Get Judges to Love You!
It's that time of the year - the majority of annual awards are in full swing.
The judges who'll assess your entry may compare dozens of entries. And with some industry submissions requiring 14,000 words (that's more than half the length of Shakespeare's Macbeth), you can imagine that judging is tiring work.
So you'll be rewarded if you give judges what they want and get them to love your submission.
There are five things that judges want when reading an award submission. Three of these are obvious - be accurate, be concise, and support your statements with substantiated facts and figures.
The other two things? Most judges aren't even aware of them. That's because they have nothing to do with writing accurately and concisely, or about business practices and achievements. Rather, they're core to human psychology - and they are also the reason why judges say of only a small handful of submissions "I loved that entry!"
The two other things that judges secretly seek when reading submissions:
1. To be entertained.
2. To experience an emotional response to what they're reading.
Very few award entrants understand the importance these aspects play in getting judges to love what they write. If you achieve these two things - entertaining the judges and garnering an emotional response from them when they read your entry, then the judges will remember your submission even after they have read dozens of others. What's more, they'll look favourably upon that memory.
Emeritus Professor Jennings Bryant of the University of Alabama has the answer to why this is the case. He remains one of the world's leading experts on the psychology of communication, and his research has discovered that reading as a task requires more effort than reading for entertainment, and he's formed cognitive models for what happens to a person's mood, emotions and outlook when they're being entertained. In summary, they are happier, more attentive, more open to recommendation and have higher comprehension. Does that sound like how you want your judges to be while reading your awards entry?
And once you know what people - including judges - are seeking when they read, then it becomes easier to craft a “story” that they will love!
So when writing awards submissions I always attempt to show humour and include at least one short human interest story that will make the judges smile or pull at their heart strings. Do the same and see how your success burgeons!
My name is Liz Rivers, and I started undertaking unique research more than 20 years ago on what makes awards successful and what judges are looking for when they assess your entry... read more
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