How to Write a Thank You Speech

Two Methods:Sample Thank You SpeechesWriting Your Own Speech

OK, you finally won your Oscar (or maybe your little league championship), and the spotlight is all yours. Well, not exactly. You probably didn't get to the pinnacle of your career all alone, and people know that. The only nice, civilized thing to do is to share that spotlight with everyone who helped you reach your dreams. That means you've got to give a thank-you speech. While thank-you speeches are relatively straightforward, they can be a bit tricky to prepare, especially if list of people to thank is very large or very small.

Sample Thank You Speeches

Sample Thank You for Coming

Sample Thank You for Award

Writing Your Own Speech

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    Make a list of all the people you would like to thank, as well as those who you need to thank (just because you need to thank them doesn't mean you'd like to). You can write the list down on a sheet of paper and leave a few lines of space between each person. Better yet, input the people into a spreadsheet or word processing document so that you can add to your entries and rearrange them.
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    Write down why you are thanking each person on your list. Just jot down a quick keyword next to each person's name, i.e. catering, inspiration, support, or donations.
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    Separate the most important people. Determine importance in reference to why you are thanking them. Typically, a religious figure, your parents, your spouse, or the company that just gave your organization a bundle of money will be near the top. Once you get past the top few it may be quite difficult to rank people's importance, and you don't need to. Just make sure that the most important people will be at the top of the speech so that there is no chance they'll get left out if your speech starts to get a bit too long. If you have your people entered in a spreadsheet or word processing document it will be easy to assign a rank and rearrange people.
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    Consider how much time you have for your speech. If you don't have a lot of time you may need to make some tradeoffs. Either you can omit some people or you can shorten the amount of detail you give for each person. You may not have to omit people completely. At the end of your speech you can call off their names. '..And thanks to Michael Croon, Tommy Lee, Jesse Heart, and if I forgot anybody else, thanks to you, too!" If you don't have enough people, tell a little more about them than what you jotted down. Elaborate, but don't share more than you would want shared about yourself.
  5. Image titled Write a Thank You Speech Step 5
    Write an introduction. Open up with something about why you are thanking everyone. Was it an award, a job well done, a meeting, a convention, a special event, or something else? The reason should be obvious. If you'll have plenty of time for your speech, you may want to open with a little story about the lead-up to the event, a brief history of your career, an amusing anecdote, or a quote.
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    Flesh out the details for each of the most important people. Start from the top of your list and add detail to the keywords you've written. Thus, if one of your entries is "John Smith--Event Coordinator," you can explain how much work John put into the event and how John has always come through for you in a clutch. For the most important people on your list, your parents, your spouse, your manager or your boss, for example, you may want to add more detail: tell a little story about the person, briefly summarize the time you've known them, or drop an inside joke.
    • The most important people should get more air-time than those further down your list. Not only do you have more to thank them for, but you also probably have to live or work with them on a regular basis, so you want to build as much goodwill as possible.
    • Budget your time for each person. Remember that if you spend too much time on any one person, you may not be able to get to others who still really need to be thanked. Be concise, even if you have plenty of time.
    • If your speech needs to be really short, you may just say something to the effect of, "I would like to thank Charley, my wonderful husband for supporting me through the long nights. I couldn't have done it without you. Thanks to my beautiful daughters, Kiera and Emily. Mommy can play more now. To Jeff Goldstein of Caracas for feeding my crew, to Jake, Mindy, Paul, and Gwen for staying up so late with me so we could get it right..." You may want to say more about these important people, but if you're pressed for time, they'll understand.
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    Group the remaining people by their keywords. You'll only be able to make short mention of the rest of the people, and if there are a lot of them, you'll want to organize them. So, for example, you might say, "And for the catering, thanks to Joe, Mike, Mindy, and Jeanette."
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    Time your speech. Your now-completed speech should begin with an introduction, proceed to the most important people, and then run through the rest of the people in categories. Read the speech at a normal pace, and use a stopwatch to time yourself. If you find that your speech is too long, consider shortening or omitting some of the details about people or dropping some of the least important people. If you need to omit someone altogether, try to make sure it's someone who won't be there and won't see the speech. If your speech is too short, add details or add a conclusion.
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    Write your speech on note cards or on a piece of paper. You can write out your whole speech or just an outline of people and reasons for thanks, whatever helps you remember what you need to say.
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    Practice in the mirror or in front of a close friend or family member. Do it more than once and make sure you say it out loud before you actually give your speech. If you're well prepared, you'll feel far more comfortable when you actually have to get up in front of everybody.


  • Have fun. Yes, you will be standing up in front of a crowd of people thanking them, but the important thing is that you do it, even if it doesn't come out well.
  • Don't worry about the length too much. List all the things that you were thankful for with specific details.
  • If you forget somebody, especially somebody important, send them a thoughtful note right away explaining that you were nervous during the speech (or some reasonable explanation), and that what they have done for you or your organization is important and valuable. Let them know that they are appreciated and that you feel bad for leaving them out.
  • Remember to try to get those last people in there at the end! Just a quick shout-out as the music starts or as you leave the stage is better than nothing.
  • Don't worry about not getting to everyone, but do try to get the more significant ones so they don't get fussy.
  • Don't overdo the humour or it will get boring.


  • When giving personal comments or inside jokes, take people's feelings into consideration. Don't say anything to upset someone or hurt their feelings.
  • Don't mumble and keep looking down at your page, or make it seem too rehearsed.

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