The Joy of Entering the 2010-2011 Summit Competition

photo of cherry blossoms and Washington Monument
Photo Credit: Kristen Sweet

Entry Deadline: 19 November, 7 p.m. Eastern Time
Rules and Entry Form: http://wdcb.stcwdc.org/prof-dev/competition/

In the fall, many STC chapters hold local technical communication competitions. The chapters send all Distinguished and Excellence winners in the local competitions to the STC international-level competition, which is now named the “STC International Summit Awards”. This post is continuing our tradition of presenting some reasons that you might enjoy entering the STCWDC Summit Competition.

Would you like to be an award-winning technical communicator?

For those of you who haven’t entered before, let me explain the basics. STC competitions recognize and encourage excellence in online communication, technical art, and technical publications. Our competition receives entries from DC, Maryland, and Virginia, as well as from other states and from other countries. Washington, DC metropolitan area experts gather to evaluate the entries in the competition. The judges provide written feedback on the strengths or weaknesses of each entry with reference to a standard in each category. The judges make recommendations that you may apply in future endeavors.

Some of the joys of entering are the pride you have in putting forth your best work, the validation you feel by being measured against the highest standards in our profession, and the opportunity to receive a knowledgeable and thoughtful critique of your entry. As an entrant, you are proud of your accomplishments. You and the judges realize that the final entry represents months of planning, writing, editing, and publishing. Submitting a publication or online entry is a great way to keep growing in a fast-paced industry. Having your decisions and standards recognized by industry experts is real insider validation!

As an entrant, you’ll be invited to the Awards Celebration, where all winning entries will be displayed. You will be able to see what others in our field are producing. The Awards Celebration is also the place to network with the technical communication community.

What can be entered?

Technical, scientific, medical, or similar content for external or internal audiences produced or revised within 24 months preceding 1 September 2010. These include Web sites, blogs, journals, teaching material, computer software and hardware manuals, illustrations of equipment, and online help for software applications. Entries may also include marketing and PR material from a technical organization such as brochures, corporate identity, newsletters, annual reports, policies and procedures, and employee guides.

Changes from previous competitions you will like

In previous years, we used to hold three separate competitions depending on media. These were combined into one competition with just four categories:

  1. Informational Materials
  2. Instructional Materials
  3. Promotional Materials
  4. User Support Materials

Other changes in the competition include

  • PDF files: Entries, including Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) files, are accepted in any category regardless of media or format. PDF files do not need to be printed out.
  • Entries by full-time students that have been prepared for and accepted for publication may now go on to the international-level competition. (Student entries that have not been prepared for and accepted for publication will be accepted in the chapter’s competition only.)
  • Both Excellence and Distinguished winning entries will be sent on to the international-level competition.

Now is the time to submit your best work to the scrutiny of your fellow professionals. Consider what you want to enter and get it prepared. Competition rules and entry forms are at http://wdcb.stcwdc.org/prof-dev/competition/

Good luck!

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Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication. STC member since 1974.