“Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
It’s time for the Academy Awards. Some of the acceptance speeches will be award-worthy; some will be cringe-worthy. And we can pick up pointers for our own acceptance speeches – including, sometimes, what NOT to do!
We are all accustomed to movie stars flawlessly delivering their lines – which they memorized and practiced prior to filming, and may have used several “takes” to achieve a perfect rendition. So is it really a surprise when those same movie stars don’t always perform as well without the possibility of a re-take?
We can all take heart that acceptance speeches don’t need to be perfect. But they do need to be heartfelt.
Chances are that you will have several occasions to accept an award, recognition, or a gift, in front of a group and were asked to say “a few words,” either through your workplace or a community organization. The next time you are in that situation, keep a few things in mind:
- Be yourself! If you are exuberant – show it! You will make the best connection with your audience by showing your personality, not playing a role.
- Be sincere. Most members of the audience can spot fake surprise or sobbing. There is also little need for self-praise, since that will likely have been part of your introduction – and the reason for your award.
- Tell a story. If time allows, recount an experience related to the award. But don’t overuse one-liners, it will overshadow your accomplishment, and may be insulting for those giving the recognition.
- Be gracious. In a more formal situation, be it the Academy Awards or the annual company picnic, acknowledge others who were up for the same award.
- Thank those who helped you. While thanking family is fine, try to keep the acknowledgements relevant to the accomplishment at hand, and the team that supported you directly.
- Keep your notes to a minimum. Of course you can have a cheat sheet to ensure you don’t forget to name someone important; alternatively, reading the entire speech does not come across as authentic.
- Keep in time. The Academy Awards has the method of “playing off” a speaker with music down to a science. Keep your acceptance or thank-you speech short and sweet, before your audience starts looking at their watches and smartphones
While you settle down to watch 85th Oscars, start planning your next opportunity to practice a “thank you” speech!
Find out more about clubs in District 4 Toastmasters: http://www.d4tm.org