TOP TIPS FOR ENTERING AWARDS
A B C’s of a Winning Entry
Fact: Winning awards makes people happier (based on late night research at the V&A 14th July 2016). Read on to find out how to make it happen for your team…
A B C’s of a Winning Entry
- Answer the question
You know your event inside out, the judges do not. You may think your answer is obvious, but sometimes it’s hard to make the linkages for someone who isn’t as close to it. Use key words from the question in your answer to guide the reader. For example, if the question asks what the brief is, begin your answer with ‘The brief was.’ It will help you ensure you’re answering the question and help our judges.
Answer every question. You would be amazed how many entries seem to selectively choose what questions to answer. Don’t think that avoiding the question about results will make our judges forget they asked.
- Bring it to life
The people reading your entry haven’t attended your event so do your best to capture the whole atmosphere. It may help to think about all five senses when you describe it. Was there music that helped create a mood? Were there advertising images on the walls to share key brand messages? Did the aroma of coffee come from a pop-up café? Tell us about the firsts or unique approach that made it better than anything you’ve seen before.
- Challenges make it real
No one expects that everything will have gone completely to plan. You can’t appear to be a superhero if you don’t share the difficult obstacles you’ve had to overcome. Ridiculously low budget? Tell us how hard it was to pull off a fabulous event on a shoestring. Stakeholders who kept changing their mind? How did you move it forward?
- Demonstrate with pictures or videos
A picture is worth a thousand words. Word count is limited so think about how you can use pictures or video to support your entry. These aren’t photography awards so don’t worry about the quality of your images. A snapshot of your menu, technology in action or great branding can really help to bring your event to life. If you’ve got a camera on your phone you’ve got the tools you need to change your entry from black and white words on a page to colourful images of live action.
- Enthusiasm is contagious
Be passionate and share your emotion. Talk like you’re telling a story to a friend – judges are people too and they will respond to your enthusiasm. Think about how things made you feel and try to communicate that in your entry. You’re obviously entering this because you think it was a great event so help us understand why you’re so proud.
- First impressions count
Don’t wait until the final paragraph to say what makes your event stand out. Get it right into the opening. With a pile of entries to read you want to grab the judges’ attention early so they stop and take notice. Think about it like speed dating – get your best lines in during the first few seconds.
- Give results
You’re among friends here. We all know how hard it can be to prove the value of events. We also know there may be information your company doesn’t want you to share. So get creative about how you provide results. Quotes from satisfied customers or colleagues. Survey feedback can be a great source of evidence. If you got a great piece of business on the back of it you don’t have to tell us what it was, but tell us that you got some and why winning that business made the event worthwhile. Even if it’s just doing it for lower budget, that’s still a result worth sharing.
- Have a story to tell
Great stories have a beginning, middle and end. Our questions lend themselves to this format by starting with the brief, moving on to the event itself and concluding with the results. Guide our judges through the ups and downs of planning and running your event so they get a feel for what you went through. Share your pain and your pride so they can really appreciate what you’ve achieved!
- If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again
Everyone’s a winner for trying, that’s why we think all our entrants deserve to come to our awards dinner. However, sadly, not everyone can win the top award each time. Don’t let that put you off trying again. Read our case studies in ICE Online to learn what stood out about the winners. Or come to one of our workshops. Improve your odds by entering more than one event or more than one category.
- Judges hate jargon
Tell us in plain English. There are no extra points for fancy vocabulary. The same corporate jargon can start to blur together on the page so stand out with simplicity. And yes, every company has acronyms, but remember that our judges won’t know what they mean.
- Keep to word count
Judges don’t have time to read endless stories. Put yourself in their shoes and keep it short and simple. Guidance is that paragraphs shouldn’t be more than about 80 words and sentences of 25 words or less keep it sharp. Bullet points can make key facts stand out and take fewer words.
- Let someone else proofread
Ask friends, family or colleagues for a second opinion. Not just for spelling errors, but to see if the event can be understood by someone who wasn’t there. Sometimes you are so close to things that you may forget to share important details that are obvious to you, but may be missing to an outsider (like our judges).
- May we wish you all the very best of luck with your entries!