Vie's Inn of Wonders' Awards

Article: the Art of Laudatio

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As an award giver we go with each applicant through a process of review until we come to the point of "Eureka! We have a winner!"

We then all open our e-mail browser and start writing. But writing what? The fact is that it's not only those shiny plaques with gold, silver or bronze on them that makes the award seeker proud, nor is it those shiny rating badges, we, as award givers, like to stress on so much. (although those have their importance too without any doubt if we're really honest)

No my friends, the way you communicate your message, as a judge or as an award giver, is equally, if not more important as to what award seekers are really looking for in regards to recognition and/or appraisal.

Now is this an easy task? Most definitely not! More and more we see hollow phrases as: "Good navigation! Nice design!" or "Your site is a wonderful contribution to the world wide web." repeated infinitely with each winner till hell freezes over.
These are not comments that willsquadron-steamroller warm an applicant's heart! They will not make them feel overcome with joy and pride! An applicant is not a foolish being that cannot see the difference between genuine, unique wording and parrot-talk!

A real laudation, one as it is meant to be... is unique. A one of a kind piece, tailored precisely to the applicant's profile. Just as a suit on Savil Row. The making of such is without any doubt more demanding then the review itself was or can ever be.

How do we write such masterpieces, I hear you ask? Only after thorough planning and clear reflection, can this task be done. The most important step, obviously, is to seek the best in the applicant's site by extracting all positive elements one by one. You then interlink these in an article that will feel as an angel's touch to the applicant and in which YOUR opinion as the award reviewer and giver, can be clearly heard. A unique opinion, just as that applicant's site is to the next.

Here are a few examples from my own award program, Vie's Inn of Wonders' Awards. I do like to point out that these examples are not a universal truth. Laudations are the outcome of a single award review, made in direct relationship with that award program's purpose and criteria. So please see these examples only as guides that can tailor your own words.

Example 1: The Santharian Dream

What were the positive elements that I found? Obviously you can talk about the nice design and navigation... But I, as a big fan of fantasy-literature, was most impressed by the concept behind it: creating a full fantastic world with people, places, magic and more... So this is what the laudation turned out to be:

"Saying I was impressed to see an entire fantasy world erupt online, wouldn't anywhere come close the truth. The details on every aspect of this world, the graphics...In short: the entire concept clearly shows that this site was able to recreate fantasy literature at its absolute peak! I am an admirer from now on..."

Example 2: Seacology

What impressed me most here is the fact that it's an ecological site. I always had the feeling that ecology on the web is falling a bit behind. So I decided to make that the topic of the laudation. But the site's main issue is islands, so you have to take that in account as well. The rest followed automatically:

"It pleases me enormously to still find sites that occupy themselves with ecology in a society that seems to focus itself more and more on industrial progress. Protecting our Earth goes hand in hand with protecting our environment and all living creatures (both human an otherwise). And protecting our islands, the last true strongholds of pure nature and tranquillity, belongs definitely to that protection plan. So this is a site that has my full support!"

Writing such is not easy ... Several drafts will probably have to be made during the evaluation and afterwards, to really get that true, sincere touch. But in the end it's this kind of laudatio that will make the real difference...

Please think about this next time you write another winner.

Written By Tony Duthoo
© Tony Duthoo, 2004. All rights reserved.
This article may not be reproduced, in part or full, without the permission of the author

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