Last night I watched the Tony awards. Whether it's the Tonys, Emmys or Oscars it's the same experience. People give boring speeches thanking a long list of people. Enter the internet.The Webby Awards is the internet equivalent of the other awards shows. The Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences honors excellence on the internet.
This year recipients had to give an acceptance speech no longer than five words. Even Twitter allows 140 characters. Talk about a challenge! It takes great clarity of thought to get a meaningful message across in five words. My clients discover how much more powerful they sound when they speak in soundbites and not in long, drawn out sentences. But can it be done effectively in an acceptance speech?
Here are a few from prior Webby awards:
"Please don't recount this vote. "-Al Gore. "Thank God Conan got promoted."-Jimmy Fallon
The shortest Presidential inaugural speech was given by George Washington in 1789. It was 135 words long. (Was this the precursor to social media?)
What if Winston Churchill gave his inspirational World War II speech in five words or less? "Never give in. Never. Never."
Does it get the message across? How about applying this to an elevator speech? One of my favorites is by Ron Karr, of Ron Karr Associates in New Jersey- Sell more in less time.
When Paul McCartney received a grammy for his music in Wings, his acceptance speech was two words-"Thank you!"
So what do you think? Should the Oscar speeches be limited to five words? Maybe then we could get to bed early. You decide.
When you're an award winner or an honoree you might be expected to give an acceptance speech. Most speakers ramble or speak too long. Take a lesson from Sandra Bullock's Academy award acceptance speech for The Blind Side and notice the elements that make it effective. Start with a humorous opening line. "Did I really earn this or did I wear you out?"
Acknowledge the competition. Sandra spoke to each of the nominees by name and said what she appreciated about them.
Thank the people who gave you the award and helped you to achieve your goals. Sandra thanked the family who provided the story, the people who made the film, and people who showed her support.
Make it personal. She talked about what the film was about for her and thanked all the mothers who take care of children. She skillfully transitioned into thanking her mother and her husband.
End with a thank you and exit the platform. Commit to ending on time.