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How to write a thank you speech

A thank you speech or appreciation speech prepared and given with sincerity means so much to those you acknowledge.

'Thank you' in multiple languages

'No man is an island'

When we achieve, we usually do so because others have helped. Your speech of appreciation is the gift you give in return for what was given you.


Preparing

Generally this type of speech is not spontaneous. You will have some forewarning and time to consider what you want to say and who you want to mention.

Although the occasions may vary hugely, for example:

Thank you

  • for coming to my party
  • for the promotion
  • for the award
  • for your gifts
  • for coming to the opening of my new business ...

... the essentials of an appreciation speech are the same. These form your template.

Cover these three content areas and you'll be fine.

  1. WHO are you thanking?
    Note their names in ranking order- the most important first
  2. WHAT are you thanking them for?
    Be specific rather than general. Naming what you are grateful for gives your thanks more meaning.
  3. WHAT did their gift of time, expertise, encouragement ... mean to you?
    Be specific. This is your chance to compliment or praise. Take it.



orange pumpkin

Thanks but no thanks! What I really want is a ...
Thanksgiving Speech
And it's here!

Choose a theme.
Complete the template.
And give your Thanksgiving Speech with confidence.


Writing your speech

Now that 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.


  1. In your introduction or opening give the reason for the occasion and why it is you're going to thank everyone.

    Depending on the size of your people to thank/appreciate 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.

  2. In the body of your thank you speech, start at the top of your list of people to thank and work your way through it. Take care to give the most important people the most time. 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."

  3. In the conclusion, summarize your main points and finish.

Bright blue forgetmenots

Slip in a quotation

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 ...

And 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 being inclusive.
This not the place to air unresolved grievances, to make remarks or tell in-jokes that are only understood by a few.


Tips to help you get  your thank you speech right

Rehearsal

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 this rehearsal link for detailed information about how to rehearse effectively.

For the condensed and shortened version covering good rehearsal practice follow the points below.

Timing

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.

Use cue cards

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 and feedback

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.

Are you sweating over a business or professional thank you speech?

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.
Get thee pronto to the 
business thank you speech

Business thank you speech thumb

And if it all gets too difficult you may like this offer ....

Speech writer graphic with text: Are you finding writing your speech hard? I could do it for you. Click and find out more.