COLLEGE

Howard Fineman Shares His Formula For A Perfect Commencement Speech

05/15/2015 12:21 pm ET | Updated May 15, 2015

After years of lectures and late night cram sessions you've finally made it to graduation. But before crossing the stage, diploma in hand, and embarking on the next step in your journey, you have one more rite of passage to experience -- the commencement speech.

HuffPost Global Editorial Director Howard Fineman, who has given a few commencement speeches over the years, joined HuffPost Live on Wednesday to share his wisdom about how to craft the perfect grad speech.

"First of all, you have to realize that the kids are hammered. So they really don't care what you're saying particularly," he said. "But if you're going to try to reach them at all, keep it very simple and very direct."

Staying honest and true to yourself is also key, Fineman said.

"Don't try to impress them by being too cool. Don't do the selfie thing. Don't take a picture of yourself with the kids in the background," Fineman explained. "Don't mention hip hop artists. Don't do any of that because they will roll their eyes and think even less of you than they already do."

Humility can go a long way in commencement speeches, Fineman added. Instead of looking at the speech as another lesson, keep in mind that the students are just ready to kick back and let it all sink in.

"They've just had four years of lectures. The last thing they want to think about, really, at that moment, is the rest of their lives," he said. "For most of them they're thinking, 'Wow, I've gotten through this thing. Let me just relax here for a minute and take a deep breath before I move on.' I think you have to be on their side."

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Howard Fineman here.

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