If you like movies, music and seeing people walk the red carpet in their designer labels, then you probably love awards season. Celebrities often use their time on stage to “thank the Academy”, talk about their passions or say “goodnight” to their kids. Savvy celebrities do or say something that pushes their personal brand forward. Other times, it goes very wrong. While we won’t have as many eyeballs as these celebs, we can still learn something from their acceptance speeches for use in our own lives.
How to do it wrong
Actor Tom Hiddleston came under fire for his acceptance speech at the 2017 Golden Globes. He told a story about his charitable work in South Sudan (great start, Tom!), but injected how the locals were binging his series, The Night Manager. It was pretty awkward and Hiddleston came off as self-congratulatory and not graceful. He apologized afterwards, but the damage was done.
How to do it right
What do the performers who come off well do differently? There are a few key components that go into any successful speech, televised or otherwise.
Set the tone – What do you want to leave them with… an idea, a call-to-action, a feeling? Don’t make it overly complex, especially if you’re not the only speaker that night. Come up with a straightforward message or idea and pick a story that illustrates it.
Make it relevant – Consider the demographics of your audience and make sure your story will connect to them. Will they get it or will it confuse them? Make it easy to follow along, but interesting and emotive.
Ask around – Share the story you want to tell with a colleague, spouse or mentor. Ask them to be honest with you. Does it communicate the message you want it to? If not, tweak your delivery by looking at it from another angle or go back to square one.
Practice – Once you’ve settled on the story, practice, practice, practice. It’s a cliché, but it’s true: don’t just do it until you get it right, do it until you don’t get it wrong. This also helps you hone in on the flow and identify the right points of emphasis. Keep in mind your emotions could be everywhere. The more practice the more you will nail it under pressure.
To wrap it up, consider the audience, decide what idea or feeling you want to communicate, find a story that they can relate to that evokes that message, bounce it off someone you trust and practice! During a speech, people are paying attention to you, make it a valuable opportunity to grow your brand. And remember to keep it S.I.M.P.L.E.