Leaders, This is How You Put On an Outstanding Recognition Event

Sam Glenn, author, speaker, attitude expertRecognition happens when the right people are doing the right things.  People love to know they matter and what they do makes  a difference to the big picture of the organization. I am invited to speak at a lot of recognition events throughout the year and there and some do it right and some who do it just to get it done with.  It is much better to do it right and it is much more fun and rewarding.

Here is my step by step checklist

Planning an incredible recognition event to reward the attitudes and effort of everyone who shows up every day and cares enough to give their very best.
  1. Get excited to recognize the people that make everything work. 
    If you are excited about this event, then others will be and it shows up in our attitude.  You want people to feel special.
  2. Assign a planning team to oversee the details and ensure this is a rock star event.  
    Don’t assign someone who is a downer or a bump on a log.  I have worked with these people and they make life challenging for the world.  This event is supposed to be fun, so put fun detailed people in charge of the planning.
  3. Plan a date – it can be a lunch event or evening event.
    You can do this once a year or a few times a year, you pick. Most groups who have me speak will do it once a year.
  4. Find a venue to hold it at that will accommodate your office, department or company.
  5. Find  someone to cater the meal.  Do not do a sit down meal where the meal is served.
    This food has been sitting around for a long time and this makes the program run longer.  People get antsy.
    The best events are the ones that offer a buffet style meal, so people can walk through a line and get what they want. Always have enough lines open to ensure a smooth flow, so the line is not building up around the corner.
  6. The best kinds of foods for these events are finger foods.
    People will eat this stuff up like a meal, but finger foods offer more variety and are more fun as well as tasty.  The events that have the finger foods get the highest marks as far as food goes.
  7. Some recognition events might have an open bar.


If people are going to be drinking, a few tips.

  1. Have some taxis ready to take some people home.
  2. Or have a taxi cab number available
  3. Do not plan for an hour of motivational speaking.  I love to get hired for these events, but if people have had a long day and they just ate and are drinking, they don’t want to sit and listen to a speaker for an hour.  Plan something like a cover band  – its more entertaining.

 What is it Really About?

  1.  The president, CEO or supervisor who gets up to share a few words – this should not be a time to talk business or do a power point presentation.  This should be a time to show some heart felt thanks to everyone for a job well done and encourage forward progress.  The speeches that take up time to fill time are a waste of time.  Get up, be human and share from the heart.  This is what endures people to love working there and working hard.
  2. Honor those who have done some exceptional things throughout the year with something special.  If you want to get them  a plaque or trophy – great. But get them something that wows them like CASH or a generous gift card with a hand written thank you note.  People love CASH!!!
  3. Get everyone a gift to take home.  Find something that is meaningful, it can be fun, creative, and unique and an overall great reminder of the night and appreciation.  The event I spoke at today got everyone a travel bag filled with survival items because they survived some big set backs through the year and everyone pulled through.  It was awesome.  One company I spoke for got everyone a big cooler to take home.  The owner of the company got up and said, I am giving you all a cooler because you are all so cool to me.   How fun was that?  They were filled with goodies and gift cards.  It was awesome!   Sometimes groups will buy my art or books to give away and if you have ever seen my art or read my books, they make great gifts.
  4. If you have a guest speaker, have a good one.
    I know I am not the cheapest speaker on the market, but its an investment that is well worth it. You are not buying a speaker, you are investing into your people.  You want the speaker to be fun, entertaining, captivating but also reiterate the purpose of the meeting and why you are all there – recognition.  They speaker should be flexible with time and be able to read the audience.  You don’t want to bore your audience on a night that is mean to be special.  And  you want to be flexible with time.
    You may slot an hour for your speaker, but if the audience is restless, tell the speaker they can wrap it up after 30-40 min.  This is more about quality than quantity.
    ( If you want, call my office and book me, I love doing these kinds of events and from what I am told, I do a very good job.)
  5. When the night is over, the people in leadership should be standing by the door and shaking hands as people leave.

Now, I am sharing the abridged version of what I have seen that works over the past 20 years.  Remember, this is a monumental event to celebrate people who give their best every day, so make it a special day.   When people feel valued and cared for, they become the jewel of every great organization  – loyal, honest, committed, hardworking, enthusiastic and caring.  Is that the kind of person you want working for you? You bet is is, so recognize, reward and reinforce achievements and those who deserve a good pat on the back.

Sam Glenn is an award winning keynote speaker and is often the highest rated speaker at every conference he speaks at.  If you are looking for an uplifting speaker that your audience will absolutely love and gain value from, then contact Sam Glenn’s office directly about booking him.  – Sam@samGlenn.com