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Your Guide to Putting on an Amazing Awards Banquet

Step 1:  Don’t Forget the Awards!

This may sound obvious, but I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had to rush and make awards for someone who forgot to order them for their awards banquet!  It’s easy to get caught up in organizing the venue, food & other aspects and forget to order the physical awards you will be handing out.  To limit the likelihood of this happening to you, start early!  Get the awards ordered and off your plate as soon as you can, so that you can focus on the other details as the event gets closer.

Step 2:  Know your goals

Have you ever wondered what the goal of awards banquet is?  Why do you even have them?  There are important answers to these questions that will help you maximize the value of awards ceremonies.  An awards ceremony should be used to recognize, inspire and motivate.  Take a look at some of the goals below to get you thinking about what you want your awards banquet to accomplish.

Goals for the award recipient

  • Make the award recipient feel pride for their actions.
  • Make the award recipient feel pride for the organization.
  • Create a desire for the award recipient to continue his/her contributions.

Goals for observers

  • Help those viewing the presentation feel good for the recipient.
  • Foster a desire within those viewing the presentation to achieve.
  • Make others viewing the presentation feel pride towards the organization.

As you can see, there are generally two groups you need to focus on during your awards ceremony.  That is the awards recipients and those attending.  Each of these groups should feel a general sense of pride towards your organization after the awards banquet.  This will help them perform better in the workplace and will ultimately help shape your company culture.

Step 3:  Focus on actions

If you’re trying to motivate others to improve, you probably want them to change their actions.  To improve upon something or to start doing something they aren’t yet doing.  The easiest way to motivate other employees without creating a sense of envy for the award recipient is to focust on actions.  When presenting the award, focus on why the given employee received this award.  What did he/she do that was above and beyond?  This will help other employees visualize what they need to do in order to acheive recognition.

Types of Actions

  • Top performers:  Highest selling agent, most commisions made, cars sold etc.
  • Stellar customer service:  Most 5 star reviews, most customer problems resolved etc.

You can see, that by mentioning why the employee received the award, it will help motivate other employees to engage in the same type of activities in hopes of receiving similar recognition.

Step 3:  Focus on Attributes

Notice that attributes and actions are two different things.  Actions are things we do and attributes are who we are.  When pointing out a specific employees attributes, be careful not to set them on too high of a pedestal as to create envy in the other employees.  Focus on the attributes themselves, not on the individual.  This will help motivate employees to attain attributes, instead of become like “Jane” or “Joe.”

Types of Attributes

  • Creativity
  • Dedication
  • Leadership
  • Dependablity
  • Reliability
  • Humor
  • Focused
  • Energetic
  • Inspirational
  • Likeable
  • Passionate
  • Motivated

By highlighting an attribute that a certain employee has, it will help them understand what they’re good at and help them improve.  It will also help other employees know what attributes are important within your organization.

Step 4:  Present your awards on stage

You’ve spent money on the awards you’ll be giving out.  Make the most of it!  Set them out  on a table where everyone can see them.  This will help employees recognize that you care enough about them to spend a substantial amount of money recognizing their actions and attributes.

When the time comes, take time to present the award on stage.  Call the recipient forward and give them a firm handshake and hand each one their award so that everyone in attendence can see the awards again.

Step 5:  Have fun!

Make it an enjoyable evening.  Have employees invite family and friends.  Center the banquet around your core values and company culture.  Help employees feel comfortable with you and other managers in the organization.  Remember that this is an “extra” event.  You’re not at work, try to relax and enjoy one anothers company as if you were friends hanging out.


Your awards ceremony should help motivate employees to perform certain actions and attain desired attributes.