How to Create an Award-Winning Presentation

Business Awards

By Donna O’Toole

How to Create an Award-Winning Presentation

To be in with a chance of winning awards you may be asked to present in front of a panel of judges.

On top of writing high quality award entries our team of experts’ craft exceptional awards presentations for our clients and we even coach presentation teams on how to win.

Unfortunately, we can’t do the actual presentation – that’s where you come in!

Read our top six tips on how to create an award-winning presentation and find out how we achieve an outstanding 88% win rate for our clients.

It’s all in the planning

It all comes back to the classic saying ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail,’ and your awards presentation is no different.

We suggest finding out as much as you can about the presentation process at the beginning. For example, how long you are expected to present for, is there time allowed for judges’ questions, what equipment will be provided and most importantly, what does the marking criteria look like?

Now that you have all the facts you can move on to deciding who should be part of the presentation team, what content you need to include, and how much evidence you need to collect to pull together a great presentation.

Presentation Tools

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all presentation tool, it’s all in how you use your time and tools effectively.

Some teams prefer to stand in front of the judges and give an impassioned speech about their business with little use of a presentation. We find this works well with an experienced speaker who knows how to grab an audience’s attention and keep it. But the spotlight is very much on you, so you need to know the project like the back of your hand.

Video always works well in a presentation, it breathes life into your story for the judges, but don’t use it as an excuse to fill time. Every minute you are presenting should be to gain more and more points from the judges. The same can be said for any media included – it needs to be point scoring and valid to the category and criteria.

It’s wise to have a plan B if you are using a video or any technology for your presentation, then if something goes wrong the presentation team should be able to get the same message across without panicking. So if you are making a PowerPoint presentation, bring printouts of your slides, and save the presentation on a memory stick that can be used on any computer.

Death by PowerPoint

Have you ever had to sit through a PowerPoint presentation that seems to go on forever? Us too! But sadly, ‘death by PowerPoint’ is an easy mistake to make in an awards presentation.

It’s near impossible for the judges to simultaneously read information on a slide, listen to you talking, and take that information in well enough to create a score against a list of criteria. Think of your presentation as a visual aid and enhancement to what you’re saying. It should be bold, simple, clear, and concise.

If you want to learn more about ‘Death by PowerPoint,’ and how to avoid it, take a look at
David JP Phillips TED talk here.

Your Presentation A-Team

Choosing your presentation team may seem like a trivial task but it’s important to know who will be representing your business from the start.

There are several factors to consider when selecting your team; the category you have entered, who is available on the judging day, who knows the project or business best, who is confident in speaking and answering questions.

For example, if you are entering an award for recognition for a leader or team you should make sure those people are available to present or at least join after the presentation for the Q+A. Or if you are entering an industry or discipline-specific category it would be ideal to have people who know the business well. In both instances the judges could ask very specific questions and you need to have the best people in the room to answer them and gain more points.

And remember everyone in the team needs to have something to say and bring value to the presentation. Don’t think you’ll get away with bringing someone to stand there and look pretty or give the talkative, confident team member all the lines – the judges will see through it.

Create your Winning Content

By now you should know what the judging criteria is asking for, know how you’re going to create your presentation, and you know who’s in your team – so it’s time to create your content.

When we’re crafting an awards presentation we keep a few things in mind; how long the presentation is allowed to be, what the judges already know from the written entry, and what the judging criteria is.

We use the criteria to structure the content, making sure we address each point as part of a bigger-picture story.

Aristotle’s quote is the perfect presentation template;

“Tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Then tell them what you told them.” – Aristotle.

This means to start with an impactful introduction, outlining the story you are about to tell and the conclusion it will lead to. Then highlight the important points, objectives, the actions you have taken and the results. Use a compelling story framework keeping in mind the criteria and ensuring each criteria point is clearly signposted and fully answered.

The middle section of your presentation is where you can include video or images to make an emotional connection with the judges and get them to really remember you. Don’t forget to evidence all your results too!

As you conclude your presentation, reiterate your biggest results, your ultimate achievements and end with a passionate, rewarding and positive conclusion.

Present with Confidence

Our tips for building presentation confidence are based on the four Ts;

  • TED
  • Team
  • Transport
  • Technology

We highly recommend watching a variety of TED talks, either giving advice on how to present with confidence or on a subject that interests you. TED speakers are infamous for giving powerful, emotive speeches and captivating their audiences – so where better to get some presenting tips from than watching the pros?

You might have picked the greatest team, but without the opportunity to rehearse and iron out any sticking points they’re not going to win. This is where video rehearsals will be your greatest assets.

Once the lines are learned and the order figured out, it’s time to press record.

First listen to the audio, are you loud enough? Too quick? Too slow? Too boring? Or are you um-ing and ah-ing far too often? The audio will catch this, and you can adjust as appropriate.

Next look at the video footage, is there any fidgeting or strange body movements? Are you using up the space well on the ‘stage’? Are there any sly looks between teammates you didn’t realise you were doing? Now’s your chance to fix these issues before the big day.

Don’t leave the transport and logistics of the judging day to the last minute. If you want to be confident on the day you need to be calm and relaxed so don’t allow a delayed train to get you in a flap! Arrive with plenty of time to spare and you will be able to keep yourself calm and collected.

Finally, we all know how it feels when technology lets us down just as we need it. We recommend making sure you have the right equipment for the day (leads, cables, speakers etc.) and that you are confident using it.

Always have a back-up plan. For example, if the presentation can’t be played have printouts of the slides ready for the judges to see, or if you an example product or prop to use make sure you have spares in case of breakages or loss.

If you are ever in doubt about what you need always contact the awards organiser, they want to make your experience as smooth as possible.

Need a hand?

If you have a presentation coming up or have a draft presentation and would like some guidance and coaching to give you the best chance of winning contact us. Our team of experts can craft your award-winning presentation and coach you to win.


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