By Mike Aoki
Congratulations. You have been asked to speak at your company’s summer employee barbecue or winter banquet. Making a great impression will boost your career. But the wrong move could embarrass you right out of a promotion.
Here are five tips to make your employee event speech a success:
1) Keep to the theme of the event:
If the banquet theme is, “Above and beyond the call”, tell a story of exceptional service. If the theme is, “The best is yet to come” share a story about wonderful opportunities in the future.
2) Keep it light:
It’s a party. People are there to have fun, not listen to a serious speech. Leave policy announcements and new product launches for another time. Humorous, entertaining or inspirational stories are more appropriate.
Prior to the banquet, you can ask your call center or sales team for anecdotes you can share with the rest of the company. Focus on stories that are uplifting. You want to show how your team’s hard work has paid off in improved customer service and sales.
3) Keep it brief:
Corporate holiday events are celebrations. But dinner and speeches can take several hours. Keep your speech as short as possible so people can hit the dance floor (or go home) at a reasonable hour.
As the CEO, President or department VP/Director, your holiday speech to your team should be ten minutes or less. You want to acknowledge their hard work, congratulate them on their accomplishments, and wish them well for the holidays.
4) Keep it simple:
Employees normally bring a date. So don’t use company jargon in your speech. Instead of saying, “Our 3G implementation increased EBITDA by 10%”, say, “Adding new technology boosted our results by 10% and now it’s time to celebrate!”
5) Keep a “cheat sheet” if you give thanks:
Thank people that contributed to a successful year. Here’s a tip: write the names down so you don’t miss anyone. There is nothing worse than publicly leaving someone out.
Use these five tips to avoid disaster and make a great impression at your company’s next employee event.
© 2009 Reflective Keynotes Inc., Toronto, Canada
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