Entering awards can be tough, but that’s a given. You’re putting yourself, your team and your practice under the micoscope, hoping that your peers will recognise the hard work you’ve put in the last year – and in your career – and deem you worthy of a national award.
That’s a lot of pressure – particularly if you’ve never entered awards before, or even if this is your third time entering and you want to bring something new to the mix.
But it’s true when they say that putting together a submission will help you re-focus your practice vision, or evaluate your clinical work up until now. If you’ve not read Stephen Murray’s assessment of compiling submissions over the last three years on page 14, then do – it proves that even if you don’t win, your team will feel like they have.
Here, we’ve collated a guide to help you figure out what it is you want to include in your submission, and what it is you don’t.
What to include
Firstly, check the category guidelines. This is the best place to start if you’re feeling a bit lost; the guidelines have been put together by the judging panel and awards team specifically to help you. If you are entering more than one category, it’s best not to assume that all guidelines are the same. Ensure you provide all the information asked for in every submission you put together.
Each category requires 750 words to explain why your practice is a contender. The most important things to include for most (if not all) submissions are:
• Before and after photos – if they are clinical, ensure they are your best work; all photos must be high quality
• Evidence – teamwork, charity work, case studies, community involvement, marketing plans or literature, supporting documentation or media (such as videos)
• Patient or team testimonials – these can never hurt; they show that your practice has a successful relationship with patients, so much so that asking them to write a supporting testimonial is no trouble at all.
Begin by introducing yourself, providing a few precise points as to why you deserve to triumph. Depending on your choice of category, carry on by detailing your unique selling points as a person or practice, and any original business or marketing perspectives. Always support your arguments – if you discuss your team’s elation at the new appointment system installed, why not ask a couple of team members to explain how this has improved relations with patients, or invigorated team morale?
Remember: be specific and be clear. Don’t assume the judges know about you or your practice – what is included in your submission is what will count towards your entry. Read and re-read – check for spellings and errors, and make sure your entry reflects the high standards of your work and practice.
• Best New Practice
• Best Patient Care
• Best Employer
• Best Team
• Best Referral Practice
• Best Child Friendly Practice
• Best High Technology Practice
• Most Attractive Practice
• Most Invaluable Team Member
• Most Improved Practice
• Best Treatment of Nervous Patients
• Best Community or Charity Project
• Irish Dentistry’s Rising Star Award
• Practice of the Year.
The importance of clarity
If you are struggling to look at your submission with fresh eyes, why not read it out aloud to your team or family? See how it fares if you had to present your entry in public – do you sound impressive? Would you be interested in your entry?
It’s important not to feel you have to pepper your submission with flowery language; your submission should reflect the overall feel of your practice. Above all, it should be simple, easy to read, clear yet precise – 750 words isn’t a lot of space, so make sure you get straight to the point.
Submitting your entry
To ensure submitting your entry is as easy as possible, there are a couple of ways you can go about it. Entries can be submitted on a USB stick and posted to us, or sent via an online file sharing service such as Dropbox or Wetransfer to email@example.com. Entries must be received by 14 September 2015.
Register your entry by 31 July to receive an early bird discount of €30 per category – 50% off the standard price!
For more information and to request an entry pack, call the awards team on +44 (0) 1923 851777, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit awards.irishdentist.ie.
Postal entries must be submitted to: Irish Dentistry Awards 2016, FMC, 1 Hertford House, Farm Close, Shenley, Herts, WD7 9AB, England.