When employee recognition presentation anxiety strikes

Recognition presentation anxietyHow do you feel about public speaking? Personally, I don’t always relish the thought of it but thankfully I rarely get sleepless nights or a queasy stomach before a presentation. I remember a quote by Mark Twain, he once said,

“There are two kinds of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.”

In other words we are all likely to get a little nervous when we have to give a presentation, no matter what the subject or size of the audience.

I’ve been thinking about this as last week I attended a recognition presentation (I’ve attended quite a few). Now one of the jobs of a manager to is to thank employees for their efforts and contribution over the last week, month or year. However, on this occasion this manager, despite being very proud of his employees, was clearly nervous about the short speech he was about to give. So I started to ponder how we could make things easier on managers who might be great at their job but the thought of public speaking terrifies them…


How could I help them deliver the right message with polish and professionalism?

Employee recognition presentation checklist

So I’ve come up with a checklist you can use to help you prepare your speech for an employee recognition presentation. You may not need or want to use everything in the list but it will give you a good basis to start your presentation…


The Basics

  • Recipients Name
  • How long they’ve worked for you
  • Their current job title and responsibilities


About the recipient

  • Original job title upon joining the organisation
  • Any other roles they’ve had
  • Spouses name
  • Number of children
  • Any humorous stories (if appropriate)


About the award

  • What award are they receiving (i.e. Outstanding Customer Service Award)?
  • Under what circumstances is it normally awarded?
  • What is the organisation’s vision, mission and values


Why the award is being given

  • Why are they receiving the award (overview)?
  • What specifically did they do/contribute?
  • Who did it impact on?
  • How did it improve things?
  • How did it support the organisation’s vision, mission and values?
  • When did this happen?


The reward

  • What reward will the recipient receive?
  • What could you do to receive similar praise?


Once you’ve got all the information you need, you can then go ahead and write your presentation. It may look something like this:


“I’d like to thank you all for coming along today to recognise Jennifer’s actions over the past few months. Jennifer joined our company as a Finance Executive in April 2012 and since then has worked her way up the organisation to her current role of Operations Finance Manager.

Today Jennifer is receiving our ‘Quarterly Recognition Award’ and I’d like to share with the reasons why Jennifer was nominated for the award.

Jennifer has updated the operations finance manual. However she didn’t just add in some new procedures as she was asked to do, she studied how people actually worked and how the procedures could be improved. She also added in screenshots and created a number of training videos using screen capture to demonstrate how to correctly enter data onto our systems.

As a result of Jennifer’s work our new employees in the Finance department have commented how easy it is to learn our systems and procedures in a short space of time. Additionally, because our new employees are now making fewer errors our more experienced staff are spending less time correcting those errors. All as a result of Jennifer’s operations finance manual.

As Jennifer’s manager I’ve been really impressed with her diligence and how she proactively managed the project.

So please join me in a round of applause for Jennifer as I present her with her certificate of achievement and a voucher for a spa day, which I know she is going to love as she’s often mentioned she would like a day to relax away from her husband and 3 kids (and perhaps us).

Thank you and congratulations Jennifer. Don’t forget to nominate your colleagues for work that you feel has helped your team by visiting…”


As for the presentation I mentioned earlier, well the presenter eventually overcame his nerves and the employee certainly seemed to appreciate the effort taken to acknowledge their achievement. But perhaps in future he can reduce some of the stress caused by spending a few minutes preparing a speech beforehand.


John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd and a Director on the board of the IPM. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.

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