The main event of the evening was the sofi awards presentation (which stands for "specialty outstanding food innovation"), given in 32 categories. All the finalists were in attendance, and no one knew the winners until they were announced. Very Oscar-like, without the evening gowns!
With 32 categories (and some ties), plus the five Outstanding Retailers, you can imagine there were a lot of acceptance speeches. Some were emotional (when the son of a very stoic-looking winner told us, "You can't see it, but my father is crying...") and some were funny (when the representatives of a company with a tongue-in-cheek name ended their speech with "We Rub You...").
But my favorite of all the speeches was given by Ian Johnson, one of the owners of Los Chileros, a company that makes southwestern products.
Honestly, I don't remember exactly how he started his speech, but I remember the ending: He made a pitch to the winners of the Outstanding Retailer award to carry his product, and announced his booth number with an invitation to stop by.
It was brilliant: funny, authentic and memorable, and completely off the cuff, as were many of the speeches. What a clever way to use their brief time onstage!
I don't recommend giving unrehearsed speeches, but sometimes you're hit with inspiration on stage, and I would never tell you to ignore your inspiration or intuition when it comes to you in a moment of brilliance. These are some of the most enjoyable moments for both speaker and audience!
Have you had an inspired off-the-cuff moment? Share in the comments!