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Beacon Award Blog » Fran Gladden on Writing a Great Three-Page Summary
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Fran Gladden on Writing a Great Three-Page Summary

Posted in Beacon Awards at 7:00 am by admin

Fran Gladden, vice president, government & public affairs for Cox Communications, knows a few things about writing a good three-page summary: last year, she won in three categories. Teamwork, a strong understanding of her projects’ strengths, keeping the Beacon Awards guidelines in mind as a project is planned, and confidence are a few of the characteristics with which Gladden approaches writing a three-page summary. Here are a few of her tips on writing a successful summary:

Selecting the right category for your entry is the first step to success. Use teamwork and honestly evaluate your options:
“As a team, we discuss programs from the past year that were both creative and had a great impact. We focus our discussion on the goals and outcomes and choose those projects that are compelling to enter. We carefully read the categories and see where there is a natural fit. We made a conscience effort not to ‘force’ entries into categories. Several times we’ve had entries that would compete against each other in the same categories. In those cases, we have a courageous discussion about the merits of each entry and ‘pre-judge’ them against each other to select the strongest for submission.”

Approach your summary like a stranger:
“Write the summary like you’ve never heard of our industry, your market/city, the problem you addressed, or your subject matter. And, have people who are not in your department read your final draft. If they scratch their heads, the judges will too. Chances are, the judges will be from diverse parts of the industry and may or may not know the nuance of your role. Even more likely, they don’t know about the character of your community, the problems that may be unique to your service area, or the subtleties of your subject. You need to educate and make it easy for them to understand the where, why and how. It’s also a good idea to follow the Beacon entry guidelines with regard to headings and such. It keeps the flow going.”

Keep it simple and focused:
“Stating the problem, the goal at the onset and the outcomes in their simplest form makes a great project summary. If you add nothing more than these three things, it keeps it short, simple and easy for someone to say, ‘Wow.’”

Think of the Beacon Awards entry guidelines as you plan your project:

“In some ways, Beacons changed the way that we approach and document projects as they go along. We often catch ourselves saying ‘make sure to get (pictures, facts, figures, exit interviews) they’ll be great for a Beacon entry.’ The fact is this information helps us make the case for our programming to internal and external audiences throughout the year. Knowing in the back of our minds that there is a goal of entering a Beacon forces us to think critically throughout the planning and execution of the program.”

Even if it’s your first time, have confidence:
“Be fearless and proud. Don’t be afraid to enter programs that have been successful both with internal and external stakeholders. It’s worth taking the time to submit because a winning entry is great for internal morale, as well as external validation.”

Check out Fran Gladden’s Beacon Award-winning summaries for Crisis Communications, Events and Observances, and Media Relations in the members-only portion of the ACC Web site.

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