Know What To Say When The Spotlight Is On You

When it's your turn, you need to be ready to speak
When it’s your turn, you need to be ready to speak
Image Credit: Steven de Jong

Who doesn’t like winning an award? We all do. When we receive an award, it’s because we did something special or we have done something better than anyone else has. These are great moments for us. When we get an award, we are often asked to stand up and say a few words. Oh, oh – this is where things can start to fall apart. If we don’t have a plan for what we want to say, then we’re going to end up fumbling over our words and we won’t do a good job of communicating. What is the best way to handle situations like this?

Think About What You Want To Say

When we receive an award, rarely is it a surprise. Yes, we might not have known that we were going to get honored today, but we probably knew that we had done something special and that there was a good chance that we’d get recognized someday. What this means is that we’ve got some work to do. We need to have created a speech. This is what the importance of public speaking is all about. Oh, and we need to have practiced it. Over and over again. You’ll want to make your delivery look natural – like you didn’t have a speech ready, but you need to have had one queued up and ready to go.

Speak From Your Heart

When we are receiving an award or recognition for something that we’ve done, this is the best time for us to show the audience who we really are. This is the time that you are going to want your speech to come from your heart and you will want to take the time to show your audience who you really are. The good news for you is that your audience will be especially appreciative of your authenticity and if you can drop in some tasteful humor as you do it then all the better.

Remember Others

As we all know, no matter what you are being honored for, you didn’t do it all by yourself. Now that the spotlight is on you, this is the best time to thank everyone who helped you to achieve your accomplishment. It goes without saying that if you are being honored by an organization or a group, you should also thank them for recognizing you. When you show the audience that even in your moment of glory that you are able to think of others, their impression of you will only soar.

Forget False Modesty

One of the biggest mistakes that a speaker can make when they are receiving an award or recognition is to say something silly like “I really don’t deserve this.” The answer to that question is “Yes, you do” and that’s why a group of people are going to the effort to present you with it. If you say something like this it will come across as being false modesty which nobody really wants to hear and it will reflect badly on the people who decided to honor you. Instead, you want to say thank you and acknowledge that you did whatever you are being honored for.

Keep It Short

Yes, you are being honored; however, the audience does not now want to hear you recite “War and Peace” to them. Instead, what they are looking for is for you to say a few words acknowledging your honor and for you to keep it succinct, sincere, and thoughtful. If you can pull this off, then your quick acceptance of your honor will go over well with your audience and they can then get back to whatever they were doing before they decided to stop everything and honor you.

What All Of This Means For You

Awards and recognition are wonderful – we can never get enough of these recognitions. However, when we find ourselves standing in the spotlight, we need to make sure that we are ready. The last thing that we want to allow to happen is for us to get called on to give a speech and not have one ready to give. When our time comes, we need to have taken the steps needed in order to be ready so that we can share the benefits of public speaking.

What this means is that we have to have realized that we might be recognized and so we have to have a speech ready that we have already practiced. When it comes time for us to stand and accept our honor, we need to make sure that we speak from our heart and the words that we say are true. Nobody is ever successful by themselves and so as we accept our award or acknowledgement we need to be careful to recognize the others who allowed us to be successful. When we are accepting an award or an acknowledgement, this is not the time for false modesty – be gracious and accept your award. When you are accepting your award, keep it short – nobody wants to hear a lot of words from you.

Doing great things and then being recognized for doing them is something that all of us can enjoy. We need to understand that when people decide to place us in the spotlight to give us credit for our accomplishments, we need to honor them by being ready to receive their praise. Make sure that you have a speech ready to go and do a good job of accepting the praise that you so richly deserve!

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How long do you think an acceptance speech should be?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So why do you give speeches? Is it to give you a chance to hear yourself speak? I’m guessing the answer to that question is no. The reason that most of us give speeches is because we want to use the importance of public speaking to have an impact on our audience. What we really want to happen is we want to be memorable. We want our audience to hear what we have to tell them and then be able to recall it long after we are done speaking. The challenge that this creates for us is that we now have to discover how to create speeches that will be memorable.