Sunday, January 31, 2010

C+D AWARDS: How to write a winning award entry.


Two writing awards, originally uploaded by Lynda Sandoval. USA, LLC

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1. Sell, sell, sell

Entries should really sell the person or service they are describing - judges will see lots of entries and you need to make yours stand out. Don't be a shrinking violet. For example, if you've launched a cardiovascular screening service and spotted a patient with high blood pressure, then sell it to the judge as a potential life saving intervention, not just a regular CV check up. Outline your successes and why they mattered. Then expand on each one and add details wherever possible.

2. English lessons

The entry form should read like a high paced thriller, not the write-up of a school science experiment. Every word counts. Keep sentences short and punchy. You can always add lots of supporting documents and testimonials, but if the initial 500 words don't sell your entry, the judges will never get that far.

Use active verbs to inject interest. For example: "A screening service for patients aged over 60 years old with higher associated risk of developing cancer was initiated by the pharmacy manager and members of the pharmacy team," can become: "The pharmacy team launched a trail- blazing cancer screening test for elderly patients."

Remember, however, to reinforce the active language with factual evidence behind your claims, like this: "The pharmacy team launched a trail-blazing cancer screening test for elderly patients. In just six months staff spotted five patients later diagnosed with cancer after referral to their GP."

3. Read aloud and refine

Good cooks taste their food before they serve it. That way if the sauce is too bland they can season it before it reaches the table. The writer's equivalent is reading your article out to make sure it actually makes sense before submitting the final copy. Print a draft version and read it aloud. If there are bits that are hard to read or confuse you then imagine how a judge might feel. The more you do this, the more polished your final entry form will be.

4. Get it done early

Don't sail too close to the wind on deadlines. The earlier you have the copy written, the more chance there will be to check over for mistakes and polish the final piece. If you're rushing, the quality of the entry could suffer. An idea might be to set staff a soft deadline, one or two weeks ahead of the actual awards entry deadline. This way you get to look over and refine your entries.

Spot the award-winning entry

Congratulations, you've been appointed to the prestigious post of C+D Awards judge. Before the champagne on the big night, you face the task of judging hundreds of entries. Imagine you're Simon Cowell. You don't have much time and you're looking for something that makes an instant impression, so which one of the following two entries has the X Factor?

Entry A

Rob Roy joined Bloggs Pharmacy chain in 1997. Rob works really hard and is often asked for in person by the customers. A screening service for patients aged over 60 years of age with higher associated risk of developing cancer was researched and instigated by Rob and the members of his pharmacy team. Rob is very well received by the members of his pharmacy team. Medicines use reviews is an area that Rob considers to be of necessary importance and his team will endeavour to complete as many as possible. Rob has ensured the pharmacy is kept highly organised, reducing stock holding and ensuring date checking and other standards are adhered to in the professional manner required. During the summer, one man suffering back pain passed blood when he used the toilet at the pharmacy. He was referred after a consultation with Rob to his local GP, who then diagnosed the man with early prostate cancer.

Entry B

Since joining Bloggs Pharmacy chain, Rob Roy has researched, launched and delivered a service to protect his community in Godbury against the UK's biggest killer. When Rob found a shocking one in 10 residents had grandparents with cancer he vowed to make a difference. He inspired his pharmacy team to launch a trail-blazing cancer screening service for the elderly. In just six months staff spotted five patients later diagnosed with cancer after referral to their GP. But it's not just elderly patients who have Rob to thank for their wellbeing. One 30- something father of three owes his life to Rob. When he used the pharmacy toilet the man was distressed to see blood in his urine. Rob swung into action. He persuaded the patient to come into his consultation area and urged him to visit his GP for a check up. He was later diagnosed with prostate cancer. The GP was able to fast track the man for life saving treatment - had the cancer gone undetected for another few months he may not have survived. Thankfully for him and many others in Godbury there is a guardian angel by the name of Rob Roy to protect them.

Copyright: UBM Information Ltd.

Source Citation
"C+D AWARDS: How to write a winning award entry." Chemist & Druggist (2010): 29. Academic OneFile. Web. 31 Jan. 2010. .

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