7 Tips on Winning Awards – #5

January 19th, 2012

Keep it simple.

What do I mean? Well, put yourself in the shoes of an award judge for a moment. You will be reviewing 10, maybe 20 submissions. When was the last time you read that much? Written by mostly non-professional writers?

That’s why it’s critical to keep it simple. By that I mean:

- Be obvious. Your story must be easy to understand. A is followed by B, which is followed by C. Everything is logically sequenced and tied together.

Remember that your judge/s know/s nothing about your program/product/team/etc. so you have to make everything very, very clear.

Ask yourself whether you can picture a judge nodding her head as she reads along. If YOU don’t nod your head as you are reading along your draft, and rework it until you do.

- Use plain English. I don’t mean dumb things down, I mean say things as plainly as possible. Don’t over-complicate. Choose the five-cent word over the 10-cent word.

Remember, the writing here is just a means to an end: winning. Flowery language and/or long, compound sentences will not help your cause, nor will excessive buzzwords (and please, etch this in your memory: “incentivize” is not a word).

- Use English, and selective jargon. Avoid what I like to call the quirky lingua franca spoken on your corporate planet. No one knows what any of your acronyms mean, for example.

DO use jargon appropriate to the context, i.e. if you are applying for a learning award, as many of my clients do, you should surely use learning terminology.

Just the facts, ma’am. There is a lot to say about any potentially award-winning project/product/team/etc. Pare it down to the essentials. Know the difference between details that will help you win and details that are extraneous, and delete the latter.

It might be helpful to show your draft to someone in another department, or to a colleague in the same field but at another company (assuming they are not applying for the same award!).

The person should know just enough about the subject matter to be able to follow along but not so much about the specifics that they cannot see the forest for the trees (like you and your team).

A Few Words from the Wise

In closing, some inspiration from two greats who knew how to make an impact:

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” - Leonardo da Vinci

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” – Coco Chanel

Stay tuned for tip #6: Be concise.

More tips!

Tip #4: Tell a Good Story

Tip #3: Start Early

Tip #2: Read the Question

Tip #1: Know Who You’re Talking To

 

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Learning Program and Team Awards 2009-2014

ORGANIZATION / CATEGORY DESIGNATION

ASTD Excellence in Practice

Technical Training Award
Training Management Citation (for new programs)
Learning Technology Citation
Workplace Learning & Collaboration–Leadership Development (x2) Award, Citation
Workplace Learning & Collaboration–Onboarding Citation
Sales Enablement Citation

Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning

Best Custom Content Gold
Best in Learning Strategy and Governance Gold
Best Leadership Development Program Gold
Best Innovation in Learning Technology Silver
Best Leadership Sales Training Silver
Best Integration of Learning and Talent Management Bronze
Best Use of Games for Learning Bronze

Brandon Hall Technology Excellence

Best Advance in Social Learning Technology Gold

CLO Magazine Learning in Practice

Technology Innovation Gold, Division 1
Innovation Gold, Division 1
Business Impact Gold, Division 2
Business Impact Bronze, Division 2

 

Learning Organization Ranking Awards

ORGANIZATION / AWARD NOTES

American Society for Training & Development

ASTD BEST #1 (up from #32 in one year)
#2 (up from #37 in two years)

ELearning! Media Group

Learning! 100 #1 (first year on list)

Chief Learning Officer Magazine

LearningElite #1, #4

Training Magazine

 Training Top 125 #1, #2 (up from #41 in one year)
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