There are plenty of resources for how to write a Quinceanera speech. But the reality is, what you write down to say is far less important than how you say it. The growing-into-womanhood part of your Quince has everything to do with learning to see yourself as strong and beautiful and holding that opinion in higher value than what others think of you. We’ve gathered a little list of tips to help you do just that, and it starts with learning how to present your speech, not how to write it.
A Little Contradiction to Get Started:
We said in the intro that “what” you choose to say in your speech is less important than “how” you say it. This is true. But it’s also true that other people’s words of wisdom can be invaluable when it comes to building your own courage and self-esteem. So we’re going to offer a quote here and there. You can use them in your speech if you want to, but we hope you take them to heart and make them your own.
1. Don’t be Afraid of Being Afraid
L. Frank Baum, the author of The Wizard of Oz, said, “There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid.”
The mere thought of giving your Quince speech may have you quaking in your pretty new high heels, but you’re not going to back out, are you? You’re going to hang in there and give that speech, and that act alone is worth applause!
2. Be Yourself with Your Words
You’re utterly and totally unique and people genuinely like you for that fact alone—which is why you may have trouble when it comes to paring down your court of honor and/or your guest list.
When you stand in front of those people who love you, don’t try to be anybody but yourself. Be funny, or be serious, or be intellectual, but above all, be you. To that end, here’s our next piece of advice:
3. Choose readings that really matter to you
There is all manner of advice out there for readings and quotes to put in your speech, but don’t use anything to try and make yourself look or sound different than you are. If you want to add a quote, choose something that is “100% you” but not because you want to impress people. Here are some quotes in different categories to think about when it comes to who you are as a young woman on her Quinceanera day:
If you’re spiritual, add a Bible verse:
- Prov 31:25 “She is clothed with strength and dignity…”
- Jer 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you says the Lord…”
If you’re invested in the welfare of the world, choose a classic quote:
- “Love begins at home.” (Mother Theresa)
- “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” (Gandhi)
If you’re literary, choose a short poem or a quote from your favorite author.
- Except we’re not even going to try to suggest anything—you know what you like to read!
If you adore music, quote a song title, a lyric, or an artist you admire:
- “Girls just wanna have fun” (Cyndi Lauper)
- “I’ve had the time of my life” (from Dirty Dancing)
“I make mistakes growing up. I’m not perfect; I’m not a robot.” (Justin Bieber)
Here’s a great fake it ‘til you make it trick:
Pick 3 guests—one to the left, one to the right, and one in the middle. Then practice your speech while moving your gaze periodically from one person to the other. If looking at distinct faces is too distracting, then look in the general directions—right, left, center—just a little bit above their heads. They’ll never know you’re not looking them in the eye.
Your crowd will be far less likely to notice your mistakes because moving your gaze makes them feel like you’re talking to each one individually. It also gives you a chance to look at your cheat sheet if you have one!
5. Learn not to say “Um…”
One of the most distracting things that happen when someone gives a speech or presentation is to hear, “Um…um…” especially during a break in the middle of a thought.
One way to avoid this is to organize what you’re going to say in little chunks, keep your sentences short, pause in between, and even take a little breath.
Here’s a fabulous how-to tutorial on ending that weird little—um—habit:
6. Stay Calm
Here’s a beautiful Chinese proverb that sums up the difference between “trying too hard” and a healthy level of nervousness:
“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”
Of course, you want to do well, but once again, your guests honestly aren’t there to judge you. You’ll always be your toughest critic so try to remember that what you hear as “horrible errors” most likely either won’t be noticed or will seem minor to others.
7. Be confident
Here’s a great quote by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, to help you keep the real purpose of your Quince speech in mind:
“Surrender before the miraculous hope of human generosity and…just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”
Your speech really is nothing more than a very long, slightly formal thank you note—isn’t it?!
8. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
It’s trite but true: Practice does make perfect. Once you have your speech written—and you should pull your speech together several weeks before your Quince—go over it a couple of times a day. Review it first thing in the morning while you get ready for school and then the very last thing at night.
It really is true that the last thing you read or think about seriously just before you fall asleep “sinks in” and your mind works on it while you’re sleeping. Even if you don’t completely memorize your speech, knowing the order of the ideas and being familiar with the words will help you be a lot less nervous on your big day.
9. Ask for spiritual guidance
Even if you’re not having a formal Mass, your Quinceanera is rooted in faith. So why not ask for help? Prayer, meditation, and even asking your local priest or minister is a wonderful way to help you find focus.
Our Closing Encouragement
What more can we say but this?
- “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” (Henry David Thoreau)
Try to keep in mind that the process of seeking to do well on your Quinceanera speech is what will make the most difference in the long run.
And to sum it all up, here’s our favorite quote by that amazing author known to all of us as simply Anonymous:
- “Make today so awesome that yesterday gets jealous.”
Your Quinceanera day will be awesome no matter what happens during your speech—we promise!