“I’d like to thank...”

End-of-season awards: where feuds ignite and friendships crumble. Experts reveal how to accept a gong with grace

WHAT TO WEAR

Mothball the cream Armani suit – keep it simple and classy, and whatever you do, don’t forget a tie. “A suit is essential and you can never go wrong with grey,” says body language expert Mike Carter. “And wear a tie. People will criticise you if you don’t.”

THE RIGHT BODY LANGUAGE

“When accepting an award, the key is to appear confident without being arrogant,” says Paul McGee, performance coach at Manchester City. “Make sure you smile, look at the person presenting the award and wait for them to initiate shaking hands. By doing so, you’re allowing them to take control of the social dynamics while you graciously accept their congratulations.”

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HUMBLE WORDS

Former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez once spoke for eight hours. That’s one-third of a mayfly’s life. Chavez himself died shortly after. Moral to the story? “Make your acceptance speech short and to the point,” says McGee. “Also, don’t over-rehearse what you have to say. Be genuine and speak from the heart. And if you can use humour – particularly if it’s against yourself – then do so.”

LEGENDARY ADVICE

Michael Owen’s trophy cabinet shines brighter than Alan Shearer’s forehead, packed as it is with Ballon d’Or, BBC Sports Personality and Premier League player awards. In short, he knows how to handle the limelight. “If you’ve got to say something without being prompted, visualise a question being asked in your own mind and answer that one,” says Owen. “That’s how I’ve got through in the past.”

MINGLING WITH YOUR BRETHREN

The PR job is complete. No longer are all eyes gazing on you. You’re back in your seat. You can now proclaim how this award’s all about you and, if you’d had the chance as a youngster, you’d be heading to Rio with Roy. Perhaps not, says Owen. “Football’s a team game so it’s important to show humility and pay tribute to your team-mates. Tell them you couldn’t have done it without them. The human touch always goes down well.”

Michael Owen was speaking at the launch of Sportlobster’s iPhone and Android app. Join sport stars like Cristiano Ronaldo on the social network

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