Giving a Farewell Speech at Work (With Tips and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 12, 2022 | Published January 3, 2020

Updated September 12, 2022

Published January 3, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A person holding a microphone stands in front of a group of employees sitting in a room. Several employees have their hands raised.

Delivering 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 your colleagues and to express your gratitude for their help and friendship throughout your time at the company.

In this article, we discuss what makes a good farewell speech and how you can write and deliver one your colleagues will remember.

Related: 5 Ways To Improve Your Public Speaking Skills

What is a farewell speech at work?

A farewell speech is a professional gesture you may deliver to your colleagues if and when you’re leaving the workplace. You might give a farewell speech when you are retiring, leaving your organization to pursue other opportunities or leaving your department or branch to work in 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 roles similar to yours exited and the company’s farewell traditions. These types of speeches are typically reserved for individuals that made an important impact on the organization, have been at the organization for many years or are being celebrated for retirement.

Related: How To Write a Goodbye Letter to Your Boss

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 is 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 memories and experiences that will 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 are 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 are leaving the company and your future plans

  • Your hopes and well wishes for your colleagues

Related: How To Memorize a Speech in 5 Steps (Plus Tips)

3. Write an introduction

Write an introduction that greets and thanks your audience for listening. 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 efficiently focus on the majority 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.

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5. Add humor, when appropriate

You can include a humorous anecdote and some 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 to highlight special company experiences.

6. Edit your speech

Read your speech aloud to help you identify areas for improvement, such as where your ideas could flow better or 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.

Related: How To Be a Better Editor (With Strategies and Tips)

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 other 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 what you’re saying to see if you’ve optimized its impact.

Related: What Is Peer Editing? Definition and Tips

How to begin and end a farewell speech at work

Arguably, the two most memorable elements of your speech will be your beginning and your ending. Here are a few tips to keep in mind for these important parts of your farewell speech:

At the beginning of your speech: Make sure to 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 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.

Tips for delivering a memorable farewell speech at work

Follow these tips to deliver the best job farewell speech you can:

  • Speak with a relaxed tone. A relaxed tone engages your audience and speaking from notes, rather than a script, can help your farewell speech feel more conversational and heartfelt.

  • Speak audibly and clearly. This tip is especially important if you are giving a speech without the use of a microphone in front of a larger group. It also ensures everyone hears and understands the speech, which can improve engagement.

  • Stay calm. Take a few deep breaths, or focus on a friend in the room to speak calmly and confidently. It’s fine to be a little emotional when saying goodbye, and these calming techniques can make sure you still clearly deliver your speech.

  • 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 are saying only kind, positive things about your time with the organization, it is best not to give a farewell speech at all. Make sure to show gratitude and wish the company well in the future.

Read more: 10 Tips for Giving a Great Presentation

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 the marketing career I’ve had.

To my amazing marketing, graphics and advertising teams, I appreciate the hard work you’ve done 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 each and 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. During my time here, I’ve learned invaluable lessons about how to prepare food to an exacting standard. Those fast-paced Friday and Saturday night shifts really tested me, but I’m a much better chef because of them.

To my colleagues, I value your friendship and all the support you have given me over the years. The hard work you put in each and 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.

To the entire Delaney family, thank you for making me part of your family. You took a chance on me when I was 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 opportunities to learn. 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 for the challenges I have 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!”

Related: How To Say Goodbye to a Coworker

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