Six Steps to a Gracious Speech of Acceptance


Accept the Responsibilities of Accepting an Award

A well-received Speech of Acceptance is a humble acknowledgement of all those who specifically helped the recipient achieve the results that earned him, her or them the award and those whose efforts make the grating of an award possible at all.  In addition, it makes clear that the award-winner understands that his or her or their work is part of a larger contribution to a field, industry or medium.  A well-crafted Speech of Acceptance sends a clear message to the audience as well as the grantors of the award that their recipient was indeed the right selection. S/he comes off as humble, gracious and appreciative of the opportunity for his or her role in the granting institution’s efforts, mission and identity.

Three Things about Awards That You Need to Know

  1. Yes, candidates for an award do prepare, polish and practice Speeches of Acceptance even though they recognize that they may not win.
  2. Yes, typically the granting organization does alert the winner in advance of the ceremony specifically so that s/he may prepare a proper Speech of Acceptance.
  3. No, do not pretend at the podium that you are surprised to win if you did in fact know in advance that you would be receiving the award!


Six Steps to a Stellar Speech of Acceptance

T – Tell the person who actually called you up to the podium “thank you” and do so while mentioning his or her name clearly and upon taking the microphone.

H – Have handy the names of the decision-makers who selected you for the prize and the story of the person or event in whose name the award is given.

A – Articulate why you feel a special or personal connection to this particular award in addition to the work you did to earn it.

N – Note the mission of the organization and your work’s direct connection to it or extension of it.

K – Keep the momentum going with a quotation, proverb, or adage that captures the spirit of the granting organization or the person or event for which the prize was named.

S – Specify and express appreciation to the individuals or groups of people who were instrumental in facilitating the work that earned you the award and be clear about the nature of the support they provided.

The ABCs of Accepting an Award

Avoid hyperbole such as, “I could never have imagined I’d win this ….”  If you are a candidate, you do indeed know in advance that there is a chance that you may win.

Be brief.  Odds are you will be accepting the award during a program or banquet with items on the agenda so your part at the podium should be expeditious and your speech succinct.

Carry the award proudly back to your chair after your acceptance speech.  People are still watching, photographing and congratulating you after you leave the microphone.


Lisa Bernard is a twenty-five year veteran of the public speaking industry with over 10,000 hours of platform addresses, workshops and presentation skills coaching.  She has prepared speakers from Hartford to Hong Kong for communication challenges from interviews to media spots, meetings and keynotes.  Lisa can be reached at and (203) 293-4741 and found on the web at and




One comment on “Six Steps to a Gracious Speech of Acceptance

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s