Actors vs. Motivational Speakers: Learn how to accept an award!

Actors could learn from motivational speaker on how to accept an award

Actors could learn from motivational speaker on how to accept an award

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


Marilyn Sherman, CSP is a Front-Row Leadership Expert helping people get out of the balcony and get a front-row seat in life. For over 20 years she has inspired audiences with topics on Visioning, Goal Achievement and having a No More Excuses attitude! Check out her fun, dynamic style at

Marilyn Sherman, Owner UpFront Presentations - Helping people get a Front-Row seat in their life!
9030 W. Sahara Ave #444
Las Vegas, NV 89117

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  1. Amen sister! Great advice!!!!! As motivational speakers, our business is to prepare. As actors, their business is to be handed a script. Maybe we should hand them an acceptance script and tell them what their role is.  😉

  2. Seems pretty obvious, right? And what was with Jacquline Bissett just standing there staring. I felt embarrassed for her. Weird.

  3. I watched Bissett and really studied it. Seems like, at first, people thought she was being very wise, until they realized that she was crocked. She was like the Peter Sellers character Chauncey Gardener. She had a big finish, with a great ending, loud music and the audience cheering (to get her off the stage) and SHE KEPT ON GOING. You don't see that very often. These people usually know when to get off the stage.

  4. Share your enthusiasm both to watch the award shows and to be prepared!

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