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Damien Batey reflects on how entering an awards program, such as the IABC Gold Quills, can change the way we think about what we do.

You don’t have to look far for evidence of growing pressure throughout Australia’s corporate and government environments. Even as I write this, the Federal Government is steeling itself for the anticipated fallout from public service job cuts tied to the Federal Budget.

As professional communicators we can never be complacent… at least not in these times of constrained budgets and resources.          

Tough times further amplify the pressure for all of us to demonstrate the true value of what we do and prove how it is impacting real business outcomes. We must be resourceful and deliver work that is proven to build reputation, support growth and influence customers, regulators and other stakeholders.

When I reflect on what I need to do to increase my impact at work, I’m reminded of my experience in entering last year’s IABC Gold Quills.

I was with public relations agency Porter Novelli then and had developed an entry for a government client.

Having decided to enter close to the final deadline I downloaded an invaluable resource from IABC’s website on developing an award winning entry in 48 hours.

What followed was a frenetic race to the finish line and much lamenting over the rigorous application process with IABC Victoria’s previous president, Zora Artis, who was also developing a last minute entry.

Although it gave me some comfort to whinge about the highly detailed entry process I really had no right to complain. After all, the questions being asked of me through the entry forced me to focus on what all of us must do to ensure success – setting clear and measurable goals, demonstrating that any available resources were treated like gold, and perhaps the most liberating aspect of all – explaining what worked, what didn’t and what I learned.

It was a fantastic experience and I’m certain it’s made me a better communicator today. It reminded me of the importance of setting in place the planning and discipline needed to ensure my work contributes to things that really matter to my organisation.

I’ll be reflecting on that experience when we celebrate this year’s Bronze Quill Gala Dinner on June 3 (Victoria’s unique celebration of the Gold Quill awards) and the hard work, passion, dedication and exemplary results that make up this year’s record number of local winners.

The Gala provides a rare opportunity to celebrate all that’s great about our profession.  We will toast excellence in many forms – from crowning our inaugural IABC Victoria Communicators of the Year to a keynote presentation from one of the best and most successful professional communicators we’ve ever seen, Rob Hadler.

It’s bound to be a memorable night for many reasons and it’s not too late to buy your ticket.

Hopefully I’ll see you there.