Everyone loves a good award show. You only have to look at the entertainment industry to see how popular they are. So let’s have a look at how to organise an awards ceremony of your own.
Read this article to find out…
- Why you should host an awards show
- How to plan an awards banquet
- A useful checklist you can use
Why organise an awards ceremony?
The main reason to organise an awards show is to show appreciation for the achievement of specific individuals. Award shows can also be used as a great PR tool.
There are two kinds of awards ceremonies: internal and external.
Internal awards ceremonies are typically held for company employees and have titles such as “Employee of the Year Awards” or “Best Salesperson of XYZ Company Awards.”
External awards ceremonies often focus on an entire industry and have titles such as “The Grammy Awards” and “The Golden Globe Awards.”
Let’s have a look at what’s involved in organising a killer awards show, whether it’s for your company employees, charity donors, or your industry as a whole.
1. Write a brief
The brief for your awards show should outline the purpose of the event. It could be to raise funds for a good cause or simply to show appreciation for your colleagues.
Ask yourself the following questions when writing your brief:
- Who should be nominated for an award?
- Why do they deserve the nomination?
- What information do you need on them?
- Who should choose the winners?
- What should the awards look like?
- When should the ceremony take place?
2. Pick a theme
The ceremony will be more interesting if you give it an overarching theme. Make sure you choose something inspiring and memorable that will keep people talking afterwards.
Tip: Read our guide on how to choose a theme for your event to help you out.
3. Set the budget
Tip: Use our guide on how to manage your event budget to stay on track.
4. Choose a venue
Once you have an idea of the event budget, it’s time to look at a suitable venue. Award ceremonies tend to be glamorous, so the venue needs to reflect that fact.
Tip: Read our guide on how to choose the right venue to go with the theme.
5. Plan the stage design
Think about how you want the stage to look and whether it’ll fit inside the venue. Picture where the host and podium will be and where the awards will be presented. Leave room for branding.
Tip: Pinterest has images of award ceremony stage designs you can use for inspiration.
6. Create a floor plan
People will need a place to sit down while the ceremony is going on. Position the nominees so it’s easy for them to get up and accept their award. Place the winners close to the stage.
Tip: You can use a tool like PerfectTablePlan to create a floor plan for your ceremony.
7. Plan sound and video
The tech needs to be on point, so think about microphones, PA systems, WiFi connections, and projectors ahead of time. You should also determine the best positions for any cameras.
Tip: Take a look at our guide about event equipment on tips about where to find what you need.
8. Pick the award songs
It’s a nice touch to have an upbeat and inspiring song playing when a winner accepts their award. You can also use songs to introduce speakers before the awards are given out.
Tip: Here is a YouTube playlist of the most popular songs for award shows.
9. Appoint a ceremony host
The host is the glue that keeps all the speakers and announcements together on the day of the award ceremony. If you can’t host it yourself, then appoint a competent and experienced host.
Tip: There is also the option to hire a professional award show host to do the job.
10. Recruit the speakers
It can be a good idea to introduce each award with a different speaker who is an expert in the field. Help whoever you recruit with script cards and Autocue to ensure it runs smoothly.
Tip: Use these tips for how to recruit the right speakers for your awards ceremony.
11. Pick the judges
The awards should mean something, which is why judge selection is so important. They need to be experts who are qualified to choose the winner that’s most deserving of the award.
Tip: Check out OpenWater’s free guide on how to select judges for your ceremony.
12. Find relevant vendors
Find out exactly what you need in terms of technical equipment, catering, furniture, staging, and decor. Then source the best suppliers of those items in advance to negotiate a good deal.
Tip: Read our guide on how to negotiate with vendors so you stay within budget.
13. Hire entertainment
Not everyone will win an award, so make sure there’s added value for the remaining guests. Book some entertainment for the awards ceremony and make the event memorable.
Tip: Find a booking agency that has live bands, comedians, or other entertainment.
14. Create a programme
Write up a detailed awards ceremony itinerary and brief your team on the sequence of events. Remember to leave small buffers in between segments to account for delays.
Tip: Use one of these award ceremony agenda templates to speed up the process.
15. Rehearse the ceremony
Practice makes perfect, so take the time to rehearse the show with your team. That way, you can identify any potential risks that you didn’t think about during the planning process.
Tip: We’ve written a guide to doing event dry runs that can help you with this.
16. Promote the awards ceremony
Whether it’s a small internal awards ceremony or a large-scale industry award show, you should promote it properly ahead of time. That’s even more crucial if you want to sell tickets for it.
Tip: Read our guide on how to promote your event to maximise your reach.
17. Use a checklist
Phew, that was a lot to think about. If you’re feeling dizzy or overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to use an awards ceremony planning checklist to keep track of everything.
And the winner is…
Now that you know all the things to keep tabs on for your award ceremony, all that’s left is to kick everything into gear.
So what are you waiting for?