The Problem with Award Ceremonies
|Bootlegger Bob, award show host.|
Award ceremonies are wonderful; they give a much-needed opportunity for recognition, are motivational and inspirational, and are a chance to celebrate the success of an entire team.
However, award ceremonies present inherent problems:
- People who haven’t been nominated don’t have a strong incentive/interest in the proceedings
- Nominated individuals often tune out after their award category
- The ceremonies tend to go long due to the nature of the recognition—straining the attention span of even the most invested individuals
- They often lack engagement outside of the award presentations
- Balancing a serious/regal/elegant award presentation and entertainment value can be tricky (and often times scripted entertainment dialog can come off flat in the best of situations. See also: The Academy Awards)
Having an Engaging Award Ceremony
So: How do you make an award ceremony interactive, fun, engaging and relevant for EVERYONE involved? Here are a few techniques that we’ve utilized during award ceremony presentations:
AniMated Hosts: An AniMated host interacting throughout an award ceremony can add continual humor, engagement and interaction. An AniMate is a 3-d animated character that interacts in REAL TIME with a co-host, presenter or the audience. We recently used a character named Bootlegger Bob to interact at the ISES Star Awards (Theme: The Bootlegger’s Ball). Bob made observations, kept the ceremony moving, presided over the entertainment, interacted with the host and provided a rollicking good time.
Game Show Activities: Just because there are a set number of awards doesn’t mean that there can’t be a little more competition. Giving everyone in the audience a stake in the proceedings can intensify engagement exponentially. Game show competitions can come in several formats. At the beginning of an awards event we’ve divided the audience into teams (by table/region/room section/whatever). Between award categories, we’ve asked the contestants to answer 1-3 questions. The questions can be based on company content, details on awards or award winners, or just plain trivia. The competition reengages and refocuses the audience, and gives continual, much-needed shots of energy throughout.
Reordering the Agenda: We’ve worked with companies extensively to design an award ceremony that is both engagement/entertainment friendly, and adult learning friendly (you want people to remember the night and key messages as well as get recognition). We’ve done agenda consultation as simple as arranging categories or entertainment elements in a logical, compelling way—or as complex as spacing out an award ceremony throughout a multi-day event.