How to write an acceptance speech for an award
This short guide will help you put together remarks for your award acceptance speech, or, if you are representing an organization giving the award, how to put together a speech that recognizes the success of the person receiving it. Your audience will thank you for a well-prepared and organized award speech.
Part of why we give out awards is to honor the difference that leaders make in our lives. With that in mind, you want to do two things with your award speech: Honor the person, honor the event.
How to write an award acceptance speech tips
If you want to know how to give a brief thank you speech after receiving an award, start with to whom you are grateful. Talk about the effect that the most important in your life had on the path that led you to this award. Leaders do not always like talking about their success, but the trick is to do it in terms of who helped you along the way.
Also consider the organization and the event itself as something to speak about. Is there an added importance to this moment or the hosting organization?
You can also make your remarks about something larger than the award itself. You can make this moment your soapbox where you talk about an issue close to or one that the award-givers should consider in future awards (like Frances McDormand did in her recent Oscars acceptance speech).
There are a few ways you can handle the organization of your remarks when trying to figure out how to write a speech for receiving an award:
1. First, thank the people most special to you
2. Tell 1-3 great stories of the people who helped you
3. Tell your own personal journey to how you go the award
4. Talk about the moment or event–why does this award mean so much
5. Close with a quote or other memorable line from a movie, book, or TV show that fits the organization and the event
How to present an award speech tips
If you are presenting an award to someone else, think through the reasons why this person is receiving the award. This is your chance to give them the praise they won’t give themselves (out of humility) during their speech. Tell stories of their success as a leader in your community; talk about specific actions they took to further the mission of your organization. Similar to when people accept an award, also look for opportunities to talk about what the speech means.
How to write an award presentation speech
Here’s one way you can get the organization right when trying to figure out how to present an award speech:
1. Talk about the greed deeds of the recipient
2. Connect what the recipient does to other great leaders
3. Make remarks about the award’s greater purpose and role in your organization’s mission
Watch and read examples of award acceptance speeches
One of the easiest ways to write good award speeches, is to watch example remarks given by the famous and should-be famous. Each speech fit its audience well and featured people who made a difference in the speakers’ lives.
James Corden’s Tony Awards Opening Speech–is a great model for when you need to address a shocking or traumatic event that just occurred, James Corden does a wonderful job at the opening of the Tony’s
Frances Mcdormand academy award speech–want to take your opportunity to take a position head-on?
Tyler Perry’s BET Awards speech–incredible dedication speech to his mom and growing up–incredibly theme, “Help somebody cross”
Matthew McConaughey’s “I’m always chasing myself 10 years into the future”–a bit out of left field, but based on the field of positive psychology
Carrie Brownstein: Moth Ball Awards
Lead by Example Award Speech
Hart Vision Teacher of the Year
More tips on how to present an award speech and how to write an award acceptance speech
Plan the theme for your awards speech
One thing that helps speakers figure out how to write an award speech is focusing on a theme for the speech. Look at Tyler Perry’s speech above for the strong theme of, “I helped somebody cross (the road).”
Your theme should encapsulate all the parts of the speech that you put together; it’s your one line that you come back to, it’s the overall message that you want to convey. One area to look for themes is in quotes or in books (even movies and songs). Figure out the common thread through all of the things you want to say and find a quotation that resonates with it that your audience will appreciate.
Create an outline for your award ceremony speech
An outline also helps speakers figure out how to give an award acceptance speech. Acceptance speeches often contain the following elements:
1. Thanking the organization for the award
2. Thanking members of their family and religious figures
3. Telling stories about how they achieved the success the award is recognizing
4. Connecting the award with a larger theme or movement
Other questions asked about award speeches:
How to write a 5 year or long service award speech by employer for an employee/award acceptance speech on behalf of company
Talk about the accomplishments of the person; also tell the audience “what they might not know” about the person as long as it’s clean and not embarassing
What do you say after receiving an award/How do you write a good thank you speech
You can keep your speech short and thank a few people or if you have the floor for longer, go ahead and tell great stories and specific roles that people played. However, make sure that you plan out exactly who to thank so you don’t leave anyone out.
What do you say in an acceptance speech
You want to show people your gratitude for their help and the honor of receiving the award.
What do you say at an award ceremony
It depends if you are the one presenting the award or accepting it, but you want to tie the evening into its larger purpose. Why were these awards created in the first place? What does getting an award mean to the person and the organization giving it? What do these awards mean to the people that your organization serves?
How do you start an award speech/How do you introduce a winner
You typically thank the organization that gave you the award; many people often thank their parents and family members in the beginning, too.
When introducing a winner, if the audience doesn’t know who the person is yet, you can give clues along the way. But if everyone already does, give a quick bio of the person and the reasons they are winning the award. Tell a quick story about the recipient, too, that shows their good nature.
How do you accept an award graciously/How do you say thank you for receiving recognition
You want to stay humble. If you are the head of a firm and it’s an industry event, you will definitely want to thank your clients. Beyond that, focus on the people who helped you in any way and tell their stories.
Need help with your award speech? Contact me.
Photo by jonathan-borba on Unsplash