Every year during Christmas, Queen Elizabeth II addresses her subjects in a broadcast aired to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations—an intergovernmental organization of 53 member states that were former territories of the British Empire.
Wherever the Queen is recognized as sovereign, the Christmas broadcast is something to look forward to. The speech looks back to what happened over the year: the successes, the failures, the challenges, and hopes for the future. In delivering her message, the Queen never forgets to talk about the meaning of Christmas for her, her family, and her people.
Like the Queen, leaders from all over the world give a year-end message to cap off the year’s endeavors. For a CEO, manager, or team leader, a year-end speech is the perfect opportunity to ponder on the year’s ups and downs. It is also the perfect time to inspire colleagues to embrace the coming year.
With the Queen’s annual Christmas broadcast as a benchmark, here is a guide for a year-end speech worth remembering:
1. Look back at the year’s biggest achievements
Has your team exceeded the quota? Has your agency won new accounts? Have you opened new stores? Mentioning the year’s achievements adds an optimistic and inspiring feel to your speech. Each success reminds your colleagues that the team has been meeting expectations, and that everyone’s hard work has bore fruit.
Mentioning the year’s achievements also gives you a chance to acknowledge your colleagues’ efforts. Remember that when the work of your colleagues is recognized, they stay motivated to do their best for the team.
2. Recall how you conquered your biggest challenges
Though Christmas is a season to be jolly, the leader in you still needs to be in touch with reality, and that means pointing out the biggest challenges you faced that year. Did you close down a store? Was there a drop in revenue? Identifying such stumbling blocks is not meant to dampen the festive spirit. Rather, it can boost your team’s morale by emphasizing how you surmounted these setbacks.
If those challenges are yet to be cleared, talk about the steps you’ve taken to overcome them. Discuss how they are being addressed, and be sure to share the results you expect from your course of action. By recalling how the team conquered major obstacles and showing that it’s on its way to winning, your colleagues will feel more confident in facing the future.
3. Look to the future with hope
As a leader, you provide your colleagues a perspective on how you can achieve your team’s goals. During your year-end speech, the timing is opportune to show your team’s roadmap for next year. Are you pursuing expansion? Are you launching new products? A vision of the future gives your teammates something great to look forward to as the New Year approaches.
Clarity of vision also gives your colleagues more certainty despite the difficulties that may come along. Aside from the things your teammates can expect next year, you can also mention things that could make their Christmas even merrier: their bonuses, for example.
4. Never forget what Christmas means
Christmas could be a marker for your team or your company’s milestones, but what else does it mean for you and your team? Perhaps your products or services give people a more joyful Christmas, but more than anything, it is about families coming together.
When you give your year-end speech, remember that you are not just addressing a firm or its members; you are also addressing a family. Your teammates would love to feel that they belong to one, and a touching holiday message can give them the sense that they are like family to you.
Upon ending your speech, don’t forget to conclude with a heartwarming Christmas greeting. You could recite a few lines from a poem, lyrics from a song, or an anecdote your audience will love. In whichever way you deliver your last speech for the year, make sure it will give your audience something worth remembering.