes, rather than a script, can help your farewell speech feel more conversational and heartfelt.
Ensure your words are audible and clear. This tip is especially important if you don't use a microphone in front of a larger group. It also ensures everyone receives and understands the speech, improving engagement.
Stay calm. Take a few deep breaths, or focus on a friend who's in the room. It’s fine to be a little emotional when saying goodbye and your audience will understand any time you need to steady your nerves.
Use natural gestures. Gestures can help make your speech feel more genuine and honest. Smiling and laughing with the audience can also promote engagement.
Keep it positive. Unless you plan to say only kind, positive things about your time with the organization, it's best not to give a farewell speech. Make sure to show gratitude and wish the company well in the future.
Read more: 10 Tips for Giving a Great Presentation
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