This Thursday is the IT Training Awards evening, always a glamorous and enjoyable affair organised by the IITT. This time a year ago I was named Instructional Designer of the Year 2010, and based on my experience I’d encourage everyone to put their best work forward for an award.
These are the top three benefits I’ve experienced over the past year as a result of winning.
- Higher profile
Before winning, I was ‘Stephanie from Saffron’, known to my company’s clients but not many others – and I was fine with that. But afterwards, my individual profile in the industry grew and grew. I didn’t even really have to do anything myself to make that happen: the awards organisers publicise the winners and, of course, there’s the inevitable post-event chit-chat online. And of course the increased profile leads to new opportunities – whether that’s job opportunities, invitations to write or speak, or anything else.
- Quality network
Both attending the awards ceremony and the increased profile as a result of winning represent great opportunities to build a quality network. For example, I’ve gained a mentor who can help me build on my success and make the most of the opportunities available to me. I’ve also built relationships with several other people whose advice I value greatly. It was one of those people who urged me to join Twitter and set up my own blog, both of which I did and both of which have in turn grown my network, again opening up new opportunities and contributing to my ongoing learning and development.
- Improved confidence
Last but not least, don’t underestimate the importance of the confidence boost that winning an award provides. It’s external validation that you’re doing something right, that other people are interested in your work, and that you’ve got a valuable contribution to share. Sometimes that confidence boost is all the encouragement you need to put yourself out there more on the web, to say yes to speaking (or other) opportunities and to push yourself even further.
Often simply being shortlisted, even if you don’t actually win, is enough to start seeing some of the benefits. If you’ve got a good story to tell, I would really encourage you to put your work forward for the recognition you think it deserves.