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So you have to prepare and deliver a speech, expressing your appreciation to one or more parties, for something they have given to your cause or done. Perhaps you have received some kind of award, and you are like those people at the Academy Awards night, who have to thank all the little people that helped get you to where you are today.
Well you have come to the right place. I assume you have been scouring all over the Internet for some help, on what to say. Well let's get to it then.
In the excellent book, The One Minute Manager, the authors talk about one minute praisings. It is a good start. You have to let the person know what they did, and what kind of a difference it has made to you or the company, and then you let them know how it makes you feel. The whole thing is supposed to last about a minute or so of your time. Effective praisings should be specific, and should be as soon as possible after the event you are praising.
In your speech, you should work out how long you have to talk for. If you have a half
hour, or 10 minutes. You should try to fill the time you have, and not talk too long. If your speech becomes boring then you will lose your audience and you will not achieve your goals.
What are your goals? Well it will vary. Obviously you want to make someone or some organization feel appreciated for what they have done. The more they feel appreciated, then they will feel justified in their donation of time and money etc. They may even be motivated to repeat their donation in the future. The worst thing you can do is indifference. If what they do is not appreciated, you will be likely to never see them again. And when one person is treated that way, they can tell up to nine others.
You need to be specific in what it is they did for you or your organization. Make a point of showing how their contribution has made a difference. Perhaps their generosity has been like the spark that has started something even bigger than they thought it would be. And be sure to give the credit to them. Share some backstory on the history of how things have been before their contribution, and how it is now, and what it will be like in the future.
If you can include some personal story at this point, how it touched people's lives, do so.
When you are up in front of an audience, you also have an agenda to promote your cause, whatever that may be. So be sure to point out that although they made a huge difference, there is still so much more to be done. If you combine the appreciation speech with a call to action, you may end up with further contributions from people in the audience. Often there are people who hold back to see how appreciative you are, and if you take them for granted or not. When they see how much you appreciate the others, it will spur them on to making a contribution themselves.
So in summary, focus on
Who you are appreciating
What they did
How it made a huge difference,
including personal stories
Talk about your cause, and what is still to be done
End on a call to action
When you have a speech, you need to rehearse it several times and make adjustments. I have heard many speeches, and I can tell which have been rehearsed and which have not. If you want to be sincere, you need to rehearse your appreciation speech. It comes over so much better when you are not reading your notes, and you have the chance to look the people in the eye when you talk from your heart. If you can rehearse it in front of some friends to get feedback, I would do that.
Depending upon the situation, you may also want to present a gift to the person or organization you are appreciating. Something like a plaque which could have the logo of your organization on and the name of the person or organization who is being appreciated.
Extra credit if you can get out a press release on the event, and maybe get a press photographer to the event. You get to promote your cause as well as the person or organization who is being appreciated.
I hope this is helpful to you.
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