Three things that win award entries
1. Getting into the mind of the judges
Read the rubric. The criteria, and the way they’re described, will give you an insight into how the judges think. If they’re named, research the judges’ backgrounds. Then adapt your style of pitch - and the order of information - to their personality. If they’re assertive, you’re more likely to resonate by presenting the creative proposal early followed by the rationale and considerations. If they’re process-driven, you’ll do the opposite.
2. Provide a focus
Judges sometimes have dozens, if not hundreds, of entries to review. A single-minded theme expressed in an attention-grabbing title will stick in their minds, so they’re more likely to come back to it at the end of their first review. A theme is also a great way to get judges thinking about your entry in as you want them to - the one that did this or solved that. It will also hold their attention as they read your entry.
Make the theme something big that you achieved. ‘Getting 20-34-year-olds to start saving for a pension’ is more impressive - and intriguing - than, ‘A promotional campaign for Standard Strife Pensions’. The detail about the scale of the challenge secures more interest. So aim for detailed rather than general claims. A clear theme allows you to marshal your material clearly. Just make sure everything serves the theme so that every element in your entry relates to the challenge in your title. That makes for a more compelling read and makes the achievement all the more impressive.
3. Demonstrate your value through details
You may have brilliant results that you’re hoping will speed your entry straight to first place - but if you don’t present them in the most convincing way, you’ll be entering your award category with the handbrake on. Provide evidence for any claims you make. Judges don’t want to read ambiguous statements about how your business ‘broke new ground’ - give them the evidence which demonstrates it instead.
Once you’ve presented the evidence, bring your project to life in the real world. Pull out a fascinating detail here and there to wow your judges, e.g. ‘when our keynote speaker’s taxi failed to show up at the last minute, our event manager hired a car and drove them to the event herself!’ Details make your judges appreciate the scale of your efforts.