Running a Successful Awards Presentation: The Space

A successful corporate awards presentation can really boost morale and can even improve productivity. On the flip side, however, a poor, or even mediocre experience produces the opposite results and may solidify a less-than-loyal employee’s worst fears about their organization.
There is no question that visibly rewarding employees in front of their peers and showing that management values their work and effort is an important aspect of employee retention. It’s invaluable opportunity to define, communicate and reinforce key aspects of outstanding performance.

So, the pressure is on. Here are some tips that help when planning the space and practicing that are sure to keep your nerves at bay and help you perform well above mediocrity.

The environment you’re presenting in is very important. It’s all about making the best of the space you have. While you may be fortunate enough to be presenting in a furnished hotel ballroom or a space that is already prepped for an awards ceremony, but chances are it’s just going to be your companies all-purpose area and your budget covers the actual awards themselves and little else.


In an ideal situation you would have two “stage” lights to cross light the presenter. While most of the light in the room doesn’t have to be focused on the presenter, it’s a good idea that the majority is and only  a few lights distributed over the audience. If the venue doesn’t offer these lighting options just go for pleasant lighting and clarity.


If the group will be 25 or more, it’s a good idea to use a platform or podium to raise the presenter and recipients a couple of feet off the floor. If a stage or podium isn’t possible, at the very least, arrange the seating so everyone is facing the presentation. It’s also a good idea to cover the background wall behind the presenter with a curtain or fabric. Some public speakers like to use a brightly colored background so their plain suit won’t blend into the background.


All too often awards and speeches are given at dinners where the seating arrangements are less than ideal for a presentation. When at all possible, try to arrange the seats at a dinner in a half-moon shape  facing the presentation so people don’t have to fidget to see the action.


No matter the circumstance, whether it’s a few colleagues or hundreds of co-workers always practice the presentation, at least once, with all the equipment that will be used during the presentation. This means if you’re using a microphone, practice with the mic beforehand to get a feel for the sensitivity and ideal positions to avoid feedback. This will also allow you to get any kinks out of your equipment in a dry run saving you embarrassment and valuable time during the presentation.

We will continue our “Running a Successful Awards Presentation” series next week when we talk about the presentation itself, some “do’s and don’ts”, and what to do if the presentation starts to go bad.

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