In 2020, everything changed. This year, the 2021 IABC/Toronto OVATION Awards program encourages communicators to showcase how they rose to the challenge amidst world-changing developments at every turn.
On January 13, IABC/Toronto hosted an award writing workshop, featuring three expert communicators who are past winners and/or judges of the prestigious OVATION Awards.
The speakers gave attendees an inside scoop and overview of the submission process, tips for writing an award-winning entry, and a look at this year’s new categories and divisions.
- Cyrus Mavalwala, (ABC), (MC), Founding Partner, Advantis Communications Inc.
- Sylvia Link, (MC), (ABC), (APR)®, Director of Marketing and Communications, RTOERO
- Crystal Moss, Manager, Communications and Special Projects, The Regional Municipality of York
Thinking of submitting your best work for an OVATION Award? Here are some expert tips to get you started:
Make friends with the IABC’s Global Seven-Point Global Scale of Excellence.
Speakers emphasized that the awards align with the global standard of the communications profession. This means all evaluation rubrics and scoring are consistent. “Here’s my biggest tip to you,” said Sylvia Link. “Go to the IABC website and download the rubrics, read them through, mark them up, get to know them, become friends with them.” The rubrics highlight everything you need to know for starting an application, what evidence is needed to support a high score, and what to avoid that could cost you points.
Don’t underestimate the work plan.
It may seem daunting to summarize everything into just four pages, but it’s important to set aside enough time to organize your submission and hit the key components. Crystal Moss advises that strong writing and beautiful design are not enough to win these awards — it starts with the business need. The outstanding awards are clear about the business need, why the business did the project, and address the business need throughout the application. “As a judge, there is nothing better than reading a strong, aligned, and perfectly purposeful business need for one reason: it sets the rest of your application up for success,” said Crystal.
The more you describe, the higher your score.
Along with the business need, entrants also need to include stakeholder analysis, goals and objectives, solution overview, implementation and challenges, and measurement and evaluation. Speakers emphasized that judges want to immediately understand and visualize what you did and how you applied your strategies and tactics to a specific audience. As noted by Crystal, “the most memorable sample I’ve judged are those that are visual, tell the story easily, and include a simple approach.” When submitting work samples, make a strong connection between the work plan and the strategy behind the sample.
Don’t assume anything.
A big part of preparing your submission is compiling your work so it can be evaluated as a winning entry. Cyrus Mavalwala says this means picking the right project, taking your time, proofreading, and refraining from the assumption that the judges will immediately understand your work. “Give them enough information to enable them to make strategic and informed decisions on your work,” said Cyrus. Remember, judges are looking from the outside in, so you have to be as descriptive as possible and use all the room you have. IABC rubrics and resources, like the Midas Touch, can keep you on the right track and focused on the exact deliverables. Don’t forget to tell the judges explicitly your budget and key messages!
Of course, there is a whole treasure trove of helpful tips, advice, and takeaways for starting and creating an award-winning entry included in this webinar.
Thank you to our expert speakers, Sylvia Link, Crystal Moss and Cyrus Mavalwala, for taking the time to impart their invaluable wisdom and personal experiences of judging for the annual IABC/Toronto OVATION Awards.
We’ve got you covered from start to finish. Find all of IABC/Toronto’s OVATION Award resources on our website.
Don’t wait to start drafting your award-winning entry!
VP, Professional Development Events
International Association of Business Communicators – Toronto
IABC/Toronto office tel: 416-968-0264