Have you won an Oscar? Are you being honored by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for your work? At the Oscars, you’re given 40 seconds to make a speech to soak up the limelight, boost your career, and thank as many people as you can thank. What you say during those 40 seconds could make or break the whole moment and perhaps have a lasting effect on your reputation.
Whether you’re accepting an Oscar from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences or any other award, preparing for your speech is a must. Accroding to Toastmasters’ International, “Every acceptance speech should demonstrate gratitude, recognition and sincerity — and good delivery.” Here’s ten tips for adding rhythm and pacing to your speech:
1. Write your speech as a script, and memorize it!
2. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. (“One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.)
3. Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Remember, the audience is rooting for you.
4. Practice, practice, practice! Rehearse with a timer and allow time for the unexpected.
5. Control filler words (ums and ahs; “you knows”). To do so, see above points: Practice, pause and breathe.
6. Keep names to a minimum and get them right!
7. Include a brief but touching anecdote or little-know fact regarding the role or job you are recognized for.
8. Mainly, your acceptance speech should represent you — as a professional and as a person.
9. Concentrate on your message. You have important thoughts to convey, so focus on your speech, not on the audience.
10. Make your last line expendable, in case you are cut off.
Toastmasters International has spent the last 83 years helping people all over the world become more confident in front of audiences large and small. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the non-profit educational association has 220,000 members in 90 countries. For more information and to find a meeting near you, visit www.toastmasters.org.