When the award ceremony becomes boring, the real winner is the venue’s bar!

Psychology of an Awards Ceremony

Businesses and individual professionals love getting awards. The PR you can generate is fantastic for both parties. Imagine the LinkedIn posts alone. Actually, you don’t need to, they clutter your feed anyway, especially when the ceremony is a genuine one. Not the kind you have to pay to enter, and pay more to attend. They create a feel-good factor because of the nomination, the fact someone has chosen to recognise the achievement and nominate if the first place.

Your manager or MD books a table at the ceremony and everyone invited looks forward to the two-course meal, and hopes the boss is footing the bill for the bar tab. Meal out of the way, and depending on how much vino you have consumed, you patiently wait for your award category to come up. Is the speech prepared? Have I drunk too much? I hope I don’t embarrass my boss.

If you win, quick speech and photo, think about the content of your LinkedIn posts you’ll be able to trade off for a while. If you lose, try to look gracious and get back to the bar. When people lose interest at award ceremonies they ignore the stage content, get louder talking between themselves. After all, they are only really interested in themselves or the company they work for winning. This in turn annoys the neighbouring tables, and World War III ensues.

So, what are your objectives when planning a business awards ceremony?

This is where a lot of organisers fall at the first hurdle. You have to make sure you are asking the right questions. The first one should be;

What’s in it for the attendees, regardless of whether they win or not?


  • How can we create a positive experience that will make the ceremony a success.
  • What does that success look like
  • How do we manifest that success into the award ceremony production
  • How can we make this ceremony a success in financial terms based on the above objectives

So let’s start with the main objective – What’s in it for the attendees, regardless of whether they win or not?

Generally, two thirds of the nominees attending won’t win. So why do organisers just focus on the winners? When you tackle the question of how to keep the audience attentive and entertained. You create a successful ceremony.

What does success look like?

The simple answer is everyone has a good time regardless of winning, but there’s more to it. You have to look at the physiology of the people attending and create a S.W.A.T. analysis of the award ceremony. We have all been to lots of ceremonies, so let’s think about the things we liked and didn’t enjoy. Base this on the perspective of the two types of people who are coming, nominees and supporters.

We all have our own personal experiences and thoughts. But when you look at this from our perspective – being sober while producing them – you quickly get to see where the cracks are by how the audience is behaving.

How do we manifest that success into the award ceremony production?

Once you have done your analysis, and this isn’t a spoiler alert. The success mainly comes down to how bored the audience has become vs how much they have drunk up to the award giving part. What steps can you put into place to reduce that boredom element? Based on over 20-years of experience here are a few suggestions.

Soapy Productions top tips for award ceremony production.

  1. Have an entertaining presenter who can entertain and move the ceremony along efficiently.
  2. Keep the award categories to no more than 10 throughout the evening.
  3. Split the awards up between food courses rather than in bulk after the meal.
  4. Have lots of video content people can watch. Keep the VT’s to 2 minutes tops.
  5. Only have videos about the winners, not all nominees.
  6. If having an auction or raffle keep it short with bigger prizes
  7. Have a musical entertainment to finish, band or singer. Worst case, a DJ.
  8. A complete production package with sound, lights and video. Not a slightly upgraded conference package.
  9. Think out of the box, a 360 video booth instead of the more formal pictures.

There is lots of reasoning behind our top tips which I’m happy to discuss further if you get in touch. But for the sake of this blog becoming too long we will leave it there.

How can we make this ceremony a success in financial terms?

This is the difference between charging say £45 a head to £95 a head for a regional ceremony, perceivable value. If you have created a successful evening where they enjoyed themselves. The attendees won’t make the cost an issue. If they haven’t been bored from the experience. More importantly there is scope for a quicker re-booking of attendees and sponsors too. Perhaps moving to a bigger venue. More attendees, bigger production, more profit.


We have turned down at least 3 opportunities to quote on award ceremonies in the last year because we didn’t believe the organisers are looking at the objectives correctly. Soapy Productions needs as fighting chance of helping you make the award ceremony a success. Get us involved early. We really want organisers to be in touch with us in the planning stage, not just at the point where everything is in place and you’re just needing 3 quotes to compere.

The 20 plus year’s experience we have is based on just that, experience. We can see the production from every aspect, how it looks, sounds and entertains the audience. And that audience is becoming harder and harder to keep attentive.

The last thing you want is someone trying to film a TIK TOK video during an acceptance speech.

Give me a call on 01904 405630 or email help@soapyproductions.co.uk. Or for more info, click here.
Simon Hudson