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How to Give a Vote of Thanks

Often the best way to show your appreciation is with heartfelt words of gratitude. Deliver those words with these tips in front of an audience, and you'll really make someone feel special.


  • Step 1: Stop talking if you are a speaker who is lucky enough to receive applause or laughter from the crowd. Let the laughter or clapping dwindle out and then pick up where you left off.
  • Step 2: Engage your listeners and increase the appearance of sincerity by loosening up and gesturing naturally with your arms. If you are behind a podium, walk from one side of it to the next every few moments.
  • Step 3: Smile brightly and genuinely to convey your appreciation. The audience will see that you're excited to be there and honored by the help or recognition you have received.
  • FACT: Toastmasters, a public speaking organization, boasts 260,000 members and counts Peter Coors of Coors Brewing Company, and Linda Lingle, governor of Hawaii, as alumni.
  • TIP: Pause frequently as you speak, following certain words for emphasis and in between the people to whom you are addressing thanks. Pauses give your listeners time to reflect.
  • Step 4: Speak slowly and deliberately and resist the urge to rush through your thank-you speech.
  • Step 5: Name exactly what you are grateful for. Instead of saying "You did a great job on the project," try "The late hours you worked and the relationships you built with clients gave us the boost we needed to succeed."
  • Step 6: Keep a list of the names of all the guests you want to thank. If you forget to at least mention a name of someone who deserves praise, you will ruffle some feathers. Also, make sure to practice name pronunciations in advance.
  • TIP: Know in advance where the people you want to thank are sitting in the room. Make eye contact as you express gratitude.
  • Step 7: Consider in advance who you want to thank and how you want to express your gratitude. Write down what you want to say so you have something to refer to at the meeting. Rehearse your speech to become more comfortable delivering it.

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