How to Write an Appreciation Speech

by Nicole LaMarco - Updated November 08, 2018
Podium with microphones

No man is an island, and when we're successful, it's usually because others have helped us. An appreciation speech is given to express gratitude to those people. Also known as a"words of gratitude" speech, it's usually not impromptu, and you'll have time to prepare in advance. Writing your appreciation speech begins with an outline listing the key points you'd like to make, then fleshing out the body of the speech. Keep it light and lively, and sprinkle in a touch of humor and a few anecdotes or quotes. A well-prepared thank you speech for a personal or professional event is a memorable one.

Who's Your Audience?

Consider your audience when writing your appreciation speech. Is this a business launch, a retirement celebration, an awards ceremony or a professional networking event? Keep the tone of the event in mind as you plan your speech. Some questions to help you write your thank you speech for either a personal or professional event are:

  • How long have you known the person or persons you're thanking?
  • Why are they worthy of gratitude?
  • What story can you tell to describe your interactions with them?
  • What song lyric or quote reminds you of them?
  • How long have they worked for the company?
  • What did she do at the company?
  • What examples of his impact do you have?
  • What lasting impact will she have once they no longer work there?
  • What did he teach by example?

Write an Outline

The best way to begin to write any type of speech is to start with an outline. An outline provides a mental roadmap and serves to keep you on track as you write the speech, and later as you deliver it. A good rule of thumb to help prepare the outline of your speech is to break it into parts as follows:

  • Introduction: Tell the audience what you are going to say. Give an overview of the key points in the speech. Tell them why the person is being recognized in an appreciation speech.
  • Body: Tell the audience why they should appreciate or recognize the topic or person.
  • Conclusion: Reiterate the main points in your speech.

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Craft a Compelling Introduction

Begin your introduction with an explanation of how valuable this person is to your business. Gloss over the high points of the past year or of his career, leaving the audience with the knowledge that he's truly someone deserving of your appreciation.

Example:

I'm proud today to introduce Jayne Cobb, the recipient of this year's Shiny Award. Jayne has led our training department for the last 18 months, creating a record number of new management trainees. This has allowed us to create a record amount of expansion into three new regions.

Get Into the Detail

Continue on with the details of why the recipient is being honored today. Go into the details of the work he's done. Add some human interest details to make him more accessible, either stories of his interactions with employees or ways he's gone above and beyond for customers or clients.

Example:

Jayne set out to break records from day one, it seems. When the old training materials didn't cover situations in the changing face of the business today, she created her own training manuals to do the job better and with a much friendlier result. Her new management team is winning local awards at an amazing pace! No one's got a better attitude in this company. Jayne's tireless work toward creating a new management force is unprecedented.

Finish Strong

Finish any appreciation speech with a conclusion that repeats the main points you just made. Cover them in broad strokes instead of in fine detail, and finish by inviting the audience to thank the recipient along with you.

When it comes to innovation and dedication, no one comes close to Jayne Cobb, this year's Shiny Award recipient. Everyone, please join me in thanking Jayne for all the hard work she's done this past year.

About the Author

Nicole is a business writer with nearly two decades of hands-on and publishing experience. She's been published in several business publications, including The Employment Times, Web Hosting Sun and WOW! Women on Writing. She also studied business in college.

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