What We Can Learn From the Emmy Acceptance Speeches and Apply To Business Presentations

Jordan Turner
January 17, 2024
 min read
What We Can Learn From the Emmy Acceptance Speeches and Apply To Business PresentationsWhat We Can Learn From the Emmy Acceptance Speeches and Apply To Business Presentations
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Celebrities gathered for the 75th annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California on Monday night, celebrating the best of television. The Emmys— which was set to take place in September 2023 but was delayed due to strikes in Hollywood— acknowledged TV shows and specials that aired from June 1, 2022 to May 31, 2023. Of the incredible talent and nominees, some noteworthy award recipients were “The Bear”, “Beef”, and “Succession”, all of which left with multiple wins under their belts. 

We know what you’re thinking: what do the Emmy Awards have to do with presentations? Believe it or not, award-winning celebrities are just like us, and some have had to conquer their fears of public speaking in order to walk on stage and give acceptance speeches. 

In the spirit of nailing presentations, we watched the 75th annual Emmy Awards with one goal. What can we learn from Emmy acceptance speeches and apply to our own business presentations to be more successful? 

Keep it short and sweet

If you watched the Emmys, you may have noticed host Anthony Anderson’s mother. She was in the audience holding up a sign warning award-winners that their speeches had exceeded time. While this was meant to be a comedy bit, it encouraged celebrities to keep their speeches short and to the point, and prompted them to wrap things up when they had rambled on for too long. Why? Attention spans aren’t limited to any one topic, and in any speech the audience will eventually lose interest. Celebrities are no exception to the rule. 

When preparing a business presentation, the audience and how to keep them engaged should be top of mind. This forces presenters to be intentional with their story and only include the most valuable information on their slides. When in doubt, the 10/20/30 rule of presentations is a good guideline to follow.  

Make it personal

Nearly every acceptance speech has the same undertone— gratitude and thanks. So what makes each speech unique in its own right? Personality. Award-winners will often share a personal story— a challenge or accomplishment— that helped land them on the stage at the Emmys. It works so well because it makes celebrities more relatable to viewers at home on their couch. 

The same logic applies to business presentations. In order to really connect with your audience— whether that be a prospect, partner, or consumer— you have to be relatable. How does your idea or offering speak to specific audiences’ pain points? You can share stories of personal experiences, or overcoming certain obstacles, to help drive your story home. 

Add humor

The one thing you can count on a comedian adding to their acceptance speech is humor. And while it probably comes naturally to them, there’s no doubt of the effectiveness when trying to engage the audience. Humor can help lighten the mood of an otherwise heavy or serious business topic. And a good laugh can help reel an audience back in with a fresh mind. You might include a joke or funny story where appropriate in a sales or business presentation to keep your audience interested and engaged.  

Present with confidence 

There’s no denying that celebrities have a certain confidence in their stage presence (whether they’re faking it or not), and it makes their acceptance speeches that much more captivating. By exuding confidence, your audience is more likely to buy what you’re selling (or in this case, saying).

Presenters need to feel good about their story, and deck design, in order to feel confident in their speech. Presentation softwares, like, give non-designers the tools they need to create stunning presentations without years of design experience. By simply having a more professional deck, presenters can go into a meeting with their best foot forward to nail their pitch. 

Give credit where credit is due

How many times do you hear “I’d like to thank…”, during any given award show? The Emmy Awards are no different. Every single recipient has someone to thank for their success whether it’s a spouse, colleague, mentor, or in Niecy Nash-Betts’ case at the 75th Emmys, themselves. The bottom line is that teamwork makes the dream work, and that’s especially true in business. When you’re giving a presentation don’t forget to give credit where credit is due to partners, employees, or sponsors. This could be a slide dedicated to the team, or a quick and simple kudos during the presentation. 

Jordan Turner

Jordan Turner

Jordan is a Bay Area writer, social media manager, and content strategist.