The chance to present an award to someone you feel deserves it is an honor in and of itself. The role you play is crucial to the success of the event. Just remember that the focus of the speech is on the award recipient, not you.
Gather specific information about the award recipient, including the correct pronunciation or his or her name and years with and roles held in the awarding organization. Also gather interesting stories about the recipient from people who know him or her well and comments about why this person is a good choice to receive the award.
Gather specific information about the award to be presented such as how it came into being, selection criteria, how many other award recipients there are and why the award is important.
Find out how much time is set aside to present the award. Also find out exactly what the award presentation entails -- such as a certificate, trophy, monetary award or some combination. Also learn about the size of the room, where to stand, amplification and other logistics.
Prepare an outline for the speech that includes an attention-getting opening remark and a closing that culminates in the presentation of the award. Also develop a clear statement of purpose that will not be a part of the speech but will guide you as you put the speech together.
Start the speech with an explanation of the award and its importance. State the criteria of the award and why the winner was chosen. Descriptions for each part of the speech depend on the allotted time. Award presentations may be as short as three minutes or as long as fifteen. If time allows and the award presentation has a long and interesting tradition, explain it.
Tell stories about the recipient that best exemplify the essence of the award and why the winner is the most suitable choice to receive it. Give colorful descriptions that show why the winner was selected.
Build the speech to a crescendo that concludes with welcoming the recipient to the stage and congratulating him or her for earning the award.
Speak the speech out loud to make sure it sounds natural. Not all written words come across well when spoken out loud. Change any words that don't sound right when spoken aloud.
Tips & Warnings
- Make ample use of the pause for emphasis and to allow for applause where necessary during the speech.
- Practice your speech by speaking it into a digital record and replaying it to make sure it flows well.
- To build suspense, do not mention the name of the award-winner until the end of the speech.
- Remember the focus of the speech is on the award recipient, not you.
- Humor helps keep a speech light and update, but make sure it is not off-color, offensive or open to misinterpretation.
- Avoid trite phrases like "Without further ado" or "This person needs no introduction."
- Do not over praise to avoid sounding insincere.
- Toastmasters International: Presenting an Award
- Speech-Writers.com: How to Make an Awards Speech
- FlatWorld Knowlege: Presenting or Accepting an Award
- "The Challenge of Effective Speaking"; Rudolph F. Verderber, Kathleen S. Verderber, Deanna D. Sellnow; 2008
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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