Tips for Thanking a Guest Speaker
Tips for Thanking a Guest Speaker
The most common mistake made by people assigned to thank a speaker is to repeat portions of the talk. That’s totally unnecessary, is boring at best, and empties the hall at worst.
If you’re going to be thanking the speaker you should make a point of introducing yourself to the speaker before the event begins and ensure you have the proper pronunciation of their name. Tell the speaker you’ll be thanking him or her and chat for a moment or two, all the while listening for any points that you might be able to use in your thank-you speech. Perhaps the speaker had to cut short a trip to keep the engagement. Maybe the speaker came a very great distance to give the talk. Usually there isn’t, but if there happens to be anything worthy of note, be sure to mention it. But stay away from clichés such as “taking time out from your busy schedule” or “honouring us with your presence”.
You’ll need to listen intently to the speech and make notes that will help you choose an appropriate adjective or two with which to describe it. You should also note any surprises the speech held, such as an unexpected revelation or a particularly valuable piece of advice.
You can never go wrong by opening your-thank you speech with the simple words “Thank you very much Ms. Speaker for a (insert an appropriate adjective) presentation.” Then mention one or two (but no more) worthy points from the speech, such as the surprising revelation or the valuable advice referred to earlier. If you did pick up any tidbit worthy of mention about any particular sacrifice or special effort the speaker had to make to be there, be sure to mention it.
If you’re presenting a gift, call the speaker back to the lectern and present the gift with an appropriate short statement. If the speaker wishes to say a few words of thanks, that’s fine. But never pressure a speaker to do so. If you’re also the master of ceremonies you should then get on with the program; or if it’s finished, state that fact, make any closing announcements, thank the people for coming and move away from the lectern. If you’re not the master of ceremonies, just go and sit down.
Here’s an example of an appropriate and effective thank-you speech:  
Thank you Ms. McPherson for an enlightening and entertaining presentation on the right way to apply for a bank loan; we appreciate having this mysterious area clarified. Your advice to always present an annual budget document to the loan officer showing how we intend to use the loan proceeds and how we’ll be able to service the loan is especially useful. The audience may not know this, Ms. McPherson, but we owe you a special vote of thanks for being here because I happened to find out that you delayed your annual golf trip a couple of days so that you could make it. We really appreciate that. I have a small token of our appreciation here for you, Ms. McPherson. Please accept it with our sincere thanks.”
Remember, when introducing or thanking a speaker, you are not the star.
Source: Lyman MacInnis,
Rev. Jun’2017