Elizabethkuhnke's Blog

How to Win and Lose Gracefully

Posted on: February 24, 2011

It’s that time of year:  Awards Season. While the BAFTAS, Oscars, Grammys and Emmys may lead in the glamour stakes, most industries hoststheir own award ceremonies, in which the achievements of its outstanding performers are acknowledged.  Regardless of what business you’re in, there will be winners and losers when the prizes are handed out.  Whether you take home the bacon, or leave empty handed, how you manage the process reflects on your ability to win and lose with grace and dignity.

Whilst competition in life is healthy and beneficial, one of the hardest lessons is how to conduct yourself when you achieve success and suffer failure.  When all eyes are on you, how you manage your feelings and express them in your words, gestures, and expressions determines how people judge you.  Win or lose, by acting with good will, grace and enthusiasm, you’ll be demonstrating the characteristics of a champion.

  • Winners should behave with grace and dignity.  A warm smile, an appreciative look at your partner/date/audience, with your arms loosely placed confidently by your  sides is the perfect body language to avoid appearing arrogant.
  • Losers should also behave with grace and dignity.  Take the high road and save your tears, pouts and screams of frustration for behind closed doors. A warm smile and eye contact are good places to start for containing frustration whilst appearing happy for the winner.  If you didn’t pick up a gong speak graciously to the one who did. Lean forward in the winners’ direction to show affinity and alignment with them and smile.  Behave like a winner and you’ll look like one.
  • Winners should feel free to look happy.  Is there such thing as being over the top?  There are those who say that when Gwyneth Paltrow cried at her acceptance speech that she was a bit de trop.  And when Sally Fields cried out, “You like me.  You really like me!” some people were embarrassed for her thinking she had gone a step too far.  I thought she was expressing he joy and surprise with grace and good will.
  • Losers must appear calm and happy for the other winner. A lack of positive emotion will make you look like a sour puss.  And negative emotion will make you look like a poor sport.
  • When making a speech, keep your voice upbeat, put the smile in your tones, and make your words short, snappy and sincere.  Droning on for any more than 25 seconds is taking your audience into boredom land.
  • The most successful way to remain graceful when winning? Smile and say nice things about the people who helped you get where you are.  Without them you wouldn’t be there.
  • The most successful way to remain graceful when losing?  Smile and say nice things about the winner.  Also, commend the people you worked with.  You never know when you’ll work together again.  Treat everyone with respect.
  • When coming face to face with losers, winners should reach out and tell them what you thought was good about their performance.  Let them know what you respect about their work.  Speak with sincerity.
  • When coming face to face with winners, losers should compliment them on their performance and congratulate them on their win.
  • Whether winning or losing, act with good will. How you respond will be remembered long after the red carpet is stored away for another year.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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1 Response to "How to Win and Lose Gracefully"

I especially appreciate it when any young new talent wins for the first time, and rather than being cocky, they choose to show respect for the more seasoned talents that paved the way for so many.

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