November 22, 2017
Giving thanks to your audience: It’s a necessary—and appreciated—part of most speeches and presentations. It's considered good manners, common courtesy.
So is it rude for us to confess?
We’re not always grateful for the way speakers go about it.
Here are three ideas for making your words of appreciation reflect the gratitude you no doubt feel:
Many speakers open with thanking a list of parties who’ve made the occasion possible. We’re all in favor of speakers employing the niceties—including sincere thanks.
But, could those thanks come a few sentences into your talk? Somewhere in the middle, where it’s relevant. Or even at the end?
There are good reasons to give this some thought:
The open is a great chance to grab audience attention. The predictable round of thank yous squanders your chance to hook them with the topic and why they care.
Because so many speakers start with thank you, it sounds less genuine, more perfunctory. Adding those thanks at a time in your talk where they connect to the material—and the people being thanked—makes the expression of appreciation take on more significance and sometimes, even more sincerity.
That said, you have to honor conventions. If you believe your audience will be deeply offended by a thank you that comes three sentences into your presentation, stick with a thank you at the top.
Here’s our wish: That you’ll be deliberate. Instead of automatically rattling off the thanks to open your next talk, consider your options.
You’ve surely heard the speaker who says “I’d like to thank the hosts of this great event…..I’d like to thank you for your attention…..I want to thank the sponsors for making this possible.”
To which we say, "If you’d like to thank us so much, why don’t you?"
Go ahead. Say thank you. Instead of telling us how much you’d like to….some day:
Thank you to our hosts for this great event
Thank you for your attention
Thank you to our sponsors for making this possible
See? Easy--and fewer words!
In the spirit of the previous point, phrase your thanks so they they’re about your audience and not yourself.
For example: Instead of “thank you for inviting me to speak about _____,” which is clearly about you and not them, consider “thank you for your interest in ________.”
"Thank you who spilled the strong-willed wine for not being me so I’m not to blame"– -from the poem Spring Reign by Dean Young
And to show our appreciation to you for reading this entire post, here's a link to a poem that says thank you.
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