Thomas Fairbairn, Author at Awards International


Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnMay 13, 20203min3230

Delivering a great presentation is a key part of success at our Awards. It counts for 50% of your score (your written entry provides the other half), so you need to think of ways to impress the judges.

Of course, there is no substitute for having done a great initiative as a business; your results will speak for themselves. But you also need to think about how to engage the judges with your presentation style.

In that spirit, we want to share three memorable presentations with you, examples of great public speaking that will give you the inspiration to deliver a winning pitch at our upcoming Awards.


1. Steve Jobs announcing the first iPhone


The world has never looked back from this presentation; this was the day the smartphone was well and truly born. In a crisp, engaging style, Jobs explains why his product is going to be a computing revolution. Some of the tech might seem a little behind now, but remember, this was 2007! At the time, we’d never seen anything like it.


2. Life After “Death by Powerpoint”

A great example of how to use humour to build engagement, Don McMillan also shows the pitfalls of relying too much on a Powerpoint presentation through – ironically enough – his own Powerpoint presentation.

3. Slaying Dragons


This is a great example of how to deal with tough questions in a calm, unflappable manner. Remember: your prepared presentation is only part of your time before the judges; you’ll also be expected to spend up to 15 minutes answering questions, so you’ll need to be able to think on your feet.


Entries for the UK Business Awards are closing on 15th May – enter now! 


Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnApril 29, 20206min6250

Necessity is the mother of all invention, as they say. This year’s UK Digital Experience Awards will recognise those who’ve responded to the current situation with innovation and creativity. We’re looking forward to hosting the Awards online on 16th July, and we hope you can join us!

As excitement for the Awards continues to grow, we want to share the World Economic Forums top 10 trends that are emerging in the coronavirus pandemic. If you’ve been adopting any of these practices successfully, you’d be a fantastic candidate for our Awards!


1. Online Shopping

E-commerce was already growing massively before the virus; it’s now a permanent feature of our daily lives. After some initial delays, the logistics of extremely widespread online shopping are being figured out.

Relevant DXA categories: Best App, Best Website, Online User Experience


2. Digital Payment Methods

Although it may seem stupid that people have been microwaving their banknotes, this does reveal something broader: an aversion to physical cash in the age of coronavirus. Offering frictionless digital payments is something that’s only going to grow in importance in the post-corona world.

Relevant DXA categories: Digital Change and Transformation


3. Remote Working

Remote work certainly presents challenges (the World Economic Forum lists information security, labour laws and work life balances as potential problems) but companies that can overcome these might actually see permanent improvements in staff productivity.

Relevant DXA categories: Digital Team 


4. Remote Learning

We’re offering an expanded series of CX Masterclasses to help our customers learn during this time. If you’re offering outstanding training, webinars, or other forms of remote learning, this makes you an ideal candidate for the Awards.

Relevant DXA categories: Best Website, Online User Experience


5. Telehealth

This change has been a long time coming. To ease the pressure on health services and avoid exposure, the NHS and private healthcare providers have been substantially increasing their online presence.

Relevant DXA categories: Online User Experience


6. Online Entertainment

Pubs and clubs might be closed, but we’ve seen extraordinary innovation in this area. The pub quiz has enjoyed a renaissance, and we’ve even seen the emergence of some virtual pubs! More traditional online experiences, such as online multiplayer video games, have also seen large increases in traffic.

Relevant DXA categories: Online User Experience


7. Supply Chain Innovation

Adapting to social distancing regulations, logistics firms are finally moving away from paper-based work towards more digital solutions. Companies that have done well in this area deserve all the recognition they can get!

Relevant DXA categories: Digital Change and Transformation


8. 3D Printing

As this technology becomes cheaper, we’re going to see greater localisation of supply chains. This is an incredibly exciting development; the use of advanced technologies is something we want to celebrate at the Awards!

Relevant DXA categories: Best Use of Emerging Technology 


9. Robotics and Drones

Whether it’s disinfecting products, walking dogs or delivering items, companies will be looking for more automated solutions in the future.

Relevant DXA categories: Best Use of Emerging Technology 


10. 5G

Forget the idiots that are attacking telecoms engineers; 5G is going to be huge. As the World Economic Forum points out, it is the one trend that will truly enable all the other 9 to succeed long-term. If your firm is involved in the rollout of 5G technology, you deserve recognition for your efforts!

Relevant DXA categories: Best Use of Emerging Technology 


Read the full set of categories for the UK Digital Experience Awards.

We’re also offering an early bird discount until May 22nd – get yours today! 

For more digital stories from Awards International, click here.




Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnApril 23, 20204min2630

The UK Customer Experience Awards is, of course, a chance to win. To have a proper competition with your fellow CX professionals and get recognition for your achievements. But it’s not just about that. This is your opportunity to learn what it means to have a truly outstanding customer experience.

Based on over a decade of awards experience, we’ve gathered together the top 3 ways that your CX performance can receive a boost from attending our Awards.



1. Open Presentations

Many of our finalists allow guests to watch their presentations. This improves the overall transparency of the event and also makes it an inspiring educational opportunity. Seeing the best and brightest from the world of CX offering a frank view of their successes – and areas for improvement – is something our customers really value about the Awards.

In order to score well, finalists need to show the core business benefits of what they’ve been achieving in CX. This is much more than what you’d get at a conference! It’s frank, detailed and pitched at an expert level.


2. Detailed Feedback Reports

At many Awards, finalists have no idea why they won. We think this is a real missed opportunity. If you’re going to put yourself out there before an expert panel, it’s a shame not to get their insights on your work.

That’s why our judges write detailed feedback reports, for both the written entry and live presentations. You’ll also receive your scores for each of the scoring criteria, the average score in your category, and the highest score. If you won, this gives you a sense of how well you’re doing. If not, you can know where you need to improve.

Having different judging panels for each category allows the judges to give each entry the attention it deserves. In fact, the judges will spend a combined total of 7.5 hours assessing your entry.


3. Networking Opportunities

With so many top companies in attendance – last year, we had around 1000 guests – this is your chance to connect with the best. When you’re not watching open presentations or delivering your own, you can head to one of our dedicated networking areas and meet with the other finalists and judges.

This might lead to a fruitful business partnership, or simply that you get some great advice for a CX issue you’ve been facing. In any case, you’re not going to find this range and depth of CX expertise anywhere else.


Until May 8th, we’re happy to offer a £100 entry discount – get yours today! 

The Awards will be held on October 15th at Wembley Stadium. 




Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnApril 15, 20203min3250

We’ve seen some extraordinary examples of digital excellence over the past few weeks.

In recent years, there’s been an increasing shift towards flexible and remote working; now, that process has been sped up. Although many things will return to normal in the coming months, several changes will be here to stay – and greater amounts of remote, digital work will be one of them.

For many companies, UX and CX are even more synonymous than they once were. Companies that once blended online and real-world experiences are now forced to make their website and apps the entirety of the experience. Necessity, they say, is the mother of all invention – and we’re seeing countless examples of companies innovating in these times and becoming true digital natives.

We want to honour these achievements, which is why the UK Digital Experience Awards will be extra special this year. Held entirely online on 16th July, the UK’s top companies will be explaining how they’ve achieved outstanding digital results.

Whether you’re looking to enter or simply hoping to learn from the best, it’s time to get involved! Although the lockdown is likely to end within the next few weeks, people have become much more accustomed to conducting their whole business and personal lives online, so standards are rising as a result. In such a fast-moving environment, it’s more important than ever to know how you’re performing relative to others.

Our customers always learn from their awards experience: every finalist receives a detailed feedback report, and finalists and guests have the chance to watch open presentations at the Awards. And with networking taking place throughout the day, it’s a fantastic chance to learn from each other about creating great digital experiences.

If you’ve been doing great work in this space, recognition is also more important than ever. Your customers deserve to know if you’re one of the country’s top digital performers, and it’s a fantastic morale boost for your staff as well. Plus, if you enter before May 22nd, you can get an early bird discount! 

This is the perfect time to see how far you’ve come, and learn how to take your digital experience to the highest possible level. It’s never been more important.


Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnApril 15, 20204min1940

This lockdown has certainly had its challenges, and the global struggle against COVID-19 continues apace. We salute all the key workers who are doing their utmost to keep the economy moving and the people of this country safe.

At times, one can feel inundated by grisly daily figures and dire predictions from certain commentators. Whilst it’s essential to take the threat of coronavirus seriously, it’s also vital to remind ourselves of the goodness and kindness that surrounds us every day. And to laugh!

In that spirit, we’re sharing a couple of stories of truly winning attitudes – and one that will get you roaring with laughter.


1. Hold on to that feeling

At New York’s Presbyterian Queens Hospital, they blast out 80’s classic “Don’t Stop Believin” whenever a COVID-19 patient is discharged. This is for the patient, to lift their spirits after a tough stay in the hospital, but it’s also for the hospital staff. It reminds them that people can recover, do recover and that hope very much remains.

It’s also a reminder of the power of music to inspire. If Journey is just what you need right now, take a listen below.


2. Over £5m raised by 99 year-old war veteran

Captain Tom Moore, a veteran of the second world war, has captured the hearts of the nation. He is aiming to complete 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday, and is raising money for the NHS. At the time of writing, donations had topped £5 million – you can donate to his NHS Charities Together fundraiser here. 

In Tom’s own words:

It just shows that people have such high regard for matters of our National Health Service and it’s really amazing that people have paid so much money. It’s unbelievable, isn’t it?


3. And finally, the boss who led a Zoom meeting – as a potato!

The past few weeks have brought about some classic videoconferencing stories, but in our opinion, this is the best of the bunch. The title says it all – have a look at the image below!



If you’ve displayed a winning attitude in these times, we’d love to hear from you. Share your story at the UK Business Awards and the UK Digital Experience Awards. Now is the time for recognition! 



Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnApril 15, 20203min2440

Adaptability, flexibility and creativity are some of the things we recognise at our Awards. So it only makes sense that we show those same qualities at a time like this. If we’re celebrating the successes of organisations who’ve responded innovatively to the present situation, we should be innovative too!

That’s why we’ve taken the decision to make three of our upcoming awards – The UK Business Awards, UK Digital Experience Awards and South East Europe Customer Experience Awards – fully online from start to finish.

The essential structure of the Awards will stay the same: finalists will present their initiatives in the morning, network with other guests, and enjoy the Awards ceremony in the afternoon.

But we’re also bringing you a few new features. At the UK Business Awards, we’re launching FastHelp. Companies will give three-minute pitches on how they can assist your business in the current climate, with the emphasis on ‘help’ more than ‘sales’.

For the UK Digital Experience Awards, there will be FutureofDigital presentations running in parallel with the finalists presentations, and for our South East Europe Customer Experience Awards, we’re launching the very first of our CXTrendTalks. These will make the Awards much more than just a competition, but an unrivalled chance to learn about the industries and topics that matter most to you.

These changes haven’t come out of nowhere: in fact, we’ve been developing our bespoke Awards Manager software for years now. This allows you to write, edit and submit your entries on one online platform, and it gives us a firm foundation to take the rest of the awards experience online.

People up and down the country have become videoconferencing experts over the last few weeks, united by the fact that present restrictions shouldn’t limit our human contact. This applies on a business level as much as an individual one: the need to share your story, learn from the expertise of others and celebrate your team’s success is as vital as ever. We hope you can join us online!


Enter the UK Business Awards

Enter the UK Digital Experience Awards

For more Awards International stories, click here.


Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnApril 1, 20203min2010

In partnership with world-renowned CX specialist Ian Golding, we have an exciting announcement to make.

Ian will be running a series of Online Masterclasses, giving you CX tips of the highest quality, all from the comfort of your own home!

The two-day course will cover all the core CX competencies:

  • CX Strategy
  • Brand proposition
  • The role of employees in delivering the strategy
  • Customer journey mapping
  • CX measurement (VOC, VOE and VOP)
  • CX improvement
  • CX culture

For those taking the CCXP exam, there is the option of staying another day for an Exam Preparation Workshop, where you will receive advice on exam technique and any problem areas you might have.

Ian is offering Online Masterclasses in three different time zones: BST, PST and EDT. These classes take place on different days, so find out which one is best for you.

The next class will be for the UK timezone, and will be taking place on 6th and 7th April. Book your place now!

For those in the Benelux region, CCXP experts Marleen van Wijk and Gayana Helder will be sharing their CX knowledge. They are running two online courses, the first of which is on 14th and 15th May, with a further class held in June. These classes will be held in the Dutch language – find out more!

We’re also looking forward to launching Online Masterclasses in the Gulf and Singapore time zones – so watch this space.

If you’re currently working from home full-time, this is the perfect opportunity to sharpen your CX knowledge before returning to the office. We hope you can join us!


Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnApril 1, 20205min5550

With so many people now working from home full-time, new routines are emerging. And although there have been serious economic issues, many companies are displaying great ingenuity in their Employee Experience responses. This technology has been with us for a while – and it’s now being put to the test on its largest ever scale.

Today, we want to do something fun: a multiple choice quiz about your work-from-home habits. Each question covers a key aspect of home working: some of the options are sensible, and some not so much! Check your answers at the end to see if you’re a work-from-home winner.


Work Station

Having the right space in your home for working is essential – but where do you base yourself?

A – My bed is my most comfortable piece of furniture, so of course I work there. 

B – I set myself up on a good-sized table away from my bedroom and sit on a chair that provides good back support. 

C – I sit at my custom-made 18th century writing desk and polish it regularly with beeswax 



When working from home, you’re your own canteen. What kind of meals do you prepare?

A – Nothing too fancy. Yesterday I had a potato sandwich. 

B – A rich variety of healthy meals with plenty of green vegetables. 

C – Roast pheasant and brandy.



This is essential to physical and mental wellbeing. How do you stay active?

A – Does looking for the TV remote count as exercise?

B – I do a run, cycle or home workout several days a week, and make sure to take regular walks as well.

C – Ultramarathons every other day.


Conference Calls

Staying in touch with your teammates and communicating well is critical, but do you approach a call?

A – As long as the small square in shot looks good, that’s all the matters really.

B – As if I was in the office, prepped and ready a few minutes before the call begins.

C – My office is normally too informal; conference calls are a great chance for me to put on my tuxedo!



Without the same structure as an office job, it’s important to keep some work-life balance. How do you relax at the end of a day?

A – Playing Call of Duty: Warzone until the early hours of the morning.

B – Catching up with friends and family, cooking, reading, watching a box set.

C – Reading Proust’s “À la recherche du temps perdu” in the original French.



What do my answers say about me?

Mostly A’s – you’re probably not giving yourself the structure to thrive as a home worker. It’s important to keep your routine and set some standards for yourself.

Mostly B’s – you’re getting the balance right. You’re staying active, working effectively, keeping in touch with friends and giving yourself the best chance of success!

Mostly C’s – you might be overdoing it a bit. 


We’d love to hear how you’re getting on working from home. If you’ve got any EX stories to share, email thomas@awardsinternational.com and we’d be delighted to feature them on the website.



Thomas FairbairnThomas FairbairnMarch 19, 20203min4741

Even those living under rocks have heard the news.

We’re still monitoring developments about the virus, and will put out a full statement in the coming days. But for now, I want to share something about our values.

For us, winning is about much more than finishing first in a competition; it’s a mindset, a mentality that gives you the confidence and strength to succeed. The real winners, as we always say, are those who truly learned something at our Awards.

As we move into more uncertain times, that same mindset is what will see us through. A belief that problems can be overcome, if only we work together. That our ingenuity is never fully known until it is fully tested, and that we keep rising to meet our challenges: this is what defines a winning mentality.

Our new Global Ambassador, Luke Murfitt, exemplifies these traits. In his view, positivity is an essential part of any winning mentality. With the world seeming a more chaotic place, that positive can seem harder to find. You might not even want to find a positive spin, and that’s ok too. But I do agree with Luke: seeing the good in things, focusing on the affirmative things you can do, and accepting what you cannot change, is essential to personal growth.

This situation is certainly serious, but we’ve already seen it bring out some of the finer portions of the human spirit. Whether it’s Italians serenading each other from balconies, the immense bravery of medical staff, or merely those at home making mountains of irreverent memes, there are countless examples of this winning attitude around the world right now.

Our sincere hope is that this situation will increase our appreciation for what it means to gather together, something that may feel stifled in the coming weeks. If that is to be the case, let’s never take it for granted again – and throw one hell of a party when this thing blows over!