Special Occasion Presentations

Course(s) Used:

  • Public Speaking

Goals and Objectives:

  • Students can identify the purposes of special occasion presentations.
  • Students know the most common types of special occasion presentation.
  • Students understand key requirements for success in these presentations.
  • Students experience delivering unprepared special occasion presentations.

Rationale: Many of the presentation opportunities that we encounter occur during special occasions. Many types of special occasion speech can occur without warning, so a basic familiarity is important.

Materials Needed


  • Blank paper for certificates (1 per student)
  • Crayons/markers


  • None

Outline of the Lesson

  1. Review of previous session’s content
  2. Lesson opening
  3. Open classroom discussion about special occasion presentations
  4. Purposes of Special Occasion Presentations 1
    1. Entertainment
    2. Celebration
    3. Commemoration
    4. Inspiration
    5. Setting an Agenda or Theme
  5. Common Special Occasion Presentations 1
    1. Speech of Introduction
    2. Acceptance Speeches (remember those who gave the award)
    3. Speeches of Presentation (discuss both award & recipient)
    4. Toasts and Roasts (Brevity!)
    5. Eulogies
      1. Emotion is ok and expected! Remain in control
      2. Remember the family
      3. Focus on life
      4. Positive, but realistic.
    6. Dinner Speeches (discuss occasion and group)
    7. Inspirational Speeches (Clincher! Clincher! Clincher!)
  6. Welcome to the Speech 101 Awards!
    1. Students divide into groups
    2. Each group has 5 minutes to brainstorm awards to give to each of the members of a second group
    3. Group members have 10 minutes to prepare short, 1-2 minute speeches of presentation for the award. These awards can be as serious or as silly as students like. They should also make a certificate!
    4. Individual group members present their awards. Award winners deliver unprepared speeches of acceptance.
    5. Debrief the activity
  7. Lesson closing


This lesson only provides students with experience with two of the many different types of special occasion presentation. Some students have a difficult time coming up with awards for class members who are very quiet. Keep an eye out for mean-spirited awards.

Variations and Accommodations

Follow guidance from local accommodation authorities. Students for whom using paper and writing utensils to create an award certificate presents an unreasonable burden will be accommodated on an individual basis. Students may be placed in groups strategically if needed.

  1. O’Hair, D., Stewart, R. A., & Rubenstein, H. (2015). A speaker’s guidebook: Text and reference (6th ed.). Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s. ^