Strut Your Stuff, or Why Communications Contests Matter

The other week a colleague asked me if I was entering the Virginia Professional Communicators contest. I said I didn’t really have anything to enter.

She immediately noted two or three things that she thought were worthy. We sat down and looked at our work for the year and realized we had achieved much more than we remembered. My feelings toward the prior year became much more positive.

I don’t have to win an award, but awards do have merit. They can provide validation. They may improve your work or make you try harder. And, they generally make you feel good.

capture_contestWhat do I mean by validation? If you’ve worked hard on an article, a campaign or a project, when it’s finished you, your team and your boss may acknowledge for a moment, but you are usually already hard at work on the next thing. An award for the article, campaign or project validates that you did great work and that others recognize that effort.

I always appreciate the judges’ comments. I take the time to read them. Most often they offer suggestions that would have made the work I submitted even stronger if I had had their tips or advice in advance. I find that useful as I embark on the next project.

Awards also make me try harder. When my colleague and I reviewed our work, we made a list of possible entries. A few days later, we reexamined the list. In one or two instances, we deleted the work from the list because while it was good, it wasn’t great. If we are going to enter a contest, we want to enter our best work. We discussed how we could have made the projects stronger and have noted it for future efforts.

I have another week to finish my entries. I’m already thinking ahead to next year and determining how I can do my best work this year.

Note: For tips on how to enter a contest, check out this post.