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Acceptance Speeches – do’s and don’ts

by | Feb 6, 2024 | 2 comments

Congrats to all of you who get recognized by your peers.

Last night my cousin Neal received just such an award from the Northern TX PGA of America. My husband, Jim, and I proudly attend the President’s Dinner at a beautiful golf country club (of course!) and I have the chance to observe 16 award presentations.

Yep – 16 acceptance speeches, each being around 4-5 minutes! You do the math.

Don’t think “How boring can you get”! These guys do a great job and I stayed engaged even though I know nothing about them or their accolades.

What makes Acceptance Speeches work

My cousin Neal receiving the Byron Nelson Award

🎤  Brevity.  My cousin Neal begins his acceptance speech saying, “I didn’t have my glasses on when I read the instructions … I think the PGA wants me to speak for 4 to 5 minutes or 45 minutes!” He laughs. We laugh. And thankfully Neal sticks to the guidelines. Remember this adage, “Be brief, be gay, be gone.”

🎤  Authenticity – being true to your own personality, values, and spirit.  I stay engaged for the entire evening because each awardee speaks from his truths. The superintendent award winner is overwhelmed as he shares with joy and honesty, “Thank you so much for including us in your award banquet. We aren’t the golfers, we keep the grounds, grass and fairways ready so you can golf. I love ‘my’ golf country club. We have trouble sometimes with the creek that runs through it, but that’s not our fault!”

🎤  Inclusivity. What to include … you ask? First: Context about the award itself and the group that bestows the award on you. Second: People you wish to thank. Write every name down. Yes, even your partner’s name! One guy almost forgot to thank his wife!

What to avoid when receiving an award

❌  Winging it – No notes! No prep! No good!  You’ll go long on tangents and short on what you really want to convey.

❌  Digitizing it – reading your speech from your iPad or phone.  OK – You’re going to push back on this. Many of you rely on your digital notes, and when it works you’re golden. But you’ve also encountered times when your battery dies, the brightness of the screen fades, or the scrolling causes you to lose your place. Please bring your notes, on paper, in a font size you can see. (Better to be old-fashioned then lose your train of thought which did happen to one of the PGA awardees.)

🎤  If you don’t want to accept an award because you hate the thought of giving one of these speeches, call us! Happy to help you become comfortable receiving recognition you deserve.

 

© 2024 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved

2 Comments

  1. Harry Hall

    Years ago, a professional organization presented me with a state media award. At the awards banquet, I made a short speech, telling them how special it is to receive such an acknowledgment from your peers, and thanked them. I returned the next year as a speaker, and one of the members approached me and said that that year’s recipient was asked if she wanted to say a few words. She said, “No,” and bolted off stage. Now we know that she was most likely nervous, but it upset the group. She knew she was getting it, so she should have been better prepared.

    • Karen Cortell Reisman

      Harry – I agree with you. The recipient needs to “say a few words” which means being prepared. BTW – congrats on getting this state media award!

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