How to Write an Acceptance Speech for Any Occasion

An acceptance speech is commonly given at a ceremony or special occasion dedicated to receiving an award, nomination, honor, gift, title, promotion, etc. The speech may be delivered by the person accepting the award or a person speaking on behalf of someone who is absent. Typically, acceptance speeches are short (a few minutes) and have an inspirational nature. However, if you are accepting a prestigious award or presidency, the public may expect a bit longer speech.

how to write an acceptance speech

What are acceptance speeches like? Unlike the speeches you may have seen in movies, a good acceptance speech cannot fall to an endless list of thank yous interrupted by blowing your nose in a napkin. A gracious acceptance speech is a mix of sincere gratitude, modesty, and acknowledgment.

In the following guide, we want to share with you a step-by-step guide, tips, useful phrases, and sample to prepare a great acceptance speech and save face. You need to reach the following goals in your speech:

  • Effectively recognize the organization giving the award.
  • Sincerely express gratitude to people who played a major role in your achievement.
  • Share the genuine pleasure to accept the award.
  • Leave no doubt that you have deserved this award.

Steps on How to Write an Award Acceptance Speech

Thinking that guides work only for essays and other written works is a common misconception. An adequately prepared speech will help you not to stray from the correct path and save you if you suddenly forget the words. Also, a carefully crafted and well-rehearsed speech reduces stress related to its delivery.

1. Start preparing for the speech as soon as you get informed about the nomination. If you are chosen for the award, you will already have some words to say. No matter how you estimate your chances, get prepared in any case.

2. Gather the information about the occasion. Find out the following information from organizers:

• The timing of your speech.
• The time and place where the ceremony/event will be held.
• How many people will be present at the event.
• Who will introduce you to the public.
• Whether you are expected to mention something special in your speech.

This information will help you choose the right content and ideas for your speech. Choose the mood and tone more acceptable for the presentation.

3. Decide who you want to thank. Who has helped you the most to achieve it? Make a list of people and reasons to be thankful. Don’t forget to mention the organization giving you the award. But don’t fall into the mistake of listing the names of all people involved in your success. Usually, it’s enough to mention one or two names. If you want to thank more, use more general phrases (family, co-workers, managers, etc.).

4. Examine the best acceptance speeches. Have you ever watched the MTV or Oscar awards? It may give you a general image of acceptance speeches, both good and bad. Use the internet to find the texts of acceptance speeches and try to evaluate them. Which one seems to be good? What are the signs of a successful acceptance speech? Which words seem awkward and unpleasant? Which phrases make you feel that the honoree deserves the award? Note your considerations.

5. Write a speech. Your acceptance speech will consist of three typical parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. Let’s see how to write an acceptance speech outline:

– Greeting. It’s highly important to say hello to the audience, even if you were introduced by the speaker.
– Recognize the organization/ person/ group giving the award. You can mention the importance of the organization and how it inspires people to do well.
– Stress the importance and value of the award. Do you share the values represented by the award?
– Explain what the award means to you. What emotions do you experience? How will the award change you? How will the award influence your plans?
– Thank people who have helped you receive the award. It may be a family member who patiently supported the award winner to work on the project or a co-worker who inspired a specific action. Don’t mention only the list of names; state the reason why you are thankful.
– End the speech with a remembering statement. You can end with a call to action or just say the final thanks.

6. Practice your speech. It’s highly undesirable to read your acceptance speech, so make sure you learn it by heart. Practice the speech before the mirror or ask your friend to listen. Take a timer to limit the speaking time. It may occur that you will need to talk quicker or cut the text of your speech to meet the required time frame.
Also, we recommend you to look through the video records of acceptance speeches and learn how to stand, move, and behave during the ceremony.

How to Write an Acceptance Speech: Example With Comments

To make our guide more understandable, read the acceptance speech below. We have mentioned the most critical points in the comments. Note how the honoree shows gratitude and sincerely appreciate the honor. Hopefully, this sample will give you inspiration and complete understanding of how to write an acceptance speech.

Click on images to view them in full size.

how to write an award acceptance speechhow to write an acceptance speech for an award

 

Tips on How to Write an Acceptance Speech for an Award

Consider the following advice to avoid common mistakes and make your speech more effective.

  • Keep it short and sweet. If you don’t know the timing for the speech, use the standard time limit between two and five minutes.
  • Always get prepared. Even if you are a guru of giving a speech.
  • Watch award shows on TV or YouTube to learn more about acceptance speeches.
  • Add a little humor if acceptable. It should correspond to the event and place.
  • Be honest. You may be tempted to say that it’s the best day in your life, but be sure that it’s really so.
  • Use quotes if acceptable. Incorporate it in your speech to reinforce the meaning you want to convey to the audience.
  • Avoid mawkish gestures and phrases if you don’t want to sound insincere and over-rehearsed.
  • Tell a story about how it became possible to receive the award. People like stories.
  • Use cue cards to feel more confident during the speech.
  • Mention the people who have already receive the same honor and served as a role model to you.

Avoid These Mistakes in Your Acceptance Speech

  • It’s inappropriate to incorporate unrelated topics to the award. Don’t confuse the audience.
  • Don’t be too demonstrative. Be more modest in your expressions.
  • Avoid focusing on negative aspects, memories, or criticism. The speech should keep a positive and inspirational tone.
  • Don’t speak only about yourself. Always thank the audience, organizers, and people who have directly or indirectly helped you.
  • Don’t thank a great list of people by name, as it may be too boring for your audience. It’s better to do it in person.
  • Avoid saying “I don’t deserve the award” or “At last, I’ve got it.” Accept the decision of the organization with good manners.
  • Don’t copy someone else’s speech, even if it matches your goals. Always add a personal touch to sound sincere.

Phrases to Use in Your Acceptance Speech

Here is a list of phrases you can use as a basis for your acceptance speech. It’s not required to use them all, as you may go over the time limit. This list may be especially useful if you experience writer’s block and need to kick-start the writing process.

– I accept this nomination with a deep sense…
– I am honored to receive…
– I accept this award with a genuine sense of honor…
– I appreciate this honor very much…
– I would ask to acknowledge the wonderful…
– I would like to take this opportunity to accept…
– My heart is filled with pride…
– I need to tell you that I never expected…
– It pleases me because…
– It’s indeed an honor to have this opportunity to…
– This organization is a part of…
– Thank you so much for…
– I want to thank…
– I would also like to thank…
– In particular, I want to recognize…
– From this moment…
– I am quite touched by this honor…
– It has always been my joy to…
– I would like to thank my friends/ family/ coworkers/ etc.…
– I’ve just been doing what I love…
– I want you to feel that your trust is…
– One person is responsible for my efforts…
– Finally, my appreciation goes to…
– Thank you all…

Life is an award itself. When giving an acceptance speech, be sure to affirm that. Find the right words, express your thoughts with care, and you will make the audience listen. We sincerely hope that this guide will help you create and deliver a powerful acceptance speech.

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