Magazine article Communication World

You Don't Want Me as Your Judge, Unless

Magazine article Communication World

You Don't Want Me as Your Judge, Unless

Article excerpt

If you've ever entered a writing contest or a communication competition...if you're thinking about entering owe...if you're considering probably will be able to use some of the tips and tricks that follow.

Presently serving his third term as a division coordinator for IABC's Gold Quill competition, Rich Burger, ABC, APR has evaluated several hundred accreditation portfolios, Gold Quill and Silver Quill entries, and submissions in IABC, PRSA, Missouri School Public Relations Assn., Texas Press Women's Assn. and other local and regional competitions during the past decade.

He's seen the goad and the bad of these submissions, and he has some strong opinions on the subject of entering competitions. If you want to know the mistakes to avoid, and the tricks that will help you stand a better chance of faring well when your work is reviewed by some faceless judge, read on.

With this issue we begin Barger's four-part series, "You don't want me as your judge, unless..."

Okay, it's competition time.

Bronze Quill. Silver Quill. Gold Quill. Silver Anvil. PRISM. ADDY. Whatever.

And it annoys me.

No, it makes me mad!

For it's so easy to do it right!

In competition after competition, regardless of what the Call for Entries says, the vast majority of entrants do only half the work.

A typical Call for Entries says something like:

"Your Work Sample and Work Plan are each worth 50 percent of the judges' evaluation. Winning entries must meet clearly stated objectives and show originality and results. Judges look first for evidence of careful planning and documentation of an entry's success at meeting stated objectives." (Adapted from 1995 IABC Gold Quill Award Call for Entries.)

That's not too hard, is it?

Yet, time and again, I see - all judges see - entries with good, solid, professional Work Samples, and sloppy, insipid, poorly thought-out, hastily thrown-together Work Plans:

* "Plans" that were developed only for the contest or competition, not for the project.

* "Plans" that show absolutely no understanding of the IABC - or any other - communication planning process.

* "Plans" that don't even bother to follow the clearly listed steps and instructions in the competition's Call for Entries

* "Plans" that in no conceivable way could be followed as a model for designing the Work Sample submitted. …

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