Each year I have the honor of judging a number of awards competitions. This year they included the Web Health Awards, the National Health Information Awards, The Pelican Awards (Louisiana Society for Healthcare Public Relations & Marketing), and the Beacon Awards for the Minnesota Health Strategy & Communications Network. I have learned that judging awards makes me better at preparing my own award entries. Most importantly, I have learned that it is important to write entries that don’t lead to “judging fatigue.”
What is judging fatigue? It is a condition that develops after a judge reads dozens of award entries. This is only relevant for those competitions that require a written case study or challenge statement with creative submissions. In the past, I have always written thorough case studies, painstakingly addressing each point within the judging criteria. What I have learned from judging so many entries is that it is exhausting for the judges to read all of these lengthy entries. It is far better to write a pointed, concise entry that makes the judge’s job easier. When it comes to detailing your objectives and results, I recommend bullets rather than paragraphs. Don’t hide the important information from the judges. Make it easy for them to find what they need; anticipate the fact that they may be skimming entries by the time they come to yours.
Good luck with you next batch of award entries!