Ninety seconds. That’s how long Tony Award winners have on Sunday between the time their names are announced and when they must wrap their acceptance speeches, according to Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, co-producers of the CBS telecast. Experts weigh in on how to make the most of the minute-and-a-half.
Write down what you want to say, then rehearse with a timer.
“It’s smart, not arrogant, to prepare for an award,” Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, founder of the Etiquette School of New York, tells amNew York. “It’s a professional honor, and it’s professional to prepare. Don’t be embarrassed about being ready for winning.”
It’s tricky to connect with an audience — at Radio City Music Hall or watching on screens — when you are not looking at them because your eyes are glued to notes. Which is why experts agree that reading a speech isn’t the way to go.
“Connecting with the audience is why every nominee is at the Tonys,” says educator and speaker Ramona J. Smith, the 2018 Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking. “So connect.”
“Acknowledging that you’re grateful to those giving the honor looks good on you,” says Napier-Fitzpatrick. “ ’Thank you’ is a good place to begin your speech.”
If you really didn’t expect to win, acting OMG shocked is fine. If you’re a front-runner, not so much, according to Smith.
A short speech can be a big showcase in who you are — so make it funny, poignant, inspirational. You choose.