During the nine years we have supported entrepreneurship competitions we have seen hundreds of judges. Almost unanimously, judges are eager to provide their expertise, excited to participate in a competition, and possessing strong opinions. With that in mind, here are a few guidelines to help a judge prepare for the big day:
Remember that these entrepreneurs are real people, and in many cases, young students, and speak (or write!) with kindness and respect.
Many competition hosts make feedback submitted via the VentureDash platform available to entrepreneurs after the competition, so bear in mind the entrepreneur is likely to read exactly what you wrote - all the more reason to share specific ideas for improvement or brief comments.
Avoid distractions. Unless you are using it to run VentureDash, put your phone on silent and out of sight.
Constructive, specific criticism is key. Ask questions to draw the entrepreneur out, rather than making too many direct comments.
For more tips, see our “Best Practices for Judges,” written specifically for judges of the NetWork Kansas Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Series, but with advice applicable for any situation. And, don't forget to let us know *your* tips about how to be the best judge in the comments!
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