It seems that we cant look online these days without seeing another award ceremony taking place and someone winning the best entrepreneur, the best property, the best accountant (!) or best beer.
I'm definitely not knocking these awards. They are an entire industry in itself. In fact i think there should be an award for the best award ceremony.
The organisations running these know how to make a buck or two as well, offering free tickets for the 200 finalists across 50 categories (believe me these award ceremonies can go on for days) and then sell them tables at £1000 a go. Some entice with speakers and charge VIP tables at £10,000 a pop if you're desperate to meet the likes of George Clooney, Leonardo di Caprio or Richard Branson (which i was in a past life). Call me cynical if you like. I most certainly am.
However, there is also another side to these awards and I have seen this over the years. From early beginnings as president of Moray Business Women, I took it on myself to ramp up the annual awards and make it the focal point of the annual charity ball, going from one category to 3, so it was all about empowering women in business and celebrating their success.
I encouraged all members and local women in business to enter, and they did. i then selected 3 judges from outwith the local area to review each entry and judge on certain criteria, which they did. A business woman, bank manager and global entrepreneur. It was entirely fair and independent. Open to any scrutiny I could easily demonstrate that neither myself or the committee had any say in any of the finalists or winners.
It seems though today that this is not always the case. From companies offering to sponsor an award and then being linked to the winners, to judges knowing the entrants which could have a bias one way or another. I've seen first hand both of these scenarios.
Recently i was asked to be a judge at the Association of Scottish Business Women awards and I was delighted to take part. Myself and Nick Price who assisted me in the task of judging business of the year had a strict criteria to judge each business by and we had sit down interviews which frankly i think is the only way to find a real winner. Under questioning you can tell who knows they're shit and who really knows their shit!
And this is where it gets interesting, when a entrant uses their PR division or a PR person to fluff up an entry, how do you know where the truth finishes and the bullshit kicks in? Anyone can big themselves up on paper, its a little harder to do in front of a qualified panel of judges.
It might sound like I am knocking awards. I most definitely am not as I have a lovely cabinet full of them in our Head Office. They have helped me grow my business further and the advertising winning an award does for your business is priceless.
But i think organisers of these awards need to do them for the right reason. When I see the ASB using strict criteria, interviewing all finalists to check they are legitimate you know its an award worth winning or being a runner up in and not a money making scheme to profit off sponsors or table sales.
In true acceptance speech mode, I have rambled on enough so I would like to thank my mum, my dad and my dog Caley....... really though the moral of the story? Don't brush up on your acceptance speech unless you legitimately and honestly think you deserve it.