Tell a story (how to get an OBE)

By March 6, 2014April 25th, 2014No Comments

The art to drawing in an audience is telling a story. It’s something I’ve been doing recently in writing Queen’s Honours nominations for some very worthy people who are being put forward for OBEs and knighthoods.

You may not know that Honours don’t always come floating down from the Palace (via Downing Street) to the great surprise of those receiving the gong.


Many are nominated by business colleagues, friends or family (some even put themselves forward, though strictly speaking the process is supposed to be confidential.)

Nominations go to a jury of experts and frankly some of the forms submitted are mighty dull, little more than a dry and dusty list of dates of posts and achievements like an extended CV.

Storytelling is a great way to communicate

Telling a story, weaving the background of the individual into their successes, charting the obstacles they have overcome and how they have learned from their mistakes, introducing colourful anecdotes from their past … all this makes for a much more compelling case. Why? Because it is human, and a far more interesting read for the judges.

One client who was recognised in the New Year’s Honours told me afterwards: “It came as a complete shock that I could get an honour as high as a CBE.”


How to win business awards

The same approach goes for entries to business awards, and also for every way a business communicates with its customers, in blogs, on a website or in a brochure.

Tell a story and draw your readers in. Let them feel they know a bit about you. Give them something to care about.

Put the best bits at the beginning. After all, captivating biographies don’t start with, ‘He was born in 1956’ but with a turning point in the subject’s life, a moment of high drama.

If you’d like to know more about professional help in preparing an Honours or business awards nomination, take a look at



I’m Lesley Hussell and my job is to bring some copywriting magic to your business, so you sell more, inspire your staff or spread your message far and wide. You’ll want to know how I measure up against other copywriters you’re considering, and whether I’m good enough to be trusted with your brand. If you’re looking for quick wit, creative thinking and a flair for compelling content writing.