Recognizing an employee, student or athlete is not complicated, but there are some basic principles that should be followed to achieve the maximum impact. There is no doubt that people like money – raises, bonuses and the like, but the most memorable recognition has always been a tangible award or trophy. Most people remember awards and trophies that were given years after the fact, and many save them for decades. Ask a fifty-year old man about his first award, perhaps a small plaque or an award medal given for his participation in a little league baseball game – not only will he likely remember it, but he quite possibly still has it on a shelf or in a box, tucked away in a safe place for later viewing. These mementos serve to bring back memories and provide conversation pieces for a lifetime.
While there is no “rule book” for how do present an award, there are some proven techniques that should be considered:
Whenever possible, present an award in front of the recipients peers. In the case of an employee, this could be done with a simple department meeting or a more formal recognition event. In the case of a volunteer, it might take place during a scheduled meeting or event. With a student, it could be in the classroom or in the auditorium. The point is, putting the recipient in the spotlight makes it more memorable.
Secondly, whoever presents the award should not only hand it to the recipient with a “congratulations”, but also should tell a story to drive home the accomplishment, however small or large. A story told by a coach about the most-improved player or best fielder goes a long way towards making the receiver of the trophy feel even better about themselves.
Thirdly, do not forget to add a date to the award. While it may seem meaningless at the time of the presentation, it helps serve as another reminder of related events down the road.
Lastly, taking a picture of the person receiving the award not only adds a special touch, it provides an opportunity to share the accomplishment with others, through a newsletter, newspaper or email. It also allows the recipient to relive the moment at a future date.