How to write an award-winning submission

April 17, 2022

We know, we know: you do a great job. And we know that you know that you do a great job! But better than you (and Gill & Hooper) knowing that you do a great job, is scooping a genuine, real-estate industry award which shows that your peers also acknowledge your hard work and talent.  

While recognition is sweet, let’s face it: award submissions are hard. They are time-consuming and can easily fall to the bottom of the to-do list with plenty of business-as-usual tasks to focus on, meaning it’s common to not give them the time, energy and focus that they deserve. Having won a few awards in our time (#HumbleBrag), we’ve put together our three top tips for you when it comes to penning a submission that we think gives you the best chance of taking home the chocolates!

1. Read the question (and what it’s asking for)

As in, read it twice, and then read it again. Rushing the process of understanding specifically what the question is asking for (and subsequently failing to answer it), is one of the most common errors writers make––and it immediately signals to the judges that you haven’t taken the time with your submission.

Answer the question directly: don’t talk around the question or manipulate the question to provide the answer you want. Simply, answer the question. Many criteria now have double-barrelled questions, so make sure you answer both. Equally, provide the evidence and examples that the question requests; if the question stipulates you should provide two examples, provide two examples. That’s not one example, or three examples. Two! Got it?

2. The way you write matters (almost) as much as what you write  

While you’re not necessarily expected to be a seasoned wordsmith, the way your submission is written, and how accessible and clear it is, really matters.

Most importantly, be concise and specific. Use plain language that is punchy and avoid anything even closely resembling waffle; judges see right through it. This is most easily achieved by (truth bomb incoming…) observing the word count. You should be looking to get as close as possible to the word count with meaningful responses––our strategy is to start off with a brain dump of all possible responses and examples and then prioritise the ones that most powerfully and directly answer the question.

Oh, and on the subject of style? First person, please (unless the submission specifically asks for something different). A submission containing plenty of ‘I’ and ‘we’ is so much easier for a judge to relate to than the distance of a third-person narrative.

As important as the words are, we also recommend you use as much quantitative data as possible, to substantiate the claims you make in your submission. For example, you might include the proof point of ‘we experienced a 50% growth in the rent roll, signing 429 properties’ as it paints an accurate picture not just of the percentage growth you were responsible for, but also the true scope of the growth (ie, number of properties you signed) – a meaningful data point, we’re sure you will agree. Don’t exaggerate, lie or try and obscure the data you present; it’s usually obvious and a big red flag to judging panels.

3. The finishing touches matter

We know we sound like approximately every single teacher you’ve ever been taught by in your entire life, but trust us when we tell you that you must proof your submission (and get at least one other person to, as well). It’s easy to miss the spelling errors, random capitalisation and sentences that simply don’t make sense when you’re reading something for what feels like the hundredth time. Give yourself enough time to check your work – you’ve come this far!  

And more broadly, give yourself the gift of being able to take time over your submission – they are not quick or necessarily easy to write, but if you’re taking the time to enter, do yourself (and your business) a favour by putting in the effort and time required to give yourself your best chance. And finally (finally), good luck – whether you take home the gong or not, award submission can be an incredible opportunity to reflect on all that you’ve achieved (but seriously, we really  hope you win!)

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