Presenting a Recognition Award

February 3, 2016

When you are presenting an employee recognition award, remember that this may be the one opportunity in a lifetime that the recipient is recognized by his or her employer. Plan not just the recognition award presentation but the steps leading up to it, so a sense of the importance of the recognition award and the value your school or district places on it builds up to the moment of recognition award presentation.

Before the Recognition Award Presentation


  • Each recipient should be informed of the recognition award well in advance of the meeting in which the recognition award will be presented.
  • They should then receive a formal invitation to the recognition award presentation ceremony and be encouraged to have family and friends accompany them.
  • News releases about the recognition award and recipients should be sent to the media.
  • Inform your internal audiences who might want to attend the award presentation or to congratulate the recipient in another manner.
  • Ask recipients to arrive 15 minutes before the start of the recognition award presentation, and reassure them that they and their guests will be given a briefing and an outline of how the award presentation will be made.

Planning the Recognition Award Presentation
Brief the presenter of the recognition award on the format for the award presentation. Here is a list of events to consider including:

  • The presenter begins with a salutation to the people present and a brief statement of who he or she is, what business he or she represents, what awards are being presented, and who the recipients are.
  • The recipient joins the presenter at the podium or front of the room.
  • The presenter invites the recipient to introduce any family or guests.
  • The presenter describes the recognition award and tells how and why the recipient was selected.
  • The presenter hands the recognition award to the recipient and shakes his or her hand.
  • If the recognition award presentation occurs at a Board meeting, Board members are invited to come and personally congratulate the recipient.
  • The recipient is given an opportunity to thank the sponsor, Board, and their peers.
  • The recipient sits down; the presenter or sponsor may then extend an invitation to the recipient and guests to stay for the Board meeting or to exit at a comfortable intermission time.

It is important to script the award presentation. Many people are uncomfortable in this setting, and “winging it” can result in things being said which unintentionally take away from the award presentation. For example, it weakens the impact of an award presentation to say, “There are many people we could be recognizing, but today we have brought Ellen before you.” Once statements like this are out there, there is little you can do to recapture the magic of the moment.

Extending the Recognition
Receiving well-deserved recognition can be both profoundly gratifying and motivational. With this in mind, it is important to extend the effects of the recognition award as far as possible. As mentioned above, an attractive flyer that invites friends and former associates to come and share the experience should precede the presentation of any award. News releases with accompanying photos of the recipients either involved in their work or receiving the recognition award should be made through a newsletter or local/regional newspaper. The recipients should be asked if they would like to have copies of the news releases or notification letters included in their personnel files. With their permission, the award coordinator should see that this gets accomplished. Whenever possible, include something commemorating the award presentation, such as a printed program or the addition of a name to a perpetual plaque. When sponsors have underwritten awards for a period of time, a framed collage including photos of the recipients and the sponsor’s picture should be created and displayed in a prominent location in the school or district.

Download Award Presentation Guide

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