How to give a memorable goodbye speech

Use this formula to salute your colleagues with a meaningful “thank you” before you embark on your next professional adventure.

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It’s your last day on the job. Your colleagues have gathered in a conference room, gotten you a few nice going-away gifts and purchased a cake in your honor.

Suddenly, they begin chant: “Speech! Speech! Speech!”

Your adrenaline surges, and your heart begins to pound. And, if you’re like most people, you’ll mutter something like this:

“OK, well, I wasn’t expecting to say anything. But, well, I guess what I’d like to say is it’s been an amazing eight years here. You’re an amazing team and like a second family to me. We’ve been through some ups and downs together-OK, a lot of downs together. But I will really miss you. This isn’t really goodbye, though, because I’m going to stay in touch with all of you whether you like it or not!”

If your goal is to leave a strong impression on your bosses and co-workers, that’s not a great way to do it.

I’ve been guilty of giving that bland goodbye speech. For example, when I left Nightline in 1999, the staff gathered in a conference room to send me off. Ted Koppel, the program’s host, was there, as well as the executive producer, all of the senior producers, on-air correspondents and others.

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