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5 Top tips for writing business award entries

You have to be in it to win it, as they say.

Generally, there are two types of business awards.  Either you’re a nominee and win by popular vote or you need to submit a written entry.

If you’ve ever entered a business award, you’ll know from experience that writing a winning award entry isn’t as easy as seems and it’s pretty time consuming too. That’s why I recommend you start early and gather your evidence.

Many business make business awards a key component of their marketing strategy but still agree; it’s an all-consuming task and one that’s often left to the last minute or passed to the member of staff who is least busy at the time.

As well as great evidence, you need to be able to tell your story in a way that inspires and excites. The key is to write an attention-grabbing entry which gets your story across, brought to life with relevant and current evidence.  Read the entry criteria carefully and make sure your submission ticks all the boxes, including the word count.


5 Top tips for writing business award entries

Read the entry criteria carefully.  No two awards or categories are the same. Just because you entered your business for one award doesn’t mean the requirements will be the same for the others. Polish up any of your previous entries and bring them up to date with new achievements andevidence.

Find out who the judges are and what they are looking for? Think about how your achievement, project or campaign will appeal to the judges. What are they interested in?

Have you got any evidence?  It’s all very well saying what you’ve achieved but have you got the evidence to support your statements?  If not, how will you get it?

Key points: What are the key points you want the judges to know.  Keep this in mind as you write your submission. Remember, they know nothing about your business so you need to put things into context

Keep to the word count Think about using pictures instead.

When you’ve submitted your entry and if it’s successful, or gets through the first round, you may be asked to do a presentation to the judges and answer questions so allow enough time to prepare and practice.

If you need help with your award entry, whether it’s to facilitate evidence or write the submission. Call me today to find out more about our award-winning writing and presentation design service. 

Why have we stopped talking to people?

Why don’t we talk anymore?

Most of us have mobile phones so why don’t we use them to talk to people? Has mobile phone technology caused us to take a step backwards?

What’s the best way for me to contact you?

When I begin to work with someone new, I ask how they’d like to communicate and the best way to get in touch. Most say email works best and a text if something is urgent. Very few say phone me.

That is why I am baffled? Most of us have a mobile phone but don’t use them to talk?

Going back a bit, when Bell patented the telephone in 1876, the fastest way to get a message someone was by telegraph or telegram.

Imagine being around 140 years ago. Wouldn’t it have been so exciting to speak to another person when before you’d only be able to write a letter?

The first mobile phone call

When Martin Cooper (Motorola) made the first cell phone call in 1973, his only reason for doing so was to upset AT&T who were about to unveil their prototype cell phone at a press conference. Cooper later admits in a 2015 interview: “The issue at the time wasn’t about creating a revolution, although that was what happened. It was about stopping At&T.”

This historic moment completely changed the telecommunications industry as they envisaged a complete culture change in the way people talk to each other.

And change did happen. Now we now speak less.


Losing my voice

Two things happened this month which led me to think about this. First, I was struck down with laryngitis and lost my voice. I could not speak or even whisper, so writing became my only option. Second, I work with someone who likes to use WhatsApp which got me trying to work out how many mobile phone apps we use to do the same thing – text and in which case, why do we still call them mobile phones when we do not use them to make calls.

My customers all have their preferred ways to get in touch: It could be email, text, what’s app Messenger, or other collaboration apps like DropBox, SharePoint, OneDrive. I am happy with whichever way they choose, as long as it is easy for them to work with me and everything feels seamless for them.

The art of conversation

Here’s the thing. Because we now write or text everything, have we lost the art of talking and conversation. Although based on some SMS texts and posts I have seen, some would benefit from learning the art of writing, but that is probably another blog post.

Going back to laryngitis, when the doctor explained recovery would be like repairing a muscle, and it could take 6-8 weeks for my voice to return, I was quite shocked. Then I thought, if our voices are muscles, what happens if we do not use them?

How did we get to this point because I am not sure when we stopped talking on the phone and if we ever even noticed it happening? Perhaps email is to blame, or open plan offices where people may prefer to send an email to avoid of being overheard on the phone.

As someone who works alone most of the time, the opportunity to talk is a lovely part of my day.

A generation of phonophobes

Are we becoming phonophobic? How will we bring back the art of conversation? Does it matter, or am I missing the point? Has the fact we can now text, write and share images revolutionised our communication in such a way we will not need our voices?

Now you’ve got me thinking about the lost art of handwriting so watch this space.

Go ahead, make my day. Ask me to create your next presentation

Clients often tell me the thought of putting together a presentation fills them with dread. Even when they block out a chunk of time to get it done, procrastination sets in, focus goes out the window, pressure builds up, and they find themselves racing against the clock to get it ready on time.

When a client asks for help with a presentation, I jump for joy. My background in corporate communications means compiling presentations is a particular strength and I just love to get stuck into PowerPoint or Prezi; it’s always of my favourite jobs.

I know how to structure a presentation so it flows beautifully, engages the audience and supports the presenter to get a point across. I’ve got strong visualisation, grasp concepts quickly and usually, as soon a I get the brief, I can picture how I will bring it all together and how it will look.

No time to lose

Recently, a client asked for my help to interpret research findings into a customer presentation.  Pushed for time and having travelled all week, she simply didn’t have the time to get it prepared. Because we’d worked together many times , she felt confident to hand over the project and let me work my presentation magic.

“I wondered if you might have time to spend 2-3 hours working up a presentation for me today and Monday? It’s a word document of recommendations following some fact finding for a client, and I want to put it into a nice visual format for a presentation to them on Tuesday mid-afternoon…”

Who, why and when?

I may not have prior knowledge of your sector or industry but I’ll always research the topic area. What I first need to know who the presentation is for, the outcome you want and when you need it by.

Then, I ask about the format. For example, will you show the presentation on a wide-screen 16:9? How large is the screen? The size of the room, auditorium, audience and if the presentation is to be printed?

Unless there’s a preferred template, my clients tend to leave the design up to me; trusting my judgement that comes with many years’ experience creating presentations. I definitely prefer to design something unique for my clients rather than the built-in Microsoft templates.

Let’s get this presentation started

With the document printed, cup of tea poured and highlighter pen at the ready, I read everything thoroughly from start to finish to understand the concept and can draw out the relevant points.

I believe slides are there to support the presenter, not the other way around. I prefer not to clutter slides with too much meaningless text or pointless visuals. The images you use must emphasise the point being made, should not detract from the speaker and convey the appropriate sentiment.  Nothing’s worse than a cartoon when you’re talking about a serious or emotive topic.

The power of three

Do you know about the power of three?  it’s the basis of story-telling and I use it multiple times within my presentations. Often, it’s so subtle; you wouldn’t know.  One way to think about it is the beginning, middle and end, but using more sections of three within the presentation will help the content flow. Essentially it boils down to: Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you just told them.

The end result

This client’s presentation took around three hours to complete and was structured like this:

Introduction –Why they’re here, what this is about or the problem we’re about to solve
Principles – The purpose, aims, and what’s in, or out of scope.
Research – How we went about finding out and who was involved

• Findings – Broken down into 5 sections, each covering 3 main points
Recommendations – again 5 sections addressing the main points
Implementation – How will we do this project and what could get in the way.

Timing – When could it start
Budget – How much it will cost
Next – What needs to happen next

The benefit

What I was gave my client was not just a presentation to edit, polish and add her own stamp on but more importantly, some valuable time back, some head space over the weekend and a head start for her working week.

If you would like to make my day; ask me to create your presentation.