Glitzy construction, architecture and design awards ceremonies, held at the Ritz Carlton in Dubai or Abu Dhabi’s Sheraton, may be off the immediate radar.

Large gatherings of architects, engineers and interior designers could come back in the coming months – no one really knows and making a guess would be unwise, to say the least.

But that doesn’t mean competitions and awards aren’t out there. They may be online and the backslapping might be virtual, but they still have a meaning and impact.

Being Engineer of the Year, Young Interior Designer, or winning the Middle East Sustainable Project Award looks good on any personal CV or company profile.

It lets the industry know an individual or business is a force to be reckoned with, and cannot help but bring in more business. Plus a shiny trophy can decorate the studio boardroom or reception.

The Middle East is a particularly fruitful area for such competitions. It’s a fast moving location for the design and build industry with a worldwide reputation for forward thinking.

Projects in places such as Dubai achieve industry coverage across the world. So winning recognition for individual excellence or collective accomplishment in the region can be a major benefit on the global stage.

Six ways to boost your chances

Firstly pick your award and the right category. And make sure your application fits the criteria. If it says you need a 400 word outline to be submitted, keep to that figure. If a project needs to be fully completed don’t send in one which only has been up and running for a month. It’s always tempting to go for a major award. But maybe there is a smaller, more specialised section within the competition. That one is most likely to attract fewer entries, so the corresponding chance of winning is greater.

Study past winners. See who and what has been successful before, is there a pattern which emerges? And can you see yourself standing alongside previous successful entrants?

Look at the judges. Who is on the panel? What are they likely to look most favourably on? Maybe get to know them on social media. That way they will be more familiar with you and your work.

Take care over your application. Ensure all the grammar and spelling is correct, it’s always best to get someone to check over any entry. Some companies have marketing specialists who do this professionally, but it never hurts to have another pair of eyes take a look.

Be original and tell your story to the full. So many entries to any design award will contain words such as “innovative”, “sustainable”, “solutions” and all the other industry buzzwords. So explain. If a project is sustainable how is that achieved? Does it use local materials? Is it illuminated by natural light? The greater detail the better, and visuals or graphics always help judges get a clear idea of the real value of any entry.

Make a movie part of the package. As part of the submission a video can go along way towards showing the judges exactly what it is you are highlighting, whether it’s a tour around a project, a statement of intent to camera, or a look at the discussion which results in a final concept. A study by Social Media Today found that viewers retain 95 per cent of any message when seen on video, while 59 per cent of executives prefer watching a video to reading. And according to digital analysts Cisco, video will make up 81 per cent of internet traffic this year.


Boosting business and forging team spirit

And there is another factor – pitting the wits and expertise of a studio against its competition is a great way to promote teamwork and establish a feeling of collective endeavour.

And a win just makes that even stronger. More business comes in, talent stays with a winning team and morale goes through the roof.

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