Companies, community and professional organizations commonly nominate members for commendation awards. The ceremonious proceedings that present the awards often expect the recipient to offer some type of acceptance speech. With a little preparation, an honoree capably appears on the stage, graciously accepts the award and says a few well-chosen words. An acceptance speech need not be long. The most memorable speeches are authentic and original while expressing humility and provide a little bit of the recipient's personality.
In most instances, award recipients are made aware of the impending event well in advance. Award winners should ask if they will be required to address an audience and the amount of time set aside for their acceptance speech. Write the speech and commit the words to memory. In the majority of cases, speeches are not read. Speakers typically carry a few note cards with a brief outline or bullet points if needed. Once on the platform, speakers must maintain eye contact with the audience. Having to write a speech may seem like a stressful task. However, there are a few guidelines that offer direction.
Acceptance Speech Characteristics
Though a challenge, preparing a speech is not difficult. The number of topics covered in the speech depend on the time frame allowed. Some time-honored items to mention might include:
• Other nominees-If receiving the award means being chosen from a group of nominees, reference the other candidates by commemorating their achievements, hard work or traits. Convey humility by sharing that your are honored to be included amongst them as an award contender.
• Brief background information-Appear grateful, surprised and perhaps give the audience a glimpse at the journey that culminated in winning the award. A brief bio might include people who were a major influence, humorous anecdotes concerning struggles along the way or any other tidbits that also offer a humble look into your personality.
• Brief lists-While a speaker may have numerous people who are responsible for their ultimate success story, the audience is often not acquainted with them. Naming a long list of those worthy of receiving thanks may turn into a snooze fest. Mention a limited few who have had a profound effect and explain why.
• Personalized thanks-The key to presenting a memorable thank-you speech entails offering a heart-felt explanation as to why you feel grateful for being nominated and receiving the award. Humbly express an emotional connection as to what winning the achievement means. The speech might also include an explanation of why the organization presenting the commendation deserves praise.
• Avoid controversy-Resist the urge to turn the celebratory event into an attack on anyone or any institution. Do not bring up philosophies or politics that might prove offensive to audience members or the awarding organization.