Picture the scene: you’ve crafted a compelling written entry. You’ve outlined your initiative well. But everything is still to play for – half your scores will come from your presentation on the day of the Awards Finals.
You’re looking for that winning edge, a way of differentiating yourself from your competition.
At Awards International, a great presentation comes down to two things. At its core, there needs to be a compelling business case; your initiative must have been successful. No amount of flashy presentation skills will be able to hide that from the judging panel.
But it also needs to be memorable and well-articulated.
We’ve seen some great presentations over the years. And we want to share what we’ve learned.
Don’t clutter the slides with text
Things have definitely got better over the years, but some presentations are still guilty of text clutter. Worst of all, we occasionally see presenters reading off the PowerPoint! That is a complete turn-off: it means you’re turning away from the judging panel, and you’re not telling them anything they can’t already read for themselves. Remember: the human brain can process images much faster than text, so using well-selected images can help create a much quicker impression than a paragraph of text.
The slides are there to supplement your presentation. Include the essential points of your initiative, as well as the most important pieces of evidence that substantiate your claims. This leaves room for your presentation to elaborate, providing the fine-tuned analysis that really brings your initiative to life.
Practice it. Then do it again.
The most iconic presentations of modern times – think Steve Jobs’ iPhone launch in 2007 – were rehearsed over several weeks until the speaker could deliver it flawlessly without notes. You don’t necessarily have to do this, though it will benefit your presentation if you do.
Just because you’ve written the text of your speech, that doesn’t mean you’ve finished. You want to have enough confidence in your material to look up from your notes and make eye contact with the judges. That way, your enthusiasm will be much more evident.
Like anything, practice makes perfect.
Tell a story
We are hard-wired to respond to stories. Not only are they more enjoyable than pure information – they make things more memorable too.
Your business has launched an initiative; that means you have a story to tell. You have to locate the initiative in your own company story, and explain how it took your organisation where you wanted to go.
A story doesn’t have to feature romance or revenge to be effective – it just needs to set the scene, develop, then resolve. If you describe your company initiative as a journey, you’re taking the judges on that journey with you. And they’ll remember a lot more of the details when it comes to scoring your presentation.
Address all the criteria, but avoid a plodding approach
It’s essential that you cover all the aspects of the Scoring of Entries document.
That’s what the judges will be using to assess you, so you must give each section proper consideration. There’s nothing wrong with structuring your presentation around each of these criteria: beginning with Business Strategy, moving on to Goals and Objectives, and so on. But your presentation should be greater than the sum of its parts. It shouldn’t just address each criterion, then move on with no attempt to link. The judges, understandably, will view this approach as somewhat pedestrian, and your scores may suffer as a result.
Linking between sections, showing how one leads to another on your company journey, is going to be much more memorable in their minds.
Seek out expert advice
At Awards International, we want every organisation to have the chance to succeed. That’s why, for many years, we’ve been teaming up with Donna O’Toole from August Awards Consultancy. She’s helped hundreds of businesses to realise their potential and get the recognition they deserve, and she’ll be hosting a variety of webinars over the next month. They are:
We hope you can join these webinars and learn from the very best!
For more Awards International advice, here’s our article on Awards Entry Mistakes.