It's very validating when you are new in the industry to get awards.
It boosts your self-esteem. - Sheena Easton
Awards in various forms such as medals, decorations, prizes, trophies and monetary incentives, are a ubiquitous part of all societies. These public accolades are to recognize the singular and outstanding contributions of individuals and groups. Therefore, awards always have positive connotations to the presenters and recipients.
For the recipients, awards serve not only as external motivators, but also gratify their psychological needs such as recognition, social status and self-fulfillment. For the presenters, these public honors are to motivate employees, create social linkages, and develop positive interactions with the award honorees and the community in general.
Awards are invariably presented by hosting ceremonial functions. These may be simple ceremonies or ostentatious gala events with great fanfare such as the Oscars, Nobel Prize, the Emmys, and the Grammys. No matter what may be the scale of the function, it is always a joyful event held to celebrate. Presenters publicly acknowledge and recognize the contributions of awardees; recipients express their sincere gratitude and acknowledge the honors by delivering acceptance speeches.
Considering the significance of these functions, it is highly desirable that recipients are thoroughly familiar with the format, protocol, and procedures of the ceremony and are knowledgeable of its multiple facets.
The objective of this article is to provide guidelines on how to accept an award, deliver an acceptance speech, and avoid some of the pitfalls due to lack of appropriate information and preparation.
Gather Pre-award Information
When informed about the upcoming honor, a recipient should gather information about the following:
Compilation of this information will not only ensure that the function will proceed smoothly and without last minute glitches, but may also relieve some of the nervousness and anxiety of the award recipients.
Accept an Award
Award should be accepted with pride, dignity and deference. Awardees need to project enthusiasm and graciousness for the honors. As the name is announced, the recipient should go up to the award presenter with enthusiasm and a smile, and observe the following protocol:
Recipient should shake hands and stand next to the award presenter with body turned half way towards the audience.
Look at the presenter, keenly listen, smile, and acknowledge the award citation.
Receive the award with left hand, and shake right hand with the presenter and say, "thank you."
Turn body toward the audience. Hold the award in full view of everyone and demonstrate happiness and pleasure.
Display the award on or near the lectern and deliver an acceptance speech.
Deliver an Acceptance Speech
Be sincere; be brief; be seated. - Franklin D. Roosevelt
The acceptance speech is a special occasion speech to express gratitude for winning honors and accolades. The main objective is to convey appreciation to the sponsors, nominator, presenters, and to recognize the commitment of the members who helped achieve the honor.
Writing and delivering an effective speech requires planning, preparation, and practice. The speech has to be brief and within the pre-specified time limits. Vocal tone should project sincerity, modesty and humility. The speech should not be read; however, some use of notes is acceptable. Awardee should maintain eye contact with the audience while delivering the speech.
The Main Elements of an Acceptance Speech
The speech should address the following fundamentals:
Gratitude - Thank the sponsors and the hosts.
Recognition - Share the glory. Thank your corporation or company for support and team members who helped to make it possible.
Sincerity - Be modest, humble and gracious.
The Structure and Outline of an Acceptance Speech
Announce and acknowledge that you accept this award by saying the title of the award, and that you accept it or you accept it on behalf of your corporation/organization.
Express thanks to the:
Give a brief description of the history of your corporation/organization and challenges faced to accomplish its goals.
State one or two interesting incidents to make it personal.
Briefly recognize and acknowledge the contributions of the team members, family and friends who helped achieve the honor.
Cite the inspirational value of the award and plans on how to use or display the award.
Express sincere gratitude again to the organization/corporation for the award.
Conclude the speech with a memorable close. Carry the award in your hands and return to your seat.
Etiquettes to Observe
Keeping in view the dignity of the function, proper etiquettes should be observed. The following mistakes should be avoided so not to trivialize the occasion.
Recipient should not eagerly jump, run or leap all the way to the stage. This kind of impulsive behavior shows lack of maturity and belittles the significance of the occasion.
As the presenter reads the citation, awardee should not gaze anxiously or reach for the award.
Do not self-deprecate and say, "I really don't deserve this." Such comments undervalue the decision of the organization presenting the award.
Refrain from saying, "I have always wanted it for so long and finally I got it." Such remarks show that the recipient is shallow, conceited, and just outsmarted everybody else to get the award.
This is not the time to go over a long list of names to thank. An award is for the recipient and not for all the relatives and friends.
Do not go through all the detailed trials and tribulations suffered to accomplish the award. People are not interested in the details, they want the main points.
Avoid telling jokes or trying to make the acceptance speech funny. Some of these jokes may not go well with the organizers or with the audience.
To receive an honor and to deliver an acceptance speech requires a thoughtful, judicial, and careful preparation. The acceptance speech should be delivered in a tone that portrays humility, gratitude, and appreciation.
Template to Accept an Award
Good Evening, Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my honor and privilege to accept the award of [title of the Award].
I sincerely thank the sponsors [names of sponsors] for initiating the award, nominators [name of nominators] for nominating me, members of the selection committee for selecting me, and the organizers [name of the organizers] for hosting this [name of the award] function.
It is certainly a very proud and humbling experience for me, for my co-workers and team members [name of team or of corporation if applicable].
I especially want to thank my mentor [name of the mentor], who always helped and guided me with his/her knowledge, experience, expertise, and kept me motivated to achieve my goals.
I also extend my sincere appreciation and gratitude to my co-workers, team members, family members and other multiple business associates, without their help, this honor would not have been possible.
This award would always have a place of honor in our company/corporation.
Thank you, again.
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