Running Successful Award Events

by | Oct 5, 2022 | Business Growth

award events

We recently surveyed Marcomms Professionals to find out more about how they create successful events. We were curious to know the reasons why they put on events, and industry insiders shared five reasons:

  • Award-driven – awards, prize giving & celebrations
  • Education-driven – to bring in outside expertise to provide lasting value or to help new ideas stick
  • Objective-driven – i.e. client retention & requisition
  • Interest-driven – built around the interests and hobbies of the team, but designed to help them understand the business landscape better
  • Relationship-driven – a networking opportunity to meet and mingle with the supply chain with the event/ speaker as a focal point of the meeting

This article explores one of the five reasons given for running events – Award events.

We’re exploring it here with the aim of arming you with new insights that will help you when it comes to creating successful events in the future. You will want to know this information because it will:

1. Help your company improve its ROI on events

2. Help you in your career (because this article shares information few others in the industry have been privy to!).

Types of award Events

Award events are popular. The idea of a red-carpet type of event, where individuals or teams within an organisation, or where organisations within an industry are singled out for their achievements or efforts excites many. It’s also a great PR tool for a company or industry.

Internal award events might highlight “Best sales person”, “Employee of the year”, “Biggest contribution to the company”, or “Innovation”.

External award events include the industry as a whole and the best-known examples of this include Hollywood award events like the “Grammy Awards”.

Creating your award event brief

As we’ve said many times before outlining the purpose of the event is vital. It may not be enough to simply say, “To award great work this year.” Be clear about the purpose of celebrating that work. Be equally clear about who should be nominated for awards and why.

Knowing the purpose of your event helps you distinguish between who needs to be at the event and who doesn’t. Knowing the purpose and the attendees helps you decide on the venue.

Carina Booker from Booker Venue specialises in finding great venues for your events. She says, “A venue for an awards event should ideally have a wow factor as you want people to feel extra People nominated for an award will be excited as well as nervous so the venue should feel inspiring and memorable! It needs to be lovely for those who don’t win so at least they feel as though attending the event was a treat!”

Other considerations include:

  • Who will select nominations?
  • Who will choose the award winners?
  • What will the award actually be?
  • When & where should the award event take place?
  • What information do you need about the winners?

Many award events also raise money for charity. If this is the case, consider the connection between the charity, the award event, and company to ensure there is a tight fit.

Planning the stage

Joe Gilliver from the Chameleon Agency says, “As with any event, the planning of the space and stage for an awards show is a vital part of the event production process”.

A few key things to consider are:

  • Where will your hosts who are handing out awards sit? They need to be close to the stage so that they can easily and quickly get to the stage
  • Where are the steps on the stage? This is important to consider and potentially have numerous sets of steps to allow for ease for winners to approach the stage from any side of the room. Awards ceremonies often move at pace and are tightly scripted, so consideration needs to be given to “winner walk up time” and how long it takes them to get to the stage, get onto the stage, accept the award, and then leave the stage
  • Ensure there is good visibility of screens so that any content is easily seen and also if there is a camera relay of the stage this can be seen. If there are pillars or obstructions to sight lines ensure there are relay screens in the space
  • Award ceremonies are all about celebration so budget-dependent, plan in wow factors to help amplify the sense of celebration. Surprise entertainment, plenty of AV production to provide energy and excitement, enhanced menus, etc.

Choosing the award ceremony host

In terms of what happens on stage the host is the most important person. This person is the glue that will hold the entire event together for you as the event unfolds. We suggest appointing an experienced host such as MC, Roy Sheppard or an experienced presenter like BBC radio presenter Janey Lee Grace. These are presenters who can link sections together, follow your award script and have the experience to ad-lib should delays or in the moment issues occur.

Choosing Speakers

The award event is a celebration and the audience will appreciate some form of light entertainment or education. The speakers chosen should represent the theme of the awards. If the award event is to celebrate outstanding achievement or endeavour, choose a speaker who represents that, such as Caspar Craven. If the event is about innovation, choose a speaker like former Microsoft Chief Envisioning Officer, Dave Coplin.

You can find speakers for your award event here

How speaking talent is sourced

During our research of Marcomms professionals, we asked them how they sourced speaking talent. Their responses included:

  • Their network
  • Agencies
  • Other events
  • Their industry
  • Use talent within the company
  • No go-to plan. Probably start with Google

Speaker budgets

Speaker budgets are typically from £1k, and extended to £15k

Budgets currently quoted by marcomms professionals for their events are as follows:

  • £1,000 – £4,000 – 50%\
  • £5,000 – £10,000 – 38%
  • £10,000 + – 12%

Finding your MC and speakers

We believe all keynote speakers should be Stellar Speakers – able to entertain, connect with an audience and make a positive impact. As a unique speaker agency representing change-making keynote speakers, we provide expertise to help you manage your budgetary expectations and provide realistic options. We provide a preferred partner’s service base, so that partner clients get everything they need, lowering your risk as a booker of speakers, so you can make your choice about your next speaker with confidence.
Click here for more information


If your next conference is around the corner it’s time to book a consultation with Stellar Speakers.

Let us help you find the right keynote speaker to deliver timely messages, fresh themes and introduce the latest methodology and thinking.

Because our speakers are thought-leaders, industry expert and change-agents we help bring out the best in your organisation. Our passion is developing your people.

Book a Complementary
Consultation Now