Get Ready to WIN: 12 Tips and 4 Killjoys for Awards Preparation

by | May 21, 2015 | Articles

But how do you know you are ready to go for it?

Many L&D leaders wish they could win one and teams pine for a chance to bond in success. But if you’ve never entered before, going for an award can seem like more of a distant and far away dream on the sidelines than an objective within your grasp. We hope these tips can help you figure out whether you’re ready and what steps to take.

Benchmark before you do anything

Of course, we would encourage you to think about benchmarking your strategy before you enter anything. The Towards Maturity Benchmark can help you become an award-winner, or prepare for next year. Here’s why:

  • You can use our Benchmark to reflect on some of the actions and activities that set the top performing organisations apart from the rest
  • You’ll get a detailed Personalised Benchmark Report* outlining your strategy’s current strengths in comparison to your peers’ whilst highlighting opportunities for development
  • The report will help you reflect on your ‘best bits’ so that you can choose the right award for you (we don’t all have to be great at everything and most people fall down because they don’t enter the right award!) – we’ve provided a list of current awards at the end of this article.

In short, by benchmarking you can:

  • Review: Use our proven framework to reflect on your current strategy
  • Compare your results with top performing organisations through your Personalised Benchmark Report
  • Act: Prioritise your next steps using our feedback and resources
Benchmark is easy and simple. It’ll take just 60 minutes the first time you do it and 20 minutes to update the next time around.

“I don’t think I am ready yet!”

If you are planning to enter awards NEXT year, you should still benchmark THIS year. Your Personalised Benchmark Report will help you focus on the activity areas that ensure you deliver powerful results to your organisation – adding real business value, not just cost-cutting. That will make you a hero in your own organisation, which will in turn strengthen your chances of being shortlisted when it comes to external awards.

Increase your chances of success

Whilst we can’t guarantee that benchmarking prior to entering the awards process will bring home a gold, it will help you focus, prioritise and be more confident in your chances of being shortlisted. The Towards Maturity Benchmark is just the first step to success in external awards.

Without further ado, we present our 12 tips and 4 killjoys to help you craft your submission and steal the hearts of the judiciary:

Tips for creating your award submission

1. Recognise your own achievements:
Benchmark before you start! Discover where your strengths lie and avoid looking for evidence in the wrong places.

2. Do some external research:
Take inspiration from past award winners (you’re welcome)

3. Chose the right award for you:
Read the categories carefully and enter the category that will really draw on your project’s strengths. Applying for the wrong award can mean disaster in the presentation to the judges.

4. Read the award submission guidelines:
Don’t be that guy who missed the vital details, or added the unnecessary ones.

5. Make sure you clearly map to the criteria:
Tell a good story, but keep to the award criteria so you cover all bases.

6. Stay within the word count:
Be clear and concise about what you want to communicate

7. Use great evidence to stand out from the crowd:
Winners add business value and drive efficiency – prove it!

8. Take it one step at a time:
You should only have one aim in creating your submission: to have it shortlisted. Stay focused around that goal and keep it real.

Tips for presenting to the judges

9. Keep to time:
Q&A time is built into the presentation process for a reason. If you overrun, you run the risk of judges asking important questions that could clinch you the gold.

10. Use an authentic voice:
Let the judges hear from people who have directly benefited from your solution. There is nothing more powerful than the learner voice. Try video testimonials, or bring people with you.

11. Have fun:
There is nothing worse than death by PowerPoint…be creative in your presentation, relax and enjoy it!

12. Tell others:
Use social media and newsletters to raise awareness of your success and gain momentum before the judging process – detailed knowledge of your solution before examining the entry submission can be a great asset to the judges when deciding between one entry or another.

4 award-killing mistakes

1. Don’t reinvent the wheel:
It may make perfect sense to you, but if you don’t follow the competition rules, you probably won’t get the recognition you deserve! The guidelines are there in order to provide the judges with the details they’re looking for. Doing your own thing can cause the important bits to get overlooked.

2. Don’t add irrelevant detail:
This includes obvious sales pitches about your company…going off on tangents can really kill the momentum during a presentation. Focus on the award-winning aspects!

3. Don’t make silly mistakes:
Spell-checkers are available for free online these days (check out Grammarly if you don’t have an office package), so there’s no excuse!

4. Don’t think negatively:
Take a look at the project you’re most proud of, choose to learn from any mistakes you made along the way and be content with how it resulted. Then choose your category and give it a go!
We hope you found these hints useful – let us know if you have any others to share in our LinkedIn group for L&D professionals.

Learning and Development Awards

Here are just a few of the L&D awards that you can enter – have fun!

Get started on the journey to a gold award by Benchmarking your L&D strategy with peers across the globe, for free.

Or stay a little longer – browse our related articles below.

The Personalised Benchmark Report can be obtained for free by taking part in the 2015 Towards Maturity Benchmark Study, requiring completion during June-July until 14 August.

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