You are here: HOME › How to write a thank you speech
By: Susan Dugdale | First published: 01-01-2009 | Last modified: 03-15-2019
A thank you speech or appreciation speech prepared and given with sincerity means a lot to those you acknowledge.
Dive right in. There's all the assistance you need on this page to write an excellent speech of thanks.
You'll find best practice and content suggestions to guide you, a sample speech, links to quotations you may like to use, as well as notes covering rehearsal and delivery.
When we achieve, we usually do so because others have helped. Your speech of appreciation is the gift or acknowledgment you give in return for what was given you.
A thank you speech could fit any of these occasions.
Generally a thank you speech is not spontaneously given. You will likely have some forewarning that one is expected and time to consider what you want to say and who you want to mention.
Here's a sample thank you speech for you to see how it could be done. There are many ways. This is one!
The person giving this speech is thanking an organization for giving him an award. It is 374 words long. When spoken it will take approximately 2 minutes to deliver. That's about the right length. It's brief and covers everything needed.
As you read it through imagine hearing it out loud.
"Who's considered the power of thank you? It's incredible! Those two words express gratitude, humility, understanding, as well as acknowledgement. I am here with you: my family, many of my friends and colleagues because I need to say all of that, and then some more.
Thank you for coming to share my being given the Fred Smith Award for Community Service. It's very humbling.
There's a phrase I'm sure everyone knows: it takes a village to raise a child. In this case it's not a child that's been raised but an award for a long needed community resource - the Parksville Community Literacy Center. And the village behind it and me, is you.
In particular thank you to my wife Marlene who has always understood and shared my conviction that communities are healthiest when its resources are equally shared, and that the ability to read underpins long term social and economic well being. I know the long hours I spent after work helping to establish our new Center tested her, especially when I was home late, again. However she continues to support, and love me, nevertheless. For that I will always be grateful.
Mary Hill, Catherine Beech and Matthew Fall from the Fred Smith Foundation – thank you for sharing the vision of an integrated community and for being so incredibly supportive. You understood what we were trying to achieve and helped make it possible. Your generous gifts of time, expertise and funds are deeply appreciated.
This award may have my name on it, but in truth it belongs to everybody who has worked to make the center a reality. Have you got a spare day or two? If I called out all those people we'd be here for quite some time! Instead, I'll simply say thank you. You know who you are.
The time and effort you've given ensures that the Parksville people who want it will have access to effective literacy programs and resources. That is a priceless gift, for as Nobel Peace Prize winner former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan said “Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.”
Thank you for the award and thank you on behalf of all those who will cross that bridge to a brighter future."
Cover these three content areas and you'll be fine.
When you've sorted out who you wish to mention and what for, you are ready to write your thank you speech.
Like any other form of speech you need 3 parts:- an opening, the body or middle where you put all your acknowledgments, and a conclusion.
Depending on the number of people on your 'thank you/appreciation' list and the amount of time you have, do include a small story about the lead-up making this event possible. Stories always go down well because they let people in to share your experience more deeply.
Check out this page on story telling in speeches for more information.
For those whom you want to mention but don't have enough time to make individual acknowledgments consider grouping them according to function.
Example: "To Alex, Mary, Judy and Sam, thank you for making me remember to laugh. You helped me keep my sanity and perspective when the going was tough."
Before you finalize the content, check out these 'thank you quotations'.
They offer different ways of expressing your gratitude. You could find just what you need to spark your creativity and provide the thread/theme to unite your speech. It can be so much more than a long string of thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you ...
Here's a reminder that may sound a bit stuffy or even 'old-school'.
Your thank you speech really does need to focus on the positives, as well as be inclusive.
This is not the place to air unresolved grievances, to make negative remarks of any sort, or to tell in-jokes that are only understood by a few. The only thing you really achieve if you do is to make yourself look less than you really are.
Be the bigger and better you!
*About The Speech Builder - this is an app that "builds" personalized speeches. If you're needing a speech to say thank you for an award of any sort; academic, sporting, civic, or artistic, the speech builder can help.
Many people make the assumption that once they've got the words of their speech sorted, they're set to go. That's not true. Practice completes the speech process.
Giving yourself several rehearsals, firstly by yourself and then in front of friends or family, will help enormously. Click the link for detailed information about how to rehearse effectively.
For the condensed and shortened version covering good rehearsal practice follow the points below.
Getting the timing right on your speech is an essential part of making it a success. Go on too long and people stop listening. Be too brief and there's a danger you've missed things out.
The only way to find out how long your speech is, is to time yourself as you say it out loud at a normal speaking rate.
If it's too long, look for areas you can cut. Maybe you need to group a few more people together or perhaps you need to shorten some of the specific examples about why it is you're thanking someone.
If it's too short, add more detail. Repeat until you get the length right.
Write the main points of your thank you speech on cue cards. Good notes will keep you on track while ensuring you cover everything you want to like, for instance, the name of every person you want to thank and why.
(If you don't know about using or how to make cue cards find out here. Cue cards are preferable to reading your speech.)
Practice your speech by yourself until you are familiar with the flow of it. Then practice in front of someone whose judgement you trust.
Ask for feedback on whether or not you've included everybody you should, how the speech links together, how your delivery could be improved.
Being well prepared is the best defense there is against feeling nervous! Your careful preparation will give you confidence.
One thanking your colleagues for a job well done?
Here's a cracker (a good one) to use as a template. It's utterly adaptable. Takes bits out, flick bits in ... until you have it just as you want it.