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As a regular volunteer with IABC Toronto (Toronto chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators), I had the great privilege to organize the OVATION awards program for two years. The program celebrates excellence in communications and is open to all Greater Toronto Area communicators. From helping to coordinate the judging process to supervising the editing of two winning entries books and the call for entries to judging submissions, I’ve seen all sides of the program.

From this experience, I’ve witnessed the same mistakes being made over and over again by potentially award-winning entries. Here are some tips for companies putting together awards submissions:

Read the guidelines! Rules are made to be followed and frequently good entries lose marks by not following the submission guidelines.  As a former editor of the call for entries, please trust me, we are trying to help you win, but if the instructions aren’t followed correctly there is not much we can do.

Focus on exceptional work: An award submission should showcase your astounding achievements, not how much work you are able to finish off on a daily basis.  Filling your entry with irrelevant details will only lower your score and make your entry confusing.

Objectives must be measurable: It seems simple enough, but many award entries do not provide measurable objectives. Even more perplexing, some entries provide objectives and show results that do not match up.  Always remember these two must go hand-in-hand. If they do not match, your entry stands a very poor chance of winning.

Follow these simple tips and you will increase your opportunity to be recognized.  See you at the podium.