Have you ever been selected to receive an award of some significance, and been uncertain how to behave leading up to the moment and then when actually accepting the honour? Since so many people are afraid of public speaking, this situation could easily gravitate for the recipient between one of joy and one of trepidation.
A brief article in the August issue of Toastmaster magazine looks at appropriate protocols for an award receiving situation:
- As with any formal speaking event, practice one’s acceptance speech (it’s noteworthy how often professional actors stumble during ceremonies with peers); think about time, and memorize who to thank
- As with almost any organized event, be prepared for the unexpected
- When announced, walk on stage promptly but without rushing
- When receiving the award, stand a little sideways toward the audience, then accept it with the hand nearest the presenter (minimizing awkward body language)
- Show the award to the audience, place it on the lectern if heavy or large, and be sure to take it with you after the speech
- Concerning the speech, one should express gratitude modestly, recognize the contributions of the presenting organization as well as competitors, and say ‘thank you’ with sincerity
These behaviours read as mainly obvious; but in any such high profile circumstance, being prepared reduces a sense of pressure, making for a more enjoyable experience.
Now, those are the best ways to accept an award. There are also more controversial options, with their own rules of thumb…
- Bring a trophy case with you on stage, so everyone can see the award’s new home
- Take your dog or cat up with you, to immediately engage empathy with animal lovers
- For thanking those with difficult names to pronounce, display a pennant with the names spelled out (no white out, please!) phonetically
- Let fans know they can share in the occasion with an autographed version of the award available for special purchase on-line, courtesy of your 3D printer
- Try engaging in a mass hypnosis to ferret out secrets which can help you win again next time
- Ask for a show of hands of people who voted for you, and give them initialed ‘thank you’ cards
- Organize a sing-along with other award winners, but with more modest lyrics than ‘We are the champions!”
- Remember that even sneakers and shorts can be enhanced with a fancy bow tie
- Wear all kinds of badges and encourage starting a trading session
- If you win more than one award, spice up the ceremony with some juggling
While, generally speaking, it may be better to give than to receive, it doesn’t hurt to make the most of those times getting the goods.
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