When you’re writing an award entry for a set of business or professional awards, there will be plenty of guidance on the specific criteria and information that you’ll be asked to provide. However, it pays to think about how you can add weight to your entry and what extra information you can provide to really stand out to the judging panel.
As experienced award writers, we’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes to really impress the judges – and how to use data and emotion to help sway the results in your favour. Here are the three essential things you should never leave out of your award entry…
Always, always include testimonials from your clients, even if the submission guidelines don’t ask for them. While it’s one thing to make claims about your great service standards, project outcomes or whatever’s relevant to the category (or categories) you’re entering, it’s quite another to have objective and independent endorsements.
Providing genuine testimonials from clients or customers who really value what you do is a great way to add weight to your entry, confirming and validating all the great things you’ve already said about your business.
Data to back up your claims
Don’t just talk about your achievements – provide clear, hard data to back them up and put things into context. It might be tempting to just put in a few impressive numbers, but this will only say so much. Dig below the surface metrics to find data and a supporting story that will have real impact.
One client we worked with delivered management training for a large public sector body, aimed at improving the organisation’s performance by addressing the performance of individuals. This means managers needed to be confident having difficult conversations.
To show the success of the programme we could have used the stats from participants – 95% found the two-day course useful and 99% pledged to do something differently back at work – or from managers, where 78% had noticed a difference in the performance of their direct reports.
But we looked further, identifying numbers that would demonstrate the business impact of the programme. If success was managers being more confident to have difficult performance conversations with their teams, we would expect:
- That the disciplinary procedures would be used more often, because poor performance was being challenged rather than ignored
- A reduction in grievances because staff were happy that managers were applying policies and procedures fairly
- Less people leaving the organisation, because they felt better supported
Our client saved their client £0.5m in recruitment costs through improved employee retention rates and, were able to show that performance issues were more effectively dealt with through a doubling of the average monthly number of disciplinaries opened – while the number of grievances halved in the same time-frame.
The human brain is predisposed to connect more easily with emotion than logic, so think about how you ‘sell’ your successes to the panel.
Find an emotive angle for your key messages, rather than just delivering cold, hard facts. For example, a member of staff changing a lightbulb in a hospital isn’t just a case of fixing something that isn’t working… the real story here, and the emotional one, is that their actions have directly enabled life-saving surgery to take place. It’s easy to see which angle is more memorable.
Making your award entry shine
By ensuring you include these three essential things in your award entry, you’ll stand a much stronger chance of making your submission shine – but if you need some help to identify the approach that will have the biggest impact, please call us on 0208 720 7307.