Preparing for a Presentation

Award presentations can be an awkward experience, not only for the presenter but also for the award recipient. Whether giving an award to an employee for years of service or an outstanding contribution to the company, be prepared:

A great recognition event can generate pride, increase employee satisfaction, and establish trust between employees and managers. However, a poorly prepared and presented recognition event can reduce retention, create disengaged employees, and hurt the bottom line.

According to Chester Elton and Adrian Gostick, authors of Managing with Carrots, The 24 Carrot Manager and A Carrot A Day, "The world’s most successful organizations have learned that they must make a recognition event something memorable - with almost as much ceremony and emotion as an Olympic-medal event." Each organization can accomplish this if they remember the following six tips for an effective award presentation:

First, the right person needs to make the presentation. The highest-level executive does not need to acknowledge the recipient. The presenter should be the highest-ranking manager who personally knows the employee and his or her accomplishments. The presenter also needs to be able to use anecdotal examples to evoke an emotion in the recipient as well as all employees in the organization.

Choose presenters who are:

  • Highest-ranking managers that work directly with the recipient
  • Comfortable speaking to an audience
  • Able to connect the recognition with the employee behavior
  • Enthusiastic, excited, and energized

Second, managers must be trained to make great presentations. They need to know who is being recognized and be able to talk about the specific contributions the employee made to the organization. They should focus only on the positive things that happen within the organization. Also, they should not tell "off-color" jokes or make discriminatory remarks.

Third, if an award contains corporate symbolism, managers must be able to explain the symbolism and how it ties into the values and goals of the organization.

Fourth, invite colleagues to attend and ask two or three coworkers to comment on the recipient. Inviting other colleagues to participate provides them with an example of successful behavior they can emulate.

Fifth, if the recipient is willing, allow them to make a few comments. This allows them to thank the people who helped them, as well as, those who participated in the recognition event.

Sixth, the presenter must close with a sincere thank you to the recipient as well as to all who attended.