communication for the real world

The Awards Event in Amsterdam, 5 February 2005

yellow tulips

Another Competition Done and Dusted

The 2004 edition of the Trans-European Technical Communications Competition completed smoothly once again last December under the capable guidance of this year’s Competition Manager, Jennifer O Neill. The results were collated, the entrants advised. All that remained was the awards supper held in a European city as an opportunity to meet in a social setting, reward ourselves for work well done, and distribute awards.

Last Year’s Try-outs in Belgium

Last year’s awards supper was held at the end of January in Brussels and, for the first time, added evening speakers to the programme. Victoria Koster-Lenhardt, Director-Sponsor for Region 2, presented on STC issues; I, last year’s winner in the newly-created Best Judging category, presented on the evaluation process. After the awards supper but before the awards were handed out, in front of a swaying and happy group of technical communicators, their friends, and lots of wine, we tried-out this new format: speakers at the awards event. (I’m relieved to say, and I’m sure you’ve already deduced, the result was positive.)

Fixing Scope and Finding a Location

When this year’s awards supper was being discussed, the idea was introduced to add a leadership element and a quality-evaluation element, workshops if possible, and a mini-conference quality to all of it. In other words, we would expand the event to last a day for presentations, and an evening for revelling.

With just over a month to complete the organisation, Amsterdam was established as this year’s city of choice and the date was set for Saturday, 5 February 2005. Victoria Koster-Lenhardt offered to lead three mini-workshop-style presentations over the morning; entrants and judges came forward to make afternoon presentations devoted to quality in technical communication, judging documentation in a second language, and developing winning documentation.

Having a Blast

The Awards Banquet, so elegantly named this year out of my dry and twisted sense of humour, is always just a big supper party. There are no ball gowns and no dinner jackets. There is no elevated sense of self-importance. On the contrary, it is a chance for all of us to let our hair down and feel the relief of another year’s dedication to the improvement of technical communication across Europe well done. Even the awards, handed out after supper, are given with somewhat wild hilarity, enthusiastic cheering, and an almost complete lack of pomp.

By the time the awards supper arrives, we are all in great need of it and ready to have a blast. This year being no exception, we ate, we drank, and we made merry until they packed up the chairs and tables and threw us out into the bar. There we continued, talking shop, telling stories, networking, and otherwise partying, until the bar closed.

Kudos for Volunteers

I accepted every offer of help I received and put all the volunteers to work at some task or other on the day. Tina Hoffman (UK), Patricia Kack (Montreal, Canada), Jennifer O Neill (Belgium), and Jonathan Hart (Netherlands) helped variously all day and made the event smooth and enjoyable for all.

Although I organised this almost-last-minute event pretty much single-handedly, having the support of a professional event organiser helped very much. My friend, Kristie Hall, of QED Productions ( walked me through the mini-conference/banquet process and made sure I knew which paths to take. Then, for the entire day of the event, she occupied the registration desk and liaised with hotel staff freeing me to be part of the event. A great help!

Next Year’s Event

Despite being a first try at something larger, this year’s event was a marvellous success. Attendees came from across Europe. A varied and engaging Day Event programme held everyone rapt. The Awards Banquet was a wonderful party.

In addition, we can now pass knowledge of the event process easily to the next organiser. As well, we can begin earlier to take the stress out of it, and to allow more people to plan to attend.

Mark your calendars for the upcoming year!

Competition Dates:

  • September—Call for Entries and Call for Judges.
  • October—Entries are collected.
  • November—Teams of judges examine the entries.
  • December—Results are announced.

Awards Event Dates:

  • October—Awards event date and venue are announced.
  • January (late in the month)—Awards Event and Banquet!

Want to know more about entering? Want to be involved as a judge?

Visit STC Europe