A retirement party is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the retiree and wish him good luck in the coming years. When you are trying to figure out what to say in a retirement speech, it is important to remember that this is an important day for the honoree. Find words that are respectful, but will also help to capture the emotion of the moment and put it all in perspective.
Spend some time listing and commenting on the accomplishments of the retiree. Retirement is the time to look back on a career and highlight the successes. This is also a good time for people that consider the retiree to be a mentor to speak about what they have learned from the person. A few minutes reflecting on the successes and accomplishments of a career can make the retiree feel satisfied that she is appreciated and has created a legacy to be proud of.
It is always fun to bring up the retiree's hobbies and interests and then postulate on how those will expand in retirement. Coworkers and friends can relay stories about the retiree's interests and how he enjoys his off time. A gift that symbolizes the person's interests would also be appropriate. For example, a golf towel with the company logo stitched on it can help bridge that gap between work and retirement.
One of the ways that a company can show appreciation to a retiree is to include a comprehensive retrospective of the person's career. Information regarding her time with the current company and the history before the current company should be included. The retiree's family members would have to get involved in writing this portion of the speech and adding pictures to the presentation would be a good way of adding something special to the speech.
Coworkers, friends, former managers and family members all want to add some levity to a retirement party by making jokes at the expense of the retiree. But everyone should avoid including too many jokes about age and growing old. The retiree is looking forward to many years of rest, relaxation and enjoyment. Jokes about age tend to deflate that feeling and make the retiree just feel old.