Top tips for awards success
Written by Catherine Park
The deadline for submitting your ITI Award entries – 10 February – is not that far away. Here are our top tops for putting in a entry that stands out and shines.
Read the entry instructions carefully
It may seem obvious, but do make sure you read the general entry requirements and the specifics on the entry form for the class you are entering. It would be a shame to lose marks because the entry does not address one or more criteria.
Keep it simple
Be clear, specific and concise. As far as possible, use concrete rather than abstract words. Give examples: e.g. the specific ways you added value for your client; how you ensured freelancers felt involved in your business. Avoid jargon and highly specialist language – at the most basic level, would someone who has not been involved with this type of project be able to understand what was involved from your description?
A clear format
Follow a clear structure – the order of the criteria to be answered on the entry form should help you with this. Tell a story – a clear narrative engages judges and helps them to understand what you have achieved. Before submitting your entry, perhaps ask someone else to read it as a final check that you are getting across what you want.
Stick to word counts
Keep to the word counts on the entry forms. If you can say what you need to in fewer words, feel free to do so.
Stick to the amount of supporting information stipulated on the entry form – make sure that individual elements are not excessively long. Typical examples of supporting material could include a) List of quotes from client/other interested parties b) Statistics that support the submission c) Brief that you had to meet d) Event programme e) A plan that was actually used f) Product description. The judges will not be in a position to read books, long research reports etc. Please note that we do not require dissertations to be submitted in the Academic Research class.
Get the detail right
Mistakes, discrepancies, ambiguities and/or a lack of attention to detail do not create confidence in judges. If the entry as a whole doesn’t ‘add up’, it won’t win. We cannot accept corrections after the entry has been submitted. In certain classes it is possible for an individual or a group of individuals to be nominated. We must have the correct information at the time of entry submission.
If you are nominating someone else, make sure you have their permission and have all the necessary information on their achievement. The requirement for sufficient detail is the same whether an entry is put in by a nominator, or by someone submitting an entry for themselves.
Impact and evidence
It is important that the practical, positive impacts of the activity are clear. In relation to the Academic research class, judges are particularly impressed when the applicability of a piece of research to specific challenges in the sector are evident.
Statistics, testimonials, quotations and other forms of concrete evidence are valuable in confirming claims about the nature, scale and importance of achievements.
Ensure that achievements being described took place within the period stipulated on the entry form.
If an activity is ongoing, be clear on what actually occurred within the period covered by this award. If the activity was completed just within the acceptable time-frame, try and demonstrate some results rather than speculating about what the impact might be in the future.
Give yourself plenty of time to put together a solid entry. Don’t leave it late and then have to rush – give yourself the best possible chance of doing justice to these achievements.