Today, I’m addressing the ever-important Farewell speech. This is under-estimated because at the end of a long year of service, sometime pageant women are so stuck on thinking of how awesome they are – and no doubt, you are – but they forget what this moment is truly about and how to make the most of it.
Now, I’m not saying you always have to capitalizing on key moments, but You Ought to!! As a titleholder, as a person, really, you should always be looking for ways to honor others, shine some glorious light into the world, and enter the gates of heaven with gratitude.
I’ll break down the 5 main components of your Farewell in a beautiful outline, plus I’ll share some specific advice on how to record it so you sound magnificent!
Your farewell speech is sort of your final impression. It’s your opportunity to show gratitude to your team and final moment to inspire others and leave a legacy….It’s what you want your fans and supporters to remember of your reign, plus it’s your final opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of a full audience of people with captive attention. It’s important to make it humble, yet full of personality, gratitude, and inspiration. Plus, most women will continue to compete, so it’s extra-vital that you don’t sound flippant or ungrateful to the pageant community.
Also, I don’t want your farewell to be the one that everyone goes to the bathroom during or yawns and whispers through!
Every time you’re given a microphone, it’s your responsibility to make the most of it.
Outline your speech
The basic outline of an amazing farewell speech has these 5 main components.
1. Emotion: Feeling when winning or quote to summarize your year
2. Success: Share a success – no more than 2
3. Gratitude: Thank your family, directors, sponsors
4. Advice: Give insights to your audience, contestants, or successor tied back into opening
5. Sign Off: Let your personality shine and tie it back to the beginning.
Start with a sentence or two about how you felt when you won the title. Some girls prefer to use a quote that speaks exactly what they are feeling. Just don’t make it longer than a sentence or confusing.
Then, share one or two of the most impactful moments or biggest successes of your year. These should not be inside jokes, but rather things that the community can relate to and feel a part of. It’s most likely that your successes can be attributed to the help and gifts of others, so honor them here and share credit with your coach, sponsor, parents, directors, and whoever else helped you along the way.
Next, show your gratitude to the people closest to you like your family and friends. Always include the producers of the pageant here and the director, owner, sponsors – this is vital! Your role as the titleholder is as the spokesperson for the pageant – you gotta use this time to honor the pageant itself.
Then, share a piece of advice to the audience, contestants, or your successor – not all three – choose the one you feel most called to share insight for. Maybe you want to make a final plug for your platform or encourage the future contestants in the audience that night.
Finally, a fun, personality-laden sign-off is a great way to bring a few smiles and tie your farewell back to the beginning to alert the audience that this is the end and they can start clapping.
Remember, this is an outline, not a cookie-cutter fill-in-the-blank, so add your own creativity to the process. At the bottom of this post, I included an example of what I wrote for my farewell speech and published farewell as Miss California. It may help to see this in action there.
Writing your speech
Here are a few things to remember as you are writing your speech.
It should be no more than 3 minutes, preferably 1.5. Mostly because the audience will stop listening at 3 minutes, but also because you’ll likely be walking and waving on stage, which, trust me, can get super awkward after 90 seconds.
Always honor your pageant team! It’s likely your directors will have flowers to hand you on stage and your parents may as well, so be sure to include them in your speech. And, when their names come up, acknowledge that you wrote that, said it, and still agree with it – please do not just walk and wave like you had nothing to do with the words being heard. It’s okay to point, smile, giggle, and connect with your audience. In fact, it’s human and will help maintain attention.
Avoid complex inside jokes as it will only confuse your audience and make them feel disconnected from you. Also avoid getting too specific like “Thanks to JJ for all the hard work she’s put in to help me succeed.” If you don’t say who JJ is, then the audience will again feel disconnected. Give titles like my sorority sister JJ or last year’s titleholder, JJ, or the local news producer, JJ – get it? You’ll see the examples at the end of this post.
Recording your speech
Once you have it all written, you gotta record it. This matters just as much as the content! excellent audio is vital for your message to be impactful.
Sometimes your directors or producers of the pageant will have this all worked out. My directors at Miss California, had me record it and they edited in the music and made it sound great, but if not, you’ll want to be prepared with your own copy. It’s easier than you think. I’ll walk you through it now.
First, always record your farewell speech with an excellent microphone so you avoid echoes, background fuzz, and hollow-sounding audio. You can get an inexpensive mic on Amazon, or even use your iPhone headset to plug in to record. In fact, I recently started requiring this of all guests on my show because I can’t stand the bad audio – and I’m sure it’s annoying to you too.
I record audio with a free computer software program called Audacity, which also allows you to upload music with the voiceover. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes on the website so you can get it.
Here’s how you do it: Open Audacity, record your voice over, add your music. Move the voice to start at 2 seconds into the music playing and lower the music volume to 20% volume or less – you don’t need a fade in or out.
Remember, this is your final impression and you want to leave the audience feeling all warm and fuzzy about you. You want them saying kind things as they leave the pageant that night like, “Wow, the outgoing queen is really a class-act. She’s one I’d like to hire!” Or “I love the girl who gave up her title tonight – wasn’t she an incredible representative?!” This is the substance that winners are made of.
Check out my farewell speech below and I hope you find the above tips super helpful as you write and record your own.
And, that, ladies is how you win a pageant.
My Recorded Farewell
Last year, I was granted a wish come true and the honor of carrying the title of “Miss California International.” To my delight, it came with a multitude of generous sponsors, a diamond necklace from Torgny Jewelers, an amazingly supportive pageant family with unconditional love, and a year of memories, friends, and accomplishments.
Success is always a team sport and this year, God blessed me with a dream team, to whom I owe immense gratitude:
To my family for keeping me grounded in authenticity so as not to be overwhelmed by pursuing perfection.
To my Fairy Godmothers, Ronnie, Rachel and Jordyn, co-founders of the sisterhood of the traveling wardrobe.
Hilary, for making magic happen in the form of gowns and makeup.
Connie, Marty, Hilary, and Keri, spend countless hours and energy constructing an incredible pageant experience, securing sponsors, and providing opportunities for each contestant and winner. I know my success at Miss International was largely because of their passion for pageantry and desire to see me succeed.
I’m forever grateful for you generously opening your hearts to me and providing unconditional support and love that made my year magical.
I’ll continue to wear this keepsake necklace as it reminds me of the new friends, major accomplishments and sentimental moments from my year as Miss California International 2014.
My Farewell Recorded in the Program Book
Being Miss California International has truly changed the course of my life – in an amazing and powerful way.
Last year, after launching my free workout series, GetABetterBody.info, I received the title of Miss California International and the ability to reach thousands through the promotion of this platform. I had several big wins, most notable was my partnership with the International Sports Sciences Association and Ferrigno Fit (with Lou “The Hulk” Ferrigno) at the Hey There Muscles free summer workout series in Santa Monica.
The Miss International Pageant was another highlight of my year, placing 2nd runner up and tying to win the Fun Fashion award, not to mention meeting incredibly inspiring women and growing closer to my pageant family.
There’s no way one woman could do this alone. God’s infinite wisdom and blessing has placed some amazing people in my life to encourage, celebrate, and support my successes. For these people, I’m forever grateful:
Parker, Michelle, and Maria for being friends on whom I can always count no matter how far the drive, how crazy the event, or how long the wait.
Ronnie, Rachel, and Jordyn, my Fairy Godmothers of Pageantry lending me wardrobe and advice, and keeping me focused on the mission without getting sidetracked by rhinestones and glitter
My sister Teen Queen, Courtney for being a sister from the start; you are a true inspiration to me
Tiffany Tollett for taking me under her wing with support and tons of pageant tips; you are a blessing.
My generous sponsors for providing in-kind gifts and financial support to guide my success.
Torgny Jewelers for creating a truly unique keepsake necklace for my reign.
The National Pageant Volunteers for making the week in Jacksonville fun, organized, and memorable.
Austin Ryde for giving me hair and make up at nationals that saved me thousands of dollars on plastic surgery.
My family for unconditional love, a sense of self, and grounded expectations.
Keri for her work behind the scenes, which surely isn’t easy, but it is powerful. Thank you for nearly doubling my social media following with the tags, reposts, follows, and shares.
Hilary for being a mentor, who became a friend, who became a sister. Thank you for being my rock during pageant week, for lending a gorgeous gown that magically fit perfectly, and for always trusting me to follow my instincts while supporting what you knew to be in my best interest. You’ve always had my back!
Connie and Marty: one of the strongest teams in pageants and in life. Your tireless efforts in fundraising, networking, and loving support helped me to compete at the national level with pride and enthusiasm. You were my number one fans and constantly reminded me of it with love, pictures and presents!
I’ll never get tired of saying it: Thank You!
2015 Contestants: God has something planned for each of you. For one of you, it will be to experience this year as Miss California International. For the rest of you, it’ll be something even bigger! You have a light that needs to be seen and a message that needs to be heard. I can’t wait to see how you’ll shine!
Lots of love,
Alycia Darby, Miss California International 2014
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