Congratulations! You’re set to receive an award! There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to really inspire an audience. Unfortunately, with that comes a lot of pressure to be a lot of things all at once; gracious, grateful, and humble–but not so humble or self-deprecating that the audience thinks you are trivialising the honour.
As awards season comes and goes each year, we see how audiences can turn against people with a few ill-chosen words. Preparation is essential, even if you’re not entirely sure you’ll be awarded. Think about Oscar winnings being caught out and going up on stage, shocked, and barely able to speak, pulling out their folded notes and names to thank.
Fear not! Here’s your 5 step process to create your own standing ovation worthy speech.
- Let’s start with the basics. How much time do you have to give your acceptance speech? The event organiser will be able to tell you, and from there, we can start planning. Overall, the shorter and simpler, the better.
- People don’t remember what you said, but they remember how you made them feel. Thank the organisation granting you the award or honour. That includes those who may have nominated you and recognising that you would not be there on stage without them. Use emotion to connect with the audience and convey how grateful you’re feeling.
- Next, we’ll focus on the process that leads you up to you being recognised for the award. The hard work, a funny memory or poignant moment in the process. Do you want to entertain, inspire or influence the audience? Share something that they wouldn’t have experienced themselves, let them into your life to share at the moment or the journey with you.
- Give the audience something to take away. If you want to create lasting impact with those listening, explain how the experience changed your life and offered advice to anyone going through something similar. Use emotion to transcend language or culture barriers. Think of having courage, being brave, using laughter in trying situations, love or compassion, to name a few. Have a think about what you want them to share with their colleagues around the water cooler next week at work.
- End the speech with a bang. Once again thank all those who are giving the award to you. We suggest you close with a statement that will make your audience remember you. Also, thank those in the audience so that they feel appreciated!
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