I love award shows. I love movies, so seeing movies, actors, writers being honored is always fun. But, as a motivational speaker watching from the comfortable place on my couch, I rolled my eyes more than once listening to the acceptance speeches at the Golden Globe awards.
1. Are you REALLY surprised?
You have a one in 5 chance in winning. Yes, you could be sincerely humble and not really expecting to win, but what if you did win? Prepare something! Good motivational speakers are prepared for what to say, even if they leave room in their presentations to be spontaneous, they know what they are going to say. Even if they are not scheduled to speak, I know speakers have SOMETHING to say in the event they are asked last minute to get up and say something. Bonus: Always have a story, anecdote, memory in your back pocket that would make sense if suddenly are put on the spot. But, if you are nominated for an award, you show up to the event, you should have SOMETHING prepared in the event you won. Like my friend and fellow motivational speaker Mike Rayburn says; "I know it's not going to happen. But, what IF it did?"
2. Did you not hear the five other people before you say “I didn’t prepare anything?”
Even if it’s true that you really didn’t expect to win, (so you didn’t want to jinx it with prepared remarks), don’t announce it to the crowd that you didn’t prepare anything. Especially if several other people said the same thing earlier in the evening! This would be like an audience hearing several speakers in one day and they all open with the same ‘Good evening! How are you? It’s great to be here!’. Even if the speaker was planning on saying it, after hearing speakers say it before – they would change up their opening. A good motivational speaker pays attention to what the audience is hearing and adjusts necessarily so they don’t repeat openings, common sayings, or (insert gasp here) a joke. Can you imagine telling a joke or story someone has already told? Bonus: Show how connected you are to the event by adding something funny to something that was already said. Risky, because it's obviously new material, but it shows you are in touch with the event, paying attention, and comfortable enough to be spontaneous.
3. Ask ‘What’s the point?’.
I’ve already mentioned how eye-rolling worthy many of the acceptance speeches were at the Golden Globes with people over and over saying they were surprised to win and they didn’t prepare anything. But, one winner took it even further. He ADMITTED he prepared his remarks in the event he won, he then said; “But, I’m not going to read them!” What? What was the point of that? It made no sense. Bonus: Practice, practice, practice. That way, you could have notes with you IF you needed them. But, the more prepared for what you want to say, the easier it is to speak from the heart.
I know actors are not paid professional speakers, but they are professionals and in my humble opinion, they should put a little more effort into their acceptance speeches. You can accept an award and be humble about it at the same time. If anyone has his or her favorite example – please feel free to share!
From your addicted to award shows motivational speaker, Marilyn Sherman