Acceptance Speech Thanks Those Who Made Excellence Possible

Anne Hathaway Oscar Acceptance Speech for Les Miserables

When achievements are acknowledged with an award or accolade, the recipients should respond with a gracious acceptance speech. A well-delivered acceptance speech conveys thanks, identifies people instrumental in the speaker’s success, and inspires others to strive toward their goals. 

Whether it’s Meryl Streep and one of her many Academy Awards or John F. Kennedy and his nomination for president, knowing how to deliver the right acceptance speech is an essential skill.

What Is An Acceptance Speech

An acceptance speech is an address given by an individual recognized for their achievements or contributions in a particular field. It serves as a way for the recipient to express gratitude and appreciation for their recognition.

Examples of these speeches can be seen at Hollywood awards shows, such as the Academy Awards (otherwise known as the Oscars) or Golden Globes. In these ceremonies, achievements like Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, or Motion Picture of the Year are examples of awards given.

But acceptance speeches are given in many fields for many types of achievements. Academic achievements, sports, career advancements, and even political events like the Republican or Democratic conventions, when presidential nominees are named, require people to give acceptance speeches.

Anytime a formal recognition of success is announced, an acceptance speech should be given. The purpose of an acceptance speech is to acknowledge those who have helped you achieve your success, whether it be family members, colleagues, mentors, or fans. It also allows you to share any insights or advice you gleaned with others.

An effective acceptance speech should be concise and heartfelt, conveying humility, confidence, and gratitude. The speaker should avoid being overly boastful or self-centered and instead focus on expressing gratitude and acknowledging the contributions of others.

Nominees at these events come prepared with an award acceptance speech that allows them to thank those involved with their success and the organization honoring them.

Awards are given as early as kindergarten, though responding with acceptance speeches might not start till high school.

Teen giving acceptance speech after award

How Do You Write A Speech About Accepting An Award?

When it comes to writing a speech about accepting an award, there are a few key elements that you should keep in mind. You will have limited time, so being prepared and precise is essential.

  • Create an outline. A well-organized speech will have an introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • Introduction. The introduction should express your gratitude for the honor you’ve received. You do so by thanking the organization or individual presenting the award and any colleagues or supporters who have helped you along the way.
  • Body. In the body, you’ll want to reflect on what the award means to you personally and professionally. Consider how it aligns with your values and goals and how it will impact your future endeavors.
  •  Conclusion. During the conclusion, you’ll share some words of inspiration with your audience. Whether encouraging others to pursue their passions or reminding them of the importance of hard work and dedication, your speech should leave a lasting impression on those who hear it.

What Is The First Step In An Acceptance Speech?

The first step in an acceptance speech is to express gratitude. Whether it is an award, a promotion, or any other form of recognition, expressing gratitude is essential.

It’s crucial to thank the organization or individual who bestowed the honor on you and acknowledge the efforts of those who helped you achieve it.

Thanking family, friends, and colleagues for the support and encouragement they provided is also crucial. No one achieves success alone, and recognizing everyone (or as many as possible in the given time) who has played a role in your achievement demonstrates your understanding.

Additionally, if time permits, this is an excellent time to share your perseverance and hard work story. Your circumstances can inspire and encourage others to pursue their dreams and never give up on themselves.

Business award recipient ready to give acceptance speech

What Should An Acceptance Speech Include?

A well-written acceptance speech should have a clear introduction that captures the audience’s attention, a body that conveys the message effectively, and a conclusion that leaves a lasting impression.

An acceptance speech can be tricky, so preparing ahead of the event ensures you can deliver the right message quickly, even if you don’t expect an award. For someone feeling humbled and brimming with emotion, the inclination can be to talk extensively about the journey and stumble over the right people to thank.

A good acceptance speech must be both thorough and concise. This can be a tricky balance to strike.

When preparing your acceptance speech, be sure to include the following:

  • A sincere expression of gratitude towards the organization or individuals who have bestowed the award.
  • Recognition of family, friends, colleagues, mentors, and anyone else who has played a significant role in their success.
  • An inspiring message that motivates others to pursue their dreams and work hard to make them a reality.
  • Personal experiences highlight the importance of perseverance, dedication, and never giving up.

It’s also vital to end positively by expressing hope for the future and thanking everyone again for this recognition. A well-crafted acceptance speech can leave a lasting impression on its audience and inspire others to strive towards excellence.

What Is The Most Important Part Of An Acceptance Speech?

The most important part of an acceptance speech is undoubtedly its message of gratitude.

The proper expression of appreciation and thanks to those who supported and participated in your success creates a personal connection with the audience. Appearing entitled or ignoring the contributions of others will be off-putting to the audience and those who are bestowing the award.

Family, friends, and colleagues involved in another’s success may feel slighted if they are not mentioned in an acceptance speech. Nominees should come with cue cards to refer to if they win and need to give the speech!

How Do You Write A 5-Minute Acceptance Speech?

Writing a 5-minute acceptance speech can be daunting, especially if you are not used to public speaking or if it’s your first time.

Five minutes is incredibly long, yet not nearly enough time when you find yourself needing to prepare an acceptance speech.

However, with careful planning and preparation, you can create an impactful speech that will leave a lasting impression and be appreciated by your audience.

The steps below can be used as a guide when crafting your acceptance speech:

  • Brainstorm. Write down everyone you think you need to thank. This may be a long list, including family members, friends, colleagues, or mentors. Acknowledging the organization or institution giving you the award is also important.
  • Create a priority order of thanks. You have limited time, so arrange your list in priority order with those essential to thank those that you can thank personally later if time doesn’t permit.
  • Determine the key message that you want to convey in your speech. You might include an inspiring story about overcoming challenges or achieving success in your field. Alternatively, it could be a call to action for others to follow in your footsteps and positively impact their own lives.
  • Create a strong closing statement. The best closing statement leaves a lasting impression on your audience. You could use a quote or personal anecdote that summarizes your message and inspires others to take action.
  • Edit. With all of these elements created, put them together and edit.
  • Practice. You have 5 minutes, so you’ll need to practice. Knowing what you’d like to say and speaking eloquently will give you the most opportunity to include all the elements you’d like to in your speech.

Writing a 5-minute acceptance speech requires careful planning and preparation. By thanking those who have helped you along the way, conveying an inspiring message, and ending with a strong closing statement, you can create an impactful speech that will leave a lasting impression on your audience.

Kailash Satyarthi (R) and Malala Yousafzai  accept Noble laureate awards
Watch Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech

What Is An Example Of A Short Speech About Accepting An Award?

Accepting an award is a moment of great pride and honor for any individual. It is an opportunity to express gratitude and appreciation toward those who have supported and encouraged us throughout our journey. A short speech about accepting an award should be concise, heartfelt, and gracious.

An excellent example of a short acceptance speech is the one given by Denzel Washington in 1990 when he won the first Oscar of his career for best male actor in a supporting role. His Oscar speech went as follows:

I want to thank the Academy. I’m gonna thank Ed Zwick, and Freddie Fields, who did a fantastic job, who made what I consider to be at least one of the best five films of the Year. I’d like to thank my friend and manager, Flo Allen. Fabulous Ed Limato. And Todd Smith and George Freeman. And God bless you, my mother. I love you. My beautiful wife Pauletta, the kids. My son said he was gonna make one of these out of clay for me; now I got the model for him. I want to thank my first agent, the late Ruth Aronson, who believed in me. I’d also like to pay homage to the 54th, the black soldiers who helped to make this country free. I thank God. I thank you.

Lorin Harrott

After years as a professional speaker and corporate trainer,Lorin Harrott has turned her attention to sharing her knowledge through writing. She's currently a writer, photographer, and mom in Sacramento, CA, with occasional speaking engagements related to education and STEM topics in the public school system.

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