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Monday, April 23, 2012

O'Shea Meeting Tip: Business Awards Banquets


We have presented at many awards banquets through the years. We’ve seen it all. Typically, we present before or after the awards are given. Here are our insights on what we have seen work the best for our clients:

·         More is not better

Ever noticed how people tend to dread the awards banquet? Maybe it’s because they are often…eternal. When it comes to giving out awards, if everyone and their dog gets one, the awards often lose their specialness, and the banquet meanders into the wee hours of the night.

·         Give awards in groups

“But we want to recognize lots of people,” I hear you say. No problem. Give the more common awards in groups. For example, “Now we would like to recognize our sales reps who have exceeded their quota for the year. Please stand at your table when I say your name. Joe Schmoe, Jane Run, Jill Jack, Max Headrom and Jimmy Corn. Let’s give them a round of applause.” Then have runners bring them awards at their tables.

·         Have only the big award recipients come to the stage

A great way to keep the top awards special and keep your event moving along is to only have your big award winners actually come up to the stage. This highlights the bigger awards and keeps your event upbeat.

·         Speeches

The jury is out on letting award winners give speeches. As a rule of thumb, if award winners don’t know that they will be winning an award, it is best to skip the speeches since your recipients will be ill prepared to speak succinctly. If the award recipients know ahead of time about their award, tell them about their time limits (generally no more than 3 minutes) and give them an opportunity to rehearse along with other recipients. Nothing can kill a program more than a monotone (or drunk!) award recipient droning on and on and on and on and…

·         Do photos at the end

Another major drag on award banquets is the photo op. In the interest of expediting your program, have the award recipients meet at the stage after the event to get their photos taken. This will have a major impact on the pacing of your award banquet.

·         Professional corporate entertainment

If you opt to have an entertainer at your function, make sure that they are clean and appropriate for your group. Watch the presenter’s demo, read testimonials and have a conference call with your presenter to explain your company culture and the purpose of the awards. Make sure that your presenter is able to start their program by 8:30pm. That means your presenter should go on either before the awards or, if they go on after the awards, your awards should be paced well and completed by 8:30pm. Additionally, an after dinner presenter should present for no more than 45 minutes. If you follow this pacing, your audience will be attentive and engaged.

So there you have it. By following these tips, you can have an awards program that is special without being drawn-out. If you want to the next award banquet you have to sit through to be more engaging and fun, forward this article to your boss.


Humorous change speakers Tim and Kris O'Shea help organizations deal with change through relevant business humor. To learn more about these funny motivational speakers visit http://www.theosheareport.com/. To learn how to bring The O'Shea Report into your meeting or convention, please visit http://theosheareport.com/ or call 303-371-2849. Copyright 2012 Tim and Kris O'Shea.