Many people are recognised for their work, industry, sporting or community achievements.
The giving of awards by associations, businesses and groups helps recognise achievers and excellence.
In many cases recipients of awards are asked to give a small acceptance speech.
But, according to the Book of Lists, the number one fear in the Western World is the fear of speaking in public.
So how can you make a great impression when you have to accept an award?
Here are my 10 tips on how to make a great acceptance speech.
1. Keep to time.
There is nothing worse than someone who goes on and on. Not only does this turn the audience off but it diminishes the impact of the award. If you have been notified beforehand, always ask how long you have and then keep to that time. If the award is a complete surprise it is best to keep it shorter than go longer.
2. Keep it relevant.
Avoid grandstanding or using the opportunity to score points or put across your own personal agenda. Make the content of your speech relevant to the audience and occasion.
3. Make it memorable.
Personal stories can make an acceptance speech very powerful and memorable. Keep the stories personal, relevant and use to highlight a point.
4. Make a link back to the organisation giving the awards.
Always try and make a connection back to the values or the goals of the organisation giving the awards. Include a memorable vignette or incident, something entertaining or touching about your involvement.
5. Thank those that have helped you.
Nothing is more powerful than thanking others who have helped you reach your goals. Mentors, coaches, supporters, friends, people who first introduced you to the organisation are appropriate people to thank.
6. Share your feelings.
Revealing your true emotions makes a great connection with the audience. If you are truly excited show it!
7. Avoid negative or apologetic statements.
Awards are about celebrating success and achievement and your comments should reflect this. Be upbeat not downbeat.
8. Avoid jokes or funny stories.
Leave this to the professional comedians and stand up comics. The risks of backfiring far outweigh the upside.
9. Avoid notes.
If you know you are going to get an award always prepare beforehand. Don’t read from notes – use keywords as memory triggers. There is always something lacking when an award recipient reads from their notes. I think the audience are let down and it minimises the impact.
10. End with a call to action.
What is it that you want the audience to do? You are the role model – inspire them to greater heights!