Sunday, 6 March 2016

Down the Rabbit Hole: 8 Survival Tips

Don't get me wrong, I remain utterly delighted at being nominated by my peers for the 2016 Visit England Tourism Superstar Award. I was even more thrilled to make the national shortlist of only eleven finalists. 
But trying to win the contest by public vote was like someone throwing you a surprise party, then telling you it was up to you to ensure people came.

The situation: I found myself plonked in the middle of a campaign to get people to vote for me. I am competitive. It was public. I wanted to impress; I wanted to win. Failing that, I wanted to absolutely do everything I could to give it my best shot.

Flipside: I wanted to appeal to the broadest possible section of the public with amusing videos so they voted for me. 
I also desperately wanted people to understand that I do really good educational work with vulnerable people, school children and museum visitors, and actually, really and truly I'm not just a performing monkey who turns up, talks funny and pulls faces. Honest.

How did it go? Well, I'm still here! And I learnt a lot- so here are my 8 Survival Tips for Award Nominees!

Survival Tip #1 : When you are landed in the middle of something like that, the sooner you realise you can't control much -if any- of it, the better. Chill out. 

Survival Tip #2 : Let the marketing people do their thing. Whatever you might think should be happening, remember, they are the experts, not you. Let it go. 

Survival Tip #3 : Work out the areas you can have an impact on, and go for it, all guns blazing, full tilt. I concentrated on the social media end of the campaign: Moaning Martha's Facebook page,  @Moaning_Martha on Twitter, and Moaning Martha's YouTube channel

Survival Tip #4 : Work out what's in it for you. There might be a perspex trophy and a lot of back-slapping if you win, but try to think more broadly. What skills will you learn in the process? Will it be useful for your future career path? Or will you just sit back and enjoy the ride?

Survival Tip #5 : Work out what's in it for others. The outcome for my employers was a profile boost for a specific project, and to increase networking opportunities nationally. One outcome for the organising body, Visit England, was to help publicise National Tourism Week. An outcome for the hosts, The Daily Mirror, was to increase traffic to their web page...and so on. Understand it's not all about you! (sorry).   

Survival Tip #6 : Don't obsess about the competition. Yeah, right. Good luck with that one. 

Survival Tip #7 : Don't panic about annoying your friends on social media by going on and on about this one thing endlessly. Decent friends will realise how important it is to you, vote for you, interact when they feel like it and then let it all wash over them until the result is announced. Then they'll say lovely supportive things. Well, mine did, anyway.

Survival Tip #8 : Don't take it personally if you don't win. Weep, rant, go for a run, whatever- then refer back to Tips #4 and #5, and get back to work. There are people starving in the world for goodness sake. It's just an award. It was great you were nominated. You learnt stuff. Update your CV and move on!

Did I take my own survival advice? You might think so... I couldn't possibly comment...

Oh- and by the way- you know in a previous post I said about every vote counting? I came third in this particular competition; the person who came second only got TWO more votes than me. That's life!

PS Enjoy short, regular updates on Twitter- @WhatQueenieDid or on Facebook- QueenieLives. Do come and say hello!