How To Write A Prize Acceptance Speech

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Winning the award in the first place and then writing a fantastic speech is only half the battle when presenting a speech that no-one will ever forget. No-one tells you about the time you will spend online researching speech writing.

So to help out, find more info on tips and hacks to help you tackle the writing and presentation of the best acceptance speech you can write.

Keep it brief

The people who voted for you will be excited to hear your speech but don’t make the mistake of making the speech too long. Generally, the audience’s attention span wanes after twelve minutes or less.

Twelve minutes sounds like a lot, so keeping the speech down to eight minutes is ideal. Within the magic, eight minutes make no more than three points. Starting at point one with the specific purpose of the speech.

State the Specific Purpose 

The specific purpose statement is written as an infinitive phrase beginning with the ideas like: “To inform those who voted for me”. Remember, this statement needs to be sufficiently narrow so that you can cover the topic effectively and still meet time constraints. 

Within that topic, you need to have an attention-getting idea that is relatable to the audience and establishes your credibility. Often humour works well when establishing a rapport.

After stating the purpose of your speech now, you need to include your central idea.

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The Central Idea

Essentially, the central idea statement is equivalent to an account in a written essay, summarising what you expect to cover in a speech or your mission statement. Ideally, you will present these in a single sentence. 

It is what you would say during the introduction of your speech. This statement will occur in two locations in your outline, listed at the top of your strategy and directly beneath the specific purpose statement just like a sandwich.

The Body of the Speech

The body of a speech is the central part of the speech that states the main ideas and fundamental concepts of the speech. The body is every topic you wish to discuss but not the introduction and the conclusion. The body of an address makes up your main points.

For a speech, you will need up to three main short points. The reason three brief points are preferable is that If you have only one point in your address, the speech will be over too quickly, or it will be too complicated for the audience to follow. 

If you have only one long point, you’ll need to break that point down into multiple sub-points. On the other hand, five points or more is too much for the audience to follow. 

When you’re writing your speech, it’s essential to keep the same structure and repetition throughout your address. Repetition is necessary because it helps the audience follow your intentions. 

Mention the organisation’s goals.

An awards ceremony is a great time to touch upon your organisation’s goals but avoid a lengthy rendition. Incorporate one or two easy-to-remember statistics that demonstrate noteworthy accomplishment. It’s also the time you honour the people who helped you win the award.

Say Thank You

When you receive a gift, prize or award you always say “thank you”, and it’s the thank you’s that are the most critical part of any acceptance speech. The audience is expecting it and now is the time to credit those that have helped. How about something like “I wouldn’t have been able to win this prize if it wasn’t for the support of my wife/husband/dog”. Delete as appropriate.

Looking back at all the memorable Oscar acceptance speeches – who could forget Gwyneth Paltrow’s emotional acceptance speech for the film Shakespeare in Love. In addition to all the crew, cast and friends, Paltrow goes on to pay a touching tribute to her family, brother and deceased cousin. 

It’s very moving as she struggles to get her words out but still manages to deliver a beautifully written and heartfelt speech. Making the point that thanks are significant.

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End on a High

Now you’re at the end of the speech followed by a brief explanation on where you go from here and then finish with a flourish. Now you have written the speech here are a few quick tips on successfully delivering your speech.

Tips on Speech Delivery

Don’t use written notes if you can help it. Practise your speech a few times to remember the basis of what you want to say. Maybe visual prompts might be useful.

It’s a good idea to establish a personal connection with the audience. Making eye contact for five seconds after the welcoming applause stops is a good tactic.

Be genuine and incorporate gestures. Just make sure your enthusiasm doesn’t create an unintended comedic effect. A great trick is to imagine yourself speaking to one person, not hundreds. This trick can help you avoid projecting a stiff or nervous manner.

Lastly, relax if you possibly can – and if all else fails, get someone else to make the speech and you stay in the bar, that’s a tactic no-one will forget but not for the right reasons.


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