We’ve all heard the survey that is riddled with hyperbole; most people in the United States would rather die than be forced to speak publicly in front of a large audience. While this statement rings on the extreme side it does present the issue that public speaking is a widespread fear. The good news is that many times, barring social learning disabilities, this fear can be combated with knowledge, training, and practice.
So let’s start with some information that will set the foundation for training and practice on your own.
- Know your material:
- Make sure you gravitate toward subject matter that you’re comfortable with. Whether it be jokes, stories, or the main message, don’t play the expert, be the expert.
- Practice. Practice. Practice:
- Rehearse all the time. In the car, brushing your teeth, walking the dog – keep saying the speech over and over. Practice pausing and breathing and don’t rush though your speech. Also, occasionally practice with a timer to make sure you’re not rushing or stalling too much.
- Know the audience:
- Greet the audience as they enter. It’s easier to talk to acquaintances and friends than complete strangers.
- Know the environment:
- Arrive early and survey the room. Practice with the microphone if possible and ensure that all equipment is setup to meet your needs.
- Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile, and count to three before saying beginning your speech. Work to transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.
- Visualize yourself giving the speech:
- Imagine yourself speaking with a confident, clear, loud voice. Visualize the audience applauding as well; it’ll boost your confidence.
- Realize that people want you to succeed:
- Whether you think so or not, people are rooting for you – just keep that in mind.
- Don’t apologize:
- Don’t say you’re sorry for any nervousness or technical issue. If it’s not a glaring issue the audience probably didn’t even notice it.
- Concentrate on the message, not the medium:
- Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and audience.
The following will help you craft your award speech.
Describe the award and its history:
Introduce yourself and the award. Spend a few moments explaining the honor of the award, and its history. A few facts or a brief story about the award will suffice.
One of the most important aspects of award speeches is to build up suspense before the winner’s name is announced. Excitement is carefully crafted through organizational tactics in your speech and is crucial to the success of your speech. After an initial draft is written, step back and think, “How could I rearrange this material to make the audience yearn in anticipation”.
It’s vital, once the stage is set, that the speaker take time to make sure the recipient feels excited and honored to be graced with the award being presented. The impact of an award speech rests solely on suspense and recognition. Make sure the recipient feels commended and realizes that they have achieved something notable and significant.
End the segment:
Conclude the speech on an exciting or interesting note and leave everyone feeling motivated and energized. An anti-climactic closer leaves a bad taste and taints the overall quality of the speech.
More so with award ceremonies than most, make sure to memorize your speech. Award speeches are best delivered when they sound natural and regimented. If you feel that you may panic and forget everything, notecards with main talking points are a good middle-ground and can be a fallback if necessary.