Everybody likes the thought of winning business awards, it’s just that writing award submissions can be such a pain. Why is that? Surely talking about one’s achievements can’t be that hard? Well, over the snags at a weekend BBQ, it’s not. But officially putting it out there for judgement by colleagues and industry peers can be a different thing altogether. Make it easier on yourself by considering the following.
Not every business award is going to be the right one for you to showcase your talents. Take the time to choose wisely or you’ll find trying to manipulate your story to fit can be enormously frustrating and dispiriting. There could well be several categories that might suit your achievements. Consider the criteria for each carefully and choose the one or more that will best allow you to demonstrate why you should win. Remember though, it’s better to enter one category really well than three categories ho-hum.
The devil is in the detail
Ignoring the small print can have big consequences. Thoroughly read through every bit of the award entry kit to ensure you know exactly what is required. Some awards have limits on what category you can enter depending on the size of your business; others require you to have a certain level of turnover. Awards for achievements may be limited to specific timeframes or involve membership of an organisation to qualify.
Possibly the most frustrating aspect for anyone to deal with are those pesky word counts. Yes, it can be difficult to cram what you want to say into 400 words, but a word count limit does have the effect of making you focus your response, which is no bad thing. If you think word counts are indicative only, think again. Anything over the limit will be disregarded for that section or, worse still, invalidate your whole award entry. Be ruthless in weeding out unnecessary words. For example, ‘in order to be able to’ is the same as saying ‘to’. See? Five words saved right there.
Admitting to challenges along the way to your achievement isn’t a sign of weakness, it actually makes for a far more convincing narrative. Judges look for a good story and if successfully overcoming problems is part of that story, then more power to you. It’s how you dealt with the challenges and setbacks that could really make your entry the winner. Blitzing the field or surging to great heights without any kind of hurdle in the way sounds unrealistic, and probably is.
Do yourself a favour
For most people, writing an award entry is not their paid profession. They’re probably far more at home designing a washing machine that can actually detect tissues before a wash than putting pen to paper. So, do yourself a favour and consider drafting in a professional award writer to give your entry the edge. You provide all the background detail and it’s their job to put it all together in ways that nail all the criteria and make it a really compelling read. Best of all, you get to talk freely about what you’ve done and why it’s such an amazing achievement. Bit like being at a weekend BBQ, really.