What Makes a Great Acceptance Speech?


The Golden Globes is a great reason to gather with family and friends.

It’s fun to celebrate favorite movies and TV shows, rooting for favorite performers.

And if you’re a communicator and marketer, like me, it’s entertaining to listen for the best speeches of the evening.

The winners in my book? Sylvester Stallone for Creed and Lady Gaga for American Horror Story: Hotel.

Show emotion. Sly looked stunned when his name was announced, sitting in his seat for a few moments before he stood up. (The standing ovation may have begun before he stood up himself.) And his first words were about his genuine surprise.

Lady Gaga pulled her hand to her mouth, stopping time for a moment as the win sunk in. And among her first words were, “This is the biggest moment of my life.”

Shine the light on others. Sly endeared himself to the whole world when he said, “I am the sum total of everyone I’ve ever met.”

Lady Gaga said, “Because of you I was able to shine.” And, “Thank you for sharing your talent with me.” And, “You guys pick me up every day.”

Be brief. The best speakers leave you wanting more. Not wondering if they’re going to say something memorable (eventually), or wrap it up and be gone. Not so with Sly and Lady Gaga. I would have been happy listening to them speak for hours.

And that’s the art of a great acceptance speech.

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Caroline Leach

Hi, I'm Caroline Leach. I help people and organizations tell their stories. I'm a Marketing VP at AT&T, a former Communications VP at DIRECTV and an alum of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. This blog, How to Build Your Career through Social Media, shows you how to build your personal brand, advance your career and embrace your future. It helps you promote your employer and your network too. Opinions expressed in this blog are my own. Your comments are welcomed and encouraged. I'd love to hear from you!

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