Expressing your appreciation through a speech can be an effective way to make your feelings known to everyone. Whether you’re addressing a large group or just a few people, your speech should have basic components to communicate your gratitude. As you write an appreciation speech, keep a few key points in mind to help you maintain your focus and get your point across. Your audience will thank you for a concise and well-planned speech.
Organize your thoughts to begin preparing the speech. Take brief notes about what actions or situation you are expressing gratitude for, whom you are thanking, the results of the actions or situation and how you feel as a result of the generosity.
Write an outline for the introduction to your speech, using keywords or short phrases to help guide you in what you want to say. For example, because your introduction should be a direct statement about whom you are thanking with your speech, you might write, “Lucinda Waters – donation — $15,000 — children’s library fund.”
Add details to your outline to flesh out the body of the speech. This is where you will tell your audience how important the gesture was and who it has helped. If you have stories and anecdotes, add a few keywords to help you remember to tell these stories. You might write, “Library purchases: two new computer learning systems, summer library program materials, new books, new DVDs and new furniture for children’s story room. Stories: Seven-year-old Joseph Miller’s reading achievements.”
Create a conclusion by talking about long-term plans thanks to the generosity or situation. You could mention the momentum that the generosity has started and how you plan to continue the progress to attain even loftier goals. Add a few phrases for your conclusion so you remember to make specific statements such as, “Thanks to Lucinda, we’re meeting goals — Plan to move forward — Continue making big progress — Sharing the love of reading.”
Practice your speech in front of the mirror, timing it so you know how long it takes to deliver it. Make adjustments if it’s too long or too short. Continue practicing it until you can deliver it comfortably, looking out into the audience (eyes not tied to your notes), with an easy and animated tone.
An appreciation speech need not be long and involved. Keep it short and sweet, according to Eric Markowitz of Inc.com.
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