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5 Things a Judge Looks For in Picking a Winner

5 Things a Judge Looks For in Picking a Winner

Being a judge for an awards program is not an easy task. Judges must put personal preferences aside and score nominations based on how well they fit the criteria laid out by the awards program. How exactly do judges decide who the “best” is though? The following five points will give you an insight as to what a typical judge looks for.

1. Give Background Information

While it does not go into the scoring of a judge, background information is a great way to humanize your nominee. It gives huge insight for a judge as to why this person is being nominated. It only gets you closer to the end result you want to achieve.

2. Visuals Add to Your Information

Adding components such as photographs and videos can be the best way for judges to understand what your nominee has accomplished. They also can help a judge get a sense of the community aspects of some awards. However, judges are very good at seeing through a visual that is merely production value, so make sure your visual contains an ample amount of substance.

3. They Look at Your Format and Grammar

What is written on a nomination is really all a judge has to make a decision. It tells the story of what your nominee is, and why a judge should choose your nominee. When a nomination is not written clearly, it can interfere with the message you are trying to make to a judge. It must be written with the focus that someone will be reading it, and should be clear and concise. Otherwise, a judge may distort what you are trying to say.

4. They Want to See How Your Nominee is Unique

No matter what field you are submitting in, your nominee has to stand out from the rest. Like a high school senior writing his or her essay to prospective colleges, your nomination cannot be just like the others. A judge wants to see the value of your nominee in their field, and how their accomplishments are different.

5. A Judge Can Only Go by the Criteria

As I have said, adding background information is a great way to enhance your nomination. However, this cannot be the focus of your nomination. A judge has a list of criteria, and the items on that list are the only factors that go into their decision. Answer all the questions that a judge needs the answer to, and make them your main points and focus.

Want to learn more about what goes into running an awards program? Download our guide!

Photo: Michael Coghlan via Flickr

Timothy Spell co-founded OpenWater in 2007 with the goal of helping organizations tackle and better manage the oftentimes overlooked awards and contests industry. As an author and speaker in the awards industry, Timothy provides unique insight on how to use awards to boost membership, social media followers and search engine traffic.

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