Top tips for a winning Wave Award Submission

Back to Blogs By Jane Campbell Posted: February 27, 2024

Five Wave awards are lined up in a row

Ahoy communicators! The nomination period for the 2024 Wave Awards is now open. 

The Wave Awards are IABC/BC’s signature awards program, recognizing our chapter’s exceptional communications professionals and volunteers.

I won a Wave Award in 2017 and it remains one of the highlights of my career. Being recognized by my fellow communicators was a huge confidence boost – not to mention a shiny new line on my resume.

If you’re thinking about possibly submitting a nomination this year, please go for it! I can tell you from personal experience that an hour or two of work on your part will stay with the person you nominate for years to come. 

I’m currently serving as the IABC/BC’s Director of Awards. I’ve also judged the Wave Awards twice and will be a judge again this year. 

If you’re working on nomination this year, here’s some advice for how to make your submission stand out to the judges:

  1. Examples, examples, examples!
    The most successful nomination packages use lots of specific examples to show judges why the nominee’s work stands out. Instead of writing, “Joe Communicator is extremely creative,” tell us about a project where Joe’s outside-the-box ideas were the key to success.
  2. Read the award criteria.
    All that text at the top of the nomination form? It’s not just filler! Judges consult the award criteria when making their decisions. A nominee can be a very successful communicator, but if their nomination package doesn’t make the case that they meet the criteria of the award, they may lose out to someone who does. 
  3. If it’s not in the nomination, it doesn’t count.
    In the interest of fairness, judges only consider the information in the nomination package when making their decision. You may think that everyone in the field knows about Sally Smith’s multi-award winning awareness campaign – and maybe we do! – but if it’s not in the nomination package, we can’t take it into account. Don’t assume your nominee’s reputation will do your work for you. 
  4. When it comes to testimonials, think different.
    The Making Waves award, the Lighthouse award and the SAIL award all require a testimonial about the nominee as part of the nomination package. The most successful testimonials give the judges a perspective on the nominee that the person who wrote the rest of the nomination package isn’t able to offer. For example, if you’re nominating your direct report, consider getting a testimonial from someone she supervises. If you’re nominating your boss, consider getting a testimonial from your nominee’s boss or from a client. 

We know putting together a successful nomination takes time and care, so this year we’re adding a little recognition for a lucky nominator. Everyone who submits a nomination will be entered to win a $25 gift card of their choice. 

The deadline for this year’s Wave Awards is Monday, March 8. Get nominating!


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