Use a Commencement Speech From Space to Inspire Your Team Building


It's always interesting at graduation time to see which university snags the best commencement speaker, whether that person is one the hottest political minds of the moment or an A-List celebrity. 

While most finance and accounting professionals are past the days of donning a cap and gown, there's always something to learn from the success of others.

Here are several pieces of career and leadership advice we gleaned from some of the most talked about commencement 2014 speeches so far. Consider showing one of these video clips as a team building exercise  to get your team talking about, for example, advice speeches they would give their younger selves.

Persevere. Astronaut Rick Mastracchio, who gave his speech to the 2014 University of Connecticut grads from space, applied to become an astronaut every year for nine years before he found success, according to an article on The Guardian. (Scroll down to watch his speech in zero gravity!)

Be gritty. Janet Yellin, Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, quoted psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth in telling NYU grads this year that “an abiding commitment to work hard toward long-range goals and to persevere through the setbacks” is a better predictor of career success than just ability. She also reminded them that they will fail, pointing out her own industry’s struggles with the economic crisis. The bottom line? True grit helped them stay on course.

Take risks. Speaking of failure, Jim Carrey, usually known for his comedy, gave an unexpectedly moving graduation speech in Iowa when he spoke about how his father didn’t follow his dream in lieu of being practical but failed anyway. At least fail doing what you love, Carrey said.

Make work-life balance a priority. Anne Marie Slaughter, former U.S. State Department Policy Planning Director, told Tufts University grads to think carefully about their career and family goals and to not let only gender define the roles either spouse should play when it comes to caregiving or providing for the family.

For more, visit NPR’s new database of the best commencement speeches since 1774 or watch these short speech clips posted via Washington Post TV. The Guardian has graduation speeches available on video from speakers including Jimmy Page and Charlie Day.

Related Posts

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons