How To Write An Acceptance Speech
How To Write An Acceptance Speech
Join professional speech writing expert Lawerence Berstein, of greatspeechwriting.co.uk, as he discusses a few pointers on writing a winning acceptance speech.
Hi. I'm Lawerence Berstein, a professional speech writer, and I run greatspeechwriting.co.
uk. Irrespective of the sort of speech that you're going to give, there are two or three key things to bear in mind. Firstly, there is nothing to beat preparation.
Hopefully, you're not watching this 24 hours before you're due to give your speech. The more time you leave yourself, the better. Second of all, don't worry about speaking too long.
Often, a five-minute speech is much, much more powerful and impactful than a twenty-minute one. Brevity is often the key. Finally, although a lot of the videos that I've created are about writing a speech, please remember that you can't think about writing and delivering separately.
They're one in the same thing. You're writing to make the speech easy to deliver, and if you think of it that way then the thing should work. So, congratulations - you're planning your acceptance speech.
I think the first thing to do when you're deciding what to say is to split the speech into "must haves", i.e. the things that you've got to say, and then "might haves", which are the things that possibly can make yours a little bit different and bring it to life a bit.
Now, the must haves will generally be a list of "thank yous", and I'm sure you don't need to be told who those are, but I think the trick while you're putting your words on paper is to avoid what I call listing: looking like you are just going down a tick box of names that will be no one to anyone. It's better to do less "thank yous" but be more sincere about them rather than go endlessly on through everyone you've ever met, some of whom might not even be in the room, and in the process of doing so, you're just going to bore everyone in the room senseless. Keep them relatively short, try and disperse them through the speech if possible so you're not just listing, and then we can start thinking about the "might haves" that could bring the thing to life a little more.
Now, the best way to plot what else to say is to work out what you want people to think when you've finished speaking. If you want them to think what you're funny, then obviously the thing has got to be jokey. If you want them to think you're incredibly sincere, grateful, and pretty straight, then you will obviously be writing in a very different way.
The key is this is not a time to talk for too long about yourself. People are well aware of what you've achieved because you're up there accepting it. Please don't try and rattle off a CV as if you're in the latter stages of some job interview that's going wrong.
Try and keep what you're saying relevant to the audience in the room. You may be accepting the award, but like every speech, your words are more about what's interesting to them rather than what you want to say at that particular. As with almost every speech, but particularly so when you're accepting something, try and be self-deprecating.
Not in a false way, but have a little laugh about yourself rather than taking yourself too seriously and trying to come across like someone who has won an Oscar and is letting their emotions take over. Generally, we are accepting things that aren't quite on that scale, and a little bit of laughter at your own expense can be by far the best way of capturing your audience's attention and appreciation. Writing the thing, try and keep it short.
Try and keep it punchy and make it very easy to deliver. Ideally, you want to make it look as if you're ad-libbing. There's nothing worth than someone who looks like they've spent days and days rehearsing their own acceptance speech, so try and get it to a stage where you're just looking at a couple of notes on a bit of paper.
Much, much better to accept for a minute or two rather than ten minutes if you've got the opportunity. There are many more tips on my website, greatspeechwriting.co.
uk. If you'd like me to help, please just giv