Tips for Public Speaking


Dear Annette,

As my career progresses, I'm frequently honored with awards and accolades. But whenever it's my turn to step up to the podium, I'm at a loss for what to say. Can you help?

The Winner


Dear Winner,

Although the entertainment industry invented the awards ceremony, there are plenty of accolades to go around no matter what you do for a living. As a matter of fact, I sponsor my own awards ceremony, The Dickies, in recognition of celebrity pets and personal attendants. By honoring distinction in innumerable finely grained categories, I'm able to send each of my elegantly clad People home clutching a golden statuette of Dickie to put on a mantel or next to a little shrub in the yard.

Awards ceremonies are of course the apex of Western civilization. After all, we spend most of our time trying to get attention for who we are or what we do.

So when you finally get the credit you deserve for your fabulous accomplishments, give your audience what it wants in return: a good long look at your physical form, and a brief, humble, elegantly worded acceptance speech.

Standard American awards formulaic is as follows.

  • When your name is called, clutch your breast and look bewildered.
  • Kiss the person sitting next to you, even if it's a professional seat warmer.
  • Emerge from your seat fully clothed (optional).
  • At the podium, address the presenter by first name, to preserve the illusion that all celebrities and industry bigwigs are friends with one another.
  • Thank the deity of your choice (optional).
  • Issue a noncontroversial statement about the controversy surrounding your work. Wait for applause.
  • Pull a folded piece of paper out of your pocket. Put on reading glasses (optional).
  • Name the person or entity whose money enabled the work to proceed (required).
  • Gush with gratitude about each of your teammates. Say, "This is for all of you."
  • Bashfully acknowledge loved ones. Pause at the word "partner" as appropriate.
  • Speak more quickly when music begins to play.
  • Allow a well dressed yet inconspicuous looking attendant to escort you off the stage.

The real superstars add - or subtract - a few touches of their own.

  • Have someone attend the ceremony on your behalf due to other commitments somehow even more fabulous than receiving an award.
  • Prove through your gravity-defying illusions of personal appearance that art is indeed superior to science.
  • Rehearse, time, and memorize an acceptance speech - making it look somehow spontaneous yet appropriate, as if you were a genuine entertainer.

As you prepare for the big night, follow this advice from a friend of mine who's a veteran of the jewelry industry: "No neckline too low. No stone too large."

Stay fabulous,
Annette