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How to Give a Great Recognition Speech

September 18, 2014 by  

Have you seen the 2010 film (and Best Picture winner at the 83rd Academy Awards) The King’s Speech? Here’s a quick rundown: Colin Firth plays King George VI who, to overcome his speech impediment, visits an Australian speech therapist played by Geoffrey Rush. With some assistance, King George was able to dramatically improve his speech techniques, and in return, brought together a country on the brink of war. The King’s Speech is a moving story about a man whose speech-giving abilities were, to put it lightly, less than stellar at first.

Many HR managers often find themselves in a position to give speeches to recognize their employees. These managers may not be the most gifted, or talented, public speakers. If you are one of these managers, do not despair. I’ve written this article for you and the rest of those HR managers need a little help when it comes to giving employee recognition speeches. Remember: a good speech can motivate, engage and inspire an employee even more than an engraved clock or expensive MP3 player.

Here’s the typical scenario: you’re invited to make a speech recognizing a great employee. You’d like to show that employee how much the organization appreciates his or her hard work and you want your other employees to recognize your appreciation. This means a lot to employees, so take some time to prepare a personalized speech.

First off, thank everyone involved with setting up the ceremony (if there is one) and making the event possible. Thank the employee, tell him or her how important they have been to the company and how much you appreciate them for their hard work. Explain to the rest of the staff how the employee achieved this award, whether it was performance-based or a more traditional years of service award.

Tell a specific story about the employee that highlights his or her performance, as an example. List the employee’s accomplishments and describe how each accomplishment affected the company. You want other employees to understand the depth of your appreciation and to also realize that they can achieve similar successes someday.

Make your employees laugh and feel relaxed while you explain the importance of good work. Use a tasteful joke in your speech, where appropriate. Employees will appreciate your light attitude and may view you as more relatable than they did before. People will do their best work for employers they like. End your speech by thanking the employee again for all the hard work done and reminding the rest of your employees of these accomplishments. Leave everyone feeling good at the end.

Some other tips include the need to practice saying your speech prior to giving it. Also, time the speech as you say it out loud so you know how much time you need.

So there you have it. Just like King George VI, you have a voice! Now use it to show your employees how much they mean to you and your organization. They will certainly appreciate it.


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