Lifetime achievement award acceptance speech: How to easily write a memorable and inspiring award acceptance speech that will endear you to your audience like never before
If you are looking for tips and ideas to help you write a very inspiring lifetime award acceptance speech, then you are at the right place at the right time.
Just give me a few minutes of your time and I will share with you everything you should know about sharing your wisdom through your lifetime award achievement award speech.
Now, let’s start with this. Nothing compares to the pride and joy of working so hard for many years and being presented with a lifetime achievement award. A distinctive honor and privilege, right? Of course! But such an award doesn’t come on a silver platter.
Sidney never thought someday he too would honored by his country and even be presented with one. Life was quite hard for him and his family back in the 1940’s.
His parents moved to the USA before he was born in 1927. He was the youngest son of seven children. He was a premature baby and was not expected to survive but his parents nursed him to health.
When his parents arrived in Miami, they were farm hands and worked to sell tomatoes and other farm produce to wholesalers in Miami and beyond. Growing up, Sidney lived with his brother’s large family but found it impossible to adjust to the racism in the Jim Crow era.
When he was 16 years old, he moved to New York City where he held a string of jobs as a dishwasher even as he honed his acting skills on the side. His first attempt at acting failed due to his inability to fluently read his script.
After a series of failures and rejections, he retreated to perfect his acting talents further and ended up playing leading roles in a 1949 movie ‘’ Edge of The City’’ that the industry couldn’t ignore.
Sidney Poitier eventually won so many awards and recognitions (including a presidential medal of freedom given by President Obama) that in 1999, the Screen Actors Guild Awards honored him with a lifetime achievement award.
At that event, he delivered a very thoughtful and emotional lifetime achievement award acceptance speech I would like to share with you. I hope it inspires you to come up with your own script.
Here you go:
Lifetime Achievement Award Speech Example/Sample by Sidney Poitier
I came from a faraway place, across 73 years to stand here tonight. And here, at the outset, I wish to state clearly that mine was not a solo flight. I’ve had company all the way here, because the hands of many people go into the making of a life.
First among all my traveling companions across the years was a mother and a father who brought me as far as they could over the rockiest of roads – when they had to stop to take their rest - they sent me on with the hope that Guardian Angels along the way would keep an eye on me.
Though I never saw even one of them, I knew they were there doing exactly that. Because of countless numbers of them keeping an eye on me, I’ve grown to be an aged person in this business. Therefore, to accept this honor with the grace it deserves I must share it – first with those unknown forces who have been keeping an eye on me; and then with my Mom and Dad who believed in them and in me.
Needless to say that my heartfelt thanks and deepest appreciation also go to that small distinguished collection of filmmakers who were the engines behind the incredible journey of 51 years that I was privileged to make as a professional actor in American motion pictures. They were producers, directors, and writers who needed the world to be better than it was and had the courage to take a hand in shaping it.
Without them standing tall in difficult times, some of us might be in different places than we are, especially me. They were, unquestionably, traveling companions all; yet, each was on a journey of his own. I’m hopeful that history will never let it be forgotten that they passed this way.
Finally, to my fellow actors with whom I worked whose individual brilliance made me look good enough to be thought of for this most distinguished honor; a special thanks to each and every one of you.
Along the way I have accumulated no words of wisdom; and have, therefore, arrived with no message of importance. But I will leave you with a simple observation: The rewards were in the journey and there were many. Because of my traveling companions, the world is better than it was. And because of many of you, I am confident it will be better than it is. Thank you
I am sure you enjoyed reading that address and you are wondering how you can also write something like that, if not better. I am happy to share a few proven tips and ideas to help you write whatever lifetime achievement award acceptance speech you have in mind.
On the surface of things, writing such an example seems like a cinch. But putting that together involves more than the eyes can ever see. There are actually a few steps you have to follow if you want to come up with great and cool ideas to enhance your message.
If you have never delivered such a speech before, you might find yourself going through reams of information before you really find something that is not only acceptable but also worthy of your attention. You need not worry about spending so much time looking for the right ideas because videos can give you a fair idea of what to say and what not to say.
Hence, I always recommend that you first watch a couple of video clips. There are so many of such clips on youtube.com and other video sharing platforms.
But it’s always best to narrow down and pick the good ones that resonate strongly with you. For example, if you are nurse and are going to be honored with a lifetime award, then you obviously should type in something like: ‘’nursing lifetime achievement award acceptance speech’’ into the search bar and the best videos will pop up first.
If you are honored for your lifetime contribution in say business, then you should use these keywords: ‘’ business lifetime achievement award acceptance speech’’ I hope that gives you an idea of how to get the best videos you want.
By the way, I got these videos for you. You should have your notepad or journal by your side. Then, spend a few minutes watching them, and write down ideas that jump out at you. It’s that simple!
Here you go:
Lifetime achievement award acceptance speech example: video #1
Lifetime achievement award acceptance speech sample: video #2
Video examples are not the only helpful resources you can use. Well-written speech examples can also help you to easily and quickly write a stellar lifetime achievement award acceptance speech because they contain several ideas and tips you can adapt for your own presentation.
Now, I am going to share with two (2) expertly crafted examples. Afterward, I will break one of them into bits and pieces so you can figure out how to start and end an inspiring lifetime achievement award speech like a pro even if you are not great with words.
Here is the first written sample: Lifetime Achievement Award Achievement Speech….Example #1
John Doerr NVCA lifetime achievement award acceptance speech
Monday, March 11th 2019
On February 27, 2019, John Doerr was honored by the NVCA with its Lifetime Achievement Award in venture capital. The Award honors those who have made significant contributions to foster innovation, advance technology and drive new company formation.
Thank you Mary. And thanks to all of my partners, to the founders we serve, to all the friends here tonight, and to Bobby and the NVCA team. Also, I want to thank all the members of the Academy, my mother, and of course all of tonight's award winners.
I'm going to tell you the story of two mentors (and one very fortunate mentee — that's me, the luckiest engineer from St. Louis, Missouri). I came to Silicon Valley in 1974 with $50, no job, and no place to live. I interviewed with all the venture capitalists for a summer internship, hoping to learn about starting companies. And just what do you think happened? You guessed it: They all turned me down — wisely.
But Brook Byers agreed to meet while running around Stanford's track. He told me, "John, forget VC, and get a real job at a tech company, like Intel." We stayed in touch. Five years later, I left Intel to work for Frank Caufield and Brook Byers, reviewing business plans and, with their support, writing my own business plan.
Frank and Brook took a big chance, and they promised to back my dream to start a venture. Together we started Silicon Compilers, and @Home. But those are stories for another night. Since 1980, we've also started 29 Kleiner funds, with three generations of leaders raising over $11 billion.
I'm incredibly proud of the latest, Kleiner Perkins 18, which is led by Ted, Mamoon, Wen, Ilya, Bucky, and joined by Annie, Monica, and Josh. I'm also very proud of the Kleiner alumni who in aggregate have raised nearly $2 billion in 10 new funds. I'll shout out those with us tonight: Kevin & Doug at Radar; Aileen with Cowboy; Beth with West Lake; Lynne with Define; Mary, Noah, Mood and Juliet with Bond; and Joe Lacob's Warriors Innovation fund! What an amazing alumni network.
Years ago, Andy Grove at Intel gave me a great gift which I offer to you tonight. It's a handbook, a dozen stories about goal setting called "Measure What Matters" — what matters for your firm, your ventures, or even your family. Do grab a copy on your way out this evening.
It is dedicated to two mentors who left us too soon, opening with Andy Grove, and closing with Coach Bill Campbell. You know, we are discouraged from bringing love into a business setting — but that was Bill's most distinguishing trait. Somehow the Coach was always your best friend.
His tough love inspired everyone from Steve Jobs to the third graders at Sacred Heart. And me. Bill Campbell was the ultimate player-coach. The servant leader. And a great model for us who want to be "servant VCs". We have an awesome opportunity to serve entrepreneurs, our country, and the fragile, threatened planet we call home.
To those of you early in your VC career, choose and focus on a field where you can differentiate and serve with distinction. Network like crazy. Incubate a venture with co-founders — as Swanson did with Genentech, or Byers with Hybritech. Take a sabbatical, gain startup experience ...and respect for it.
Assist entrepreneurs as a business builder, not a buyer and/or seller.
And don't lose your soul in the chase for "deals" — indeed, don't talk or even think that way. Because as we all know, those "deals" are in fact the hopes and dreams of the founders who will change the world.
I'm an optimist. I believe there are very few problems that can't be solved by leaders and teams who share the right goals for the right reasons.
Friends, even as we worship together at the altar of innovation, let's never forget: ideas are easy, execution is everything. And it takes a team to win.
Now, let’s move on to the second example: Lifetime Achievement Award Achievement Speech…Example #2
Delivered by Roberto Ricossa while receiving the Award at the Frost & Sullivan Gala in 2015.
Roberto Ricossa - Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient 2015
Good evening, boa noite, muy buenas noches a todos
It is a great pleasure and an honor for me to be with all of you tonight, on this very special occasion.
I want to start by thanking Dave and the entire staff at Frost & Sullivan for this humbling recognition, as well as all of my colleagues, friends and of course my family: my beautiful twin girls Monica and Pia, and especially my wife Monica, for always being there for me, and most importantly for being here tonight celebrating with me.
Without all of you, nothing is possible, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you (Monica) and thank you all.
When I first got the call that I was being nominated for a Lifetime achievement award, I thought.. What? A Lifetime Achievement award? That is typically for old people.. People who's careers are at the tail end... Why me? And then I got interviewed a couple of times by Melody, an analyst from Frost, whom with for some reason we started talking about age...so, suddenly she told me she was around 24 years old.
And then when she asked me how old I was, I said .. I'm 46. Which she replied.. "Oh! That's so funny, My Dad is 46 as well!" And at THAT time I understood everything about the lifetime achievement award and why I was receiving it!
So anyhow, when I reflect back into the various roles and situations I've been through and the people I've had the pleasure to work with I thought: what is the common thread in all? And so I came up with my very own formula for success and these has 4 basic learnings or recommendations:
First and foremost, be passionate. You cannot be successful in anything unless you are passionate about something. And by passionate I mean consistently passionate, not only on the good times, but most importantly on the not so good times when passionate leadership is needed the most.
I went through good and bad times, company mergers, acquisitions and even bankruptcies. And in all, there is always something to learn and experience as long as you have the passion to want to keep on going forward and inspire others. Inspire others not only to follow you, but inspire them to follow their own dreams.
Second, care for others. You can never be successful by yourself. A true leader is not only one that is always open and frank with others and gets the best by developing other leaders, but most importantly, one that genuinely cares for others.
And here, I want to thank the many folks I've worked with throughout time and that have always pushed me to be better, every time. Because of that, you not only helped me be a better leader, but most importantly to be a better person.
Third, attitude. Be positive, don't look at the “why not” or the “I can't”... But always look into HOW can I make it happen and find a way to do it.
That's exactly why I start my mornings with a "good morning in the morning"... because I want to make every morning a good morning and then turn it into a wonderful day, and son on!
And last but not least, stay true to the real objective of why WE ALL work so hard. The true Ultimate Goal: Your Family
You can change jobs, roles, and trust me, everything will keep on changing around you, but at the end of your day, your family is what stays with you forever. Don't let a single day go by without you being WITH THEM AND FOR THEM... THAT is what matters the most.
So, bottom line...if you have the passion, if you engage and care for others with the right attitude and always keep your ultimate objective in mind, you and your family will be happy.
And that, when you boil it down to the essence, is the ultimate lifetime achievement GOAL we should all aspire to reach...
So Be happy, life is good!
Thank You very much!
I am sure you will agree with me when I say that both are great examples of what lifetime achievement award acceptance speeches should be like.
Ok, let’s start by analyzing the second example. I don’t know about you. But I remember back in High School, my English tutor used to say that there are three main sections of an essay or speech…Do you have any idea what they are?
Ok, every write-up has an introduction, body, and conclusion. If you go back and read both examples, you will realize that all the three elements are inherently present in all the examples on this page.
Ok…let’s start by looking at the introduction. Let’s recap parts of it so you can understand better how to write a great opener.
'' Good evening, boa noite, muy buenas noches a todos
It is a great pleasure and an honor for me to be with all of you tonight, on this very special occasion.
I want to start by thanking Dave and the entire staff at Frost & Sullivan for this humbling recognition, as well as all of my colleagues, friends and of course my family: my beautiful twin girls Monica and Pia, and especially my wife Monica, for always being there for me, and most importantly for being here tonight celebrating with me. Without all of you, nothing is possible, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you (Monica) and thank you all...''
Now, let me ask you this question. Was there anything you noticed about that extract? Most speeches begin with a note of appreciation. However, there are several other unique and appealing ways of starting your introduction as it's primary purpose is to hook the audience into your presentation.
Let’s look at some tried and tested ways of starting your speech with a bang.
First, you can talk about how you felt when you were called up for the award or even when you received a note that you would be honored for your specialty. It's depicted in this example.
I stand here amazed at the sea of faces I see here tonight. I know it is your expression of love and kind regard towards me.
Thank you very much for being here when you had the choice to stay back home due to the rains pouring down outside.
I would like to thank the Management Association for selecting me for the Best Entrepreneur Award.
Second, you can start off with a question someone asked about what you do. And you can see that amplified in the next example by Lois Lowry.
“How do you know where to start?” a child asked me once, in a schoolroom, where I’d been speaking to her class about the writing of books.
I shrugged and smiled and told her that I just start wherever it feels right. This evening it feels right to start by quoting a passage from The Giver, a scene set during the days in which the boy, J onas, is beginning to look more deeply into the life that has been very superficial, beginning to see that his own past goes back farther than he had ever known and has greater implications than he had ever suspected…..
Third, you can start on a tone of humility as Aedhmar Hynes did in her speech.
''Thank you so much for this honor. I am truly humbled to be in the company of people who have inspired me, who have helped shape my thinking,who have helped me realize the potential of our profession to truly make a difference.
Thanks to the Arthur W. Page Society, I am fortunate to consider so many members friends. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the chairmen -- Roger Bolton, Maril McDonald, Jon Iwata, Bill Margaritas, Gary Sheffer and now Dave Samson -- with whom I have had the honor of serving as a member of the Trustee committee.''
Fourth, you can start with a funny comment like Roberto Ricossa for his lifetime achievement speech.
''I want to start by thanking Dave and the entire staff at Frost & Sullivan for this humbling recognition, as well as all of my colleagues, friends and of course my family: my beautiful twin girls Monica and Pia, and especially my wife Monica, for always being there for me, and most importantly for being here tonight celebrating with me,.
Without all of you, nothing is possible, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you (Monica) and thank you all.
When I first got the call that I was being nominated for a Lifetime achievement award, I thought.. What? A Lifetime Achievement award? That is typically for old people.. People who's careers are at the tail end... Why me? And then I got interviewed a couple of times by Melody, an analyst from Frost, whom with for some reason we started talking about age...so, suddenly she told me she was around 24 years old... And then when she asked me how old I was, I said .. I'm 46. Which she replied.. "Oh! That's so funny, My Dad is 46 as well!"
Now, let’s see…
How You Can Write the Body of Your Speech
The body is undoubtedly the easiest part you can write. But with so many years of memories distilled into a very short presentation, it can get really hard if not overwhelming to know which anecdotes you can draw from.
The trick here is to first create an outline for your lifetime achievement award speech before fill the gaps in. How do you do that? Here are some simple you can simply follow to bring your ideas on board even if you are not a great writer.
First, focus on the kind of message you wish to deliver? Here are pointers to help you chose which type you really want to go with?
- Do wish to use the storytelling approach? If you want it to sound funny, you can include one or two hilarious moments.
- Do you want to share with the audience what the journey has been like? Can you share the high and low moments of your personal or professional life?
- Since you’ve been in the game for long, you can probably do a little introspection and share the lessons learned. What do you think though?
Here’s how Roberto Ricossa captured it in the above example.
‘’ So anyhow, when I reflect back into the various roles and situations I've been through and the people I've had the pleasure to work with I thought: what is the common thread in all? And so I came up with my very own formula for success and these has 4 basic learnings or recommendations’’
Well, if you can expertly combine a. b. c ideas to write something epic, then your speech will be a massive hit.
And with that, let’s look at...
How to Write the Ending Of Your Lifetime Achievement Award Acceptance Speech
I cringe when most speakers end their speeches with such clichés as: ‘’Thank you’’, ‘’Thank you for listening’’ ‘’Thanks for your time’’ There is nothing wrong with that. But you can always go further to make your closing remarks stand out by delivering something that’s out of the ordinary.
There are actually a few tips to help you wrap up on a very memorable note and I am happy to share just a few with you.
First, you can share your optimism for the future as captured in the following example.
Paul Polman's four CRITICAL messages for all businesses:
Polman ended his acceptance speech with four “critical points” that he believes all business should champion now and in the future:
1) Do things differently - “We need to redefine what critical boundaries look like and work in a much higher degree of partnership to reach these tipping points. It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.”
2) Turn the volume up – Polman called on business to get vocal in demanding new policies are introduced that enable an accelerated transition to a green economy.
3) Put people first – Polman said that behind every stat was an individual and that people were suffering because of a collective “ineptitude to take action”. He called on attendees to be courageous when putting people at the heart to everything a business does.
4) Take individual responsibilities – Alluding to the old proverb No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible, Polman said that individual actions can change the world and kickstart new agendas. It is the role of the sustainability professional to step up, he said.
... And, for any sustainability professional that feels the task at hand is too daunting, Polman did have one final message: "If any of us think that they are too small to make a difference, I encourage you to go to bed with a mosquito in the room and you’ll see the difference! I can only ask you to ramp up your ambitions, set your goals high and hopefully we can create a world one day where we leave no one behind.”
Second, this is not actually done. But you can take questions from the floor. Your audience can tap into your rich experience and learn from you.
Third, anything that comes to your mind? You just have to do a little brainstorming and you will get them.
Dear Award Winner,
Let’s face it. One of the most prized possessions you will ever get in life is to be rewarded for a job well done.
It gets even sweeter when you have worked hard so hard your whole life and have been recognized for making a positive contribution to humanity.
Nonetheless, it’s not an easy thing when you are asked to deliver a few remarks after receiving your award. Your audience love, admire and respect you and are expecting you to tell them how you made it.
With all eyes on you and everyone applauding you for your excellent work, you might be a blubbering idiot if you don’t prepare very well ahead of time or even decide to wing it. No matter what you feel about speaking in public, you can make a difference if we work together with you.
If you have never made one before, then we are giving you a chance to come up with something inspiring and memorable without pulling your hair out!
Want to get on board? You should by first filling out this simple and short questionnaire.
Award ceremony around the corner? Or happening in less than 24 hours? Trust me, we can deliver! it doesn’t matter if your speech is today, tomorrow, next week, next month ,next year,... we can make things work for you
Ok, Is This Offer For Me?
- Yes, it’s for you if you are overwhelmed by the pressures of work or other things and really don’t have the time to put a beautiful speech together.
- Yes you have to get on board; if you don’t know how to start or are not too sure if you can.
- Yes, if you are not too eloquent or not too sure if you are on the right track.
- Yes, if you feel writing and giving speeches is simply not your thing! You just hate it!
- Yes, if you are still struggling to find the right words and ideas to say something memorable.
- Yes, if you feel you might make some horrible mistakes!
- Yes, if you are a good writer or speaker but you still want someone to look over or review what you’ve come up with!
Ok, I am Interested, What’s the Cost?
You don’t have to give any $ for now!
Why? Are you guys serious? Are you not kidding?
No, we are very serious about this since we want you to be happy with your speech first!
After we have delivered your speech, then you name a fair price for it! That’s all! So, you better not joke with this amazing offer! We are very serious about this!
Oh Ok, How Then Do I Get Started Since I Want To Get On Board Right Away?
- So, CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED NOW TO GET YOUR GREAT SPEECH NOW BY FILLING OUT A QUESTIONNAIRE— -you name a fair price after your speech has been delivered. So, you can have peace of mind!
- After that, we will send you a very short and simple questionnaire to fill out!
- Then, you have it sent back to us via email
- If something is not too clear, we will ask you to clarify.
- If not, we will send you a wonderful draft.
- Then, you look it over and tell us if you are okay with it or you want to amend it till you are happy with it — although we always get it right even with the first draft.
- Then, we ask you to name a fair price for it!