• Laura Rushton

8 Top Tips for Making a Winning Nomination - Nicola Simpson

Judge Nicola Simpson shares some handy hints & tips to help you make a winning nomination to NECCA 2020.





There are three important parts to making a successful nomination:

· Understanding where and how to make the nomination

· Meeting the entry criteria

· Bringing your nomination to life, in a way that represents the great work that you and your organization has done.


How to bring a nomination to life

This is where you are going to spend the majority of the time when you're writing your nomination. Your mission is not only to tell the judges about the nominee, but to make the judges curious to know more about you and your organization, so that you are invited to the next stage of the judging rounds. To do that, what you must absolutely do, is give the judges evidence of achievements. We really need to understand what has been achieved and how that's been achieved. Most importantly, the impact of those achievements.


We've split the nomination form into sections to make it easier for you. We've set plenty of space for you to include the impact on customer, colleague, company, and conduct. Please do try to demonstrate this very clearly. The winning individual will have demonstrated outstanding achievement in some or all of those criteria. Evidence can also include things like: key performance indicators or results, feedback from customers, colleagues, leadership, quotes, evidence of continued professional development recognition, beneficial to people and process and business (which is really valid at this point in time). That's not a definitive list at all, and it should actually be relevant to your organization, your journey and fit clearly with the story that you're trying to tell.

So, what are the top tips?


Plan, plan plan, please, please, please. If there's one request, DO take the time to read the detail for each category, be familiar with the toolkit and map out how your story and how you're going to tell your story, but also map out the evidence to support your story before choosing a category to enter, this will save you time. If your evidence doesn't backup the story that you're trying to tell, then you need to consider if that is the right story that you want to tell, or should it be in a different category? Sometimes nominees include provide data points and graphs, and they're great, but they're only actually telling part of the story or part of your journey. It is critical that you explain the impact. The benefit of acting early is you will have time to gather a compelling body of evidence, please plan that time in.


Meet the entry criteria. This is exactly as it says on the tin, the terms and conditions of entering which are on the first and second page of the nomination form. Things like using the appropriate amount of words and getting your line managers approval. Provide well evidenced and clear responses in each box.

Tell your story. Introducing a core narrative in your nomination can be a strong way to help the judges understand the impact and the outcomes achieved. Storytelling is very powerful, using real life case studies and examples that support your nomination will showcase your story.


Please don't be shy. And please don't assume that someone else in the industry is better than you bring those stories to life with evidence. Your job is to find the wow moment and focus on the word count to emphasize that, so use your word count carefully. There's not a one size fits all approach here, by definition each wow has to be unique to your organization and be precise and concise.


Keep it short and concise. Short and compelling is much better, use the language that makes it really easy for the judges to understand what you're trying to say. Don’t wander off your category. We're often tempted by the sector language; we have the management speak in jargon. Again, try not to use too much jargon on management clichés that may distract the judges from understanding the unique nature of your nomination.


Use numbers. We measure everything in our industry. So, figures and stats can really help to bring the story to life. They represent growth and progress, and they can tell a compelling story, especially when the partnered with impact. Please do that.

Don't make assumptions. We might all be in similar industries or have similar experiences, but please do not assume that we know your business. A great way to check this, and this is something that I've always done in nomination writing myself, is to share your nomination with someone who doesn't know your business (maybe a partner or a friend) and will be honest with you and tell you if it makes sense or not. Take the time and share with them the story that you're trying to tell, and they will tell you if it does or it doesn't tell the story.


Get personal. By that, I mean nominations really do have to come from the heart. They present your industry knowledge and reflect the specific circumstances, experience and achievements for your individuals and also from your organizations and have a wow factor. You need to show the judges why this year is the right year for you and your organization to enter.

It's as simple as that!

Nominations close at 5pm on 31 July. You can view the categories & criteria and download the toolkit here.

If you have any questions at all during the nomination or judging process, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team: hello@projects-studio.co.uk

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