With great excitement you've paid your pageant fee and have received your information packet from the director. Woo Hoo! But wait…what's all this paperwork? "Oh well, I'll read it later", you might say as you toss it onto the huge paper pile in the corner, or if it's digital, put it in the "to read later" folder. You eagerly jump into your car and head to the nearest mall to begin shopping for your pageant wardrobe. You find some really cute things on clearance and buy them on the spot.
Weeks go by and you receive an email from your director informing you that she hasn't received your necessary paperwork yet and it's due tomorrow.What? You had to send in additional stuff? Now you're in panic mode. Where's that paperwork , you say to yourself as you frantically hunt for it. Alright, you found it.
Great, this will just take a few minutes and you'll be done … so you think. That is until you start reading what's in the paperwork. Come to find out, there's $500 due to pay for a mandatory ad page which needs to be printer ready in digital format and there are mandatory tickets sales. Where are you going to come up with the money? Plus, you have no idea how to create an ad page on your computer.
Then, you see a sheet that says judge's bio ( or contestant fact sheet). It's asking you to list all of your career information, awards, hobbies, community service, church activities, and why you want to be "Miss All That and More". Your mind goes completely blank. You can't remember anything important to put on the paper. Worse yet, upon reading the wardrobe guidelines, you realize the outfit you bought for interview isn't appropriate for the pageant. Since you bought it on clearance and can't take it back, you have to go shopping again. Ugh!
I wish I could say this was an exaggeration of what happens, but I've had too many last minute calls from panicked clients saying "HELP ME" who were in the situations I just painted.
Read every piece of material sent to you from the director before you do or buy anything. You've heard the old saying, haste makes waste. Well, in pageantry that haste could cost you hundreds of dollars and waste priceless time if you aren't clear on what is expected of you. You must have a clear understanding of the clothing guidelines and the dates you need to have things turned in. Take out your calendar and put big red circles around the dates the director needs the materials. That doesn't mean that you should mail them in on that day. Materials need to be in the directors' hands by the dates that are indicated. If the directors extend their deadline dates, that another story. It's your personal responsibility to meet their deadlines.
If you have your personal information and records organized before the pageant, creating a professional bio full of substance and free of errors is easy and enjoyable. Your paperwork makes your first impression with the pageant staff and judges. Poor grammar and misspelled words may be acceptable on Twitter or Face book; but not in a pageant. Allow several weeks and many drafts to do a thorough job on your paperwork.
This information is not only important for a pageant; but also when you’re applying for colleges, jobs, scholarships and membership to organizations or boards. Quantifiable information about you will expedite your desired results. Everyone should have an up to date resume, or bio, created regardless of their age.
Yes, a 7 year old child's bio is not going to look the same as a married woman's; but mothers, your ability to document your children's lives will reap benefits in so many ways. Start today if you haven't already begun.
Here are three of my recommendations.
Have a separate composition book for each member of your family. This will be the chronological journal where the entries are listed in order. In this book jot down the detailed facts (who, what, when, where, how many, why) of what happens in the areas of family, education, community, organizations, sports, grades, recognitions, awards, accomplishments, church, service, and career.
For example, if Sally went door to door in her community collecting old candles and blankets for the homeless shelter; count and write down how many candles and blankets were collected, how long it took her to collect them, which shelter she took them to and take a picture of her boxing them up to take to the shelter. Document your travels in the same way. Some days you may not have an entry. That's ok. Just write down events while they're still fresh in your mind.
- Have a three ring binder of 8 ½ x 11 plastic protector sheets to store your certificates, test scores, programs, newspaper clippings and paper documentation. Again, one for each family member. You can keep
this in chronological order as well if you want to keep things simple. The point is to have all of the loose documentation in one place. It's easy to access, move around and reorganize into different categories depending on your needs.
- Have an accordion organizer for each family member. Here you can store photos until you put
them in an album. Purchase one that is photo safe so if you lose track of time, your photos won't prematurely fade. You can put special greetings cards and other mementos in here too.
I also scan ribbons and artwork. For three dimensional projects, trophies, medals, and things too big to scan, I'll take pictures of them. When the appreciation time is over, we recycle the object to get rid of the physical clutter; but have a permanent memory of it in a more manageable format. When these things are saved digitally, you can easily create 8x10 photo collages to show with your paper documentation.
This is extremely helpful if you're doing optional academic or community service competitions. Not to be redundant, but you're going to need all of this information when it comes time to apply to colleges anyway. Do yourself a huge favor, and start now.
If you're a stay-at-home mom, quantify and document your life, too. You may reenter the work force (or enter a pageant) at some point, and all those volunteer hours at the school, church or Boy Scouts will come in handy.
Putting together pageant paperwork is one of my favorite things to do. If you're having issues with this, ask for help. Contact me and we can get you on your way to having pageant perfect paperwork.
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A note from Steve:
Six weeks into the fitness challenge and Steve's waist has gone from 42"to 40". How are you doing with the goal you've set? We have eight weeks left in 2010. What do you want to accomplish before you ring in the New Year? Put a date on that goal.
Rhonda Shappert is an expert pageant coach, an iPEC Certified Professional Coach, an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner, and a member of the International Coach Federation. She created Winning Through Pageantry® to partner with pageant contestants and their support people to provide complete pageant preparation, achieve winning results in life through pageantry, and to Succeed From The Inside Out®.
She has over 30 years experience in the pageantry world as a contestant, judge, emcee, staff member, mother of daughters who compete, Mrs. Ohio America 2005, and has held multiple titles at the local, state and national levels.
Rhonda graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors degree in Musical Theater from The Ohio State University and has performed on stage in 15 countries on the Asian, European and American continents. This mother of three home educates their children and has been married 21 years to her husband Stephen, is the former mayor of her community, and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Virtual Academy. She and her husband perform original contemporary Christian music. Their music CD entitled Cana is available through www.cdbaby.com/cd/shappert or on her website. For more information on Rhonda, visit www.WinningThroughPageantry.com .
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