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  • Writer's pictureMel W

Glossary of Business Awards Terms: A Neurodivergent Business Owner's Accessible Guide

Whether you're a seasoned award participant or a first-time entrant, this glossary is designed to empower you with the knowledge you need to navigate the Australian business awards circuit with ease.

A red carpet outside on a street, with silver bollards connected by red ropes.


Welcome to Mel Wrote It, where I celebrate the journey of business awards with accessibility and inclusivity at the forefront.

As a neurodivergent business owner, I understand the importance of creating an inclusive space and how overwhelming it can feel as there are a lot of moving parts to major events such as awards in Australia.

In this comprehensive glossary, I'll demystify the terminology commonly used in the business awards arena, keeping in mind the needs of neurodivergent individuals like me and first-time award entrants.

Remember, when it comes to business awards, your achievements deserve to be celebrated and recognized yet do not equate to your self-worth.


Let's delve into the comprehensive glossary of business awards terms, arranged alphabetically for your convenience:

Award Alumni: A cohort of earlier award winners from the same awards program, usually featured or listed on the awards website to highlight their accolades and projects or businesses. It can be useful to research earlier finalists and winners to see what kind of brands have won previously.

Award Circuit: The vibrant network of different award programs and events that businesses and individuals take part in to gain recognition and acclaim. By engaging in the awards circuit, businesses can elevate their brand, build credibility, and open new doors of opportunity.

Award Ceremony: A prestigious and/or formal event where winners are announced, and accolades are presented to outstanding individuals and businesses. The award ceremony is the culmination of hard work, dedication, and excellence.

Award Night: The pinnacle of excitement and celebration in the business awards journey. On this special evening, nominees and guests gather to honor the achievements of finalists and winners.

In almost all cases, the awards ceremony will be held in an evening and include a meal with drinks (alcohol options) and some form of entertainment. In some rare instances, this will be held during the daytime (usually based on venue hire constraints or following earlier attendee feedback, as venues can get booked out a year in advance in major cities).

Award Partner: An esteemed organization or entity that collaborates with the award program to support its execution and success. Award partners play a crucial role in elevating the program's impact.

Award Portal: A common method of sending an awards entry is via an online platform or digital system (portal) in which an awards entrant logs in (with their registered login details) and uploads their business award submission responses and any applicable supporting files. Not all awards programs utilise an awards portal, yet this is the most convenient and modern way of submitting award entries and the popularity of using virtual platforms is increasing.

Award Program: An esteemed series of events and ceremonies designed to recognize outstanding achievements and contributions within specific industries or sectors. Award programs supply a platform for businesses and individuals to display their excellence and gain well-deserved recognition.

Award Season: There are peak times in each annual calendar when business awards are generally open for entries in Australia. This peak period is often referred to as 'Award Season'. Although there are some awards open all year round, most programs fall within April - October, to allow for a month of entries, followed by another few weeks to a month of judging, before most awards ceremonies are held in Australian Spring (September, October and November).

Note: There is no rule for this, as programs can stagger their timelines each year and adjust to account for major events happening in the host city around the same time. Some programs host their award events in Winter when venues have greater availability and lower overheads to consider, outside of other peak event seasons such as weddings and Christmas/NYE celebrations.

Award Sponsor: A generous company or individual that supplies financial or in-kind support for the award program. Sponsors contribute to the program's sustainability and growth.

Awards Copywriter: A copywriter (like Mel Wrote It) that specialises in or offers copywriting services to people entering business awards.

Acceptance Speech: A moment of heartfelt gratitude and acknowledgment delivered by a winner upon receiving the coveted award. Acceptance speeches offer an opportunity to express appreciation and share the journey behind the achievement.

Category Sponsor: An entity that specifically sponsors a particular award category within the program. Category sponsors highlight their commitment to excellence in specific domains.

Confirmation: The important acknowledgment of receipt of award entries or attendance for the event. Confirmations ensure that submissions and RSVPs are successfully received.

Dress Code: The specified attire guidelines for attendees to follow at the award ceremony. Dress codes set the tone for a stylish and sophisticated event.

Deadline: The all-important final date for submitting award entries or RSVPs. Meeting the deadline ensures participation and consideration for awards.

Earlybird: A special early registration period offering discounted rates for award submissions or event tickets. Earlybird's seize the opportunity for cost savings.

Entrant: An ambitious individual or business that courageously sends an award entry for consideration. Entrants embrace the opportunity to gain recognition and acclaim.

Event Sponsor: A dedicated supporter who contributes to the overall funding and success of the award ceremony. Event sponsors make the grand celebration possible.

Finalist: An entrant who has been shortlisted and advanced to the next (or often the) final stage of consideration in a specific award category. Finalists stand for the highest scoring entries based on the judges' evaluations and/or public voting count (dependent on the type of award process).

Finalist and Winner Pins, Badges or Logos: Prestigious identifiers that are provided by the awards program to the finalists and winners to proudly display their achievements during the event. These pins and badges are symbols of excellence and can be used in digital spaces such as websites, traditional marketing materials like flyers and window signage and even email signatures.

Goodie Bag Donor/Sponsor: The generous company or individual who supplies gift items, gift vouchers or complimentary products for the event's goodie bags. Donors contribute to the joy and appreciation experienced by attendees, and it is a fabulous opportunity for the goodie bag donors to promote their products and services to a large audience.

Goodie Bags: Thoughtful gift bags distributed to attendees, often having promotional items and sponsored goodies. Goodie bags add an element of surprise and delight to the event.

Host: The charismatic individual or emcee responsible for leading and facilitating the award ceremony. The host sets the tone for the evening and ensures a smooth and enjoyable experience. It is not uncommon for a celebrity or public figure to host large national or global awards ceremonies as the media are usually in attendance at these premium events.

Judges: Esteemed experts or industry professionals entrusted with reviewing and scoring award entries. Judges bring their ability and knowledge to the evaluation process.

Judging: The critical process of evaluating award entries to select finalists and decide winners. Judging ensures that independent assessment is performed and takes place by more than one person, especially separate to the award host (to avoid bias or conflict of interest).

Key Dates: The essential dates and deadlines that entrants must be mindful of throughout the award program, including submission, judging, and event details. Staying informed about key dates ensures a seamless experience.

Late entries: Entries sent after the standard submission deadline often incur added fees. Late entries allow last-minute contenders to take part. Note that this is not possible for most award programs, yet a few select programs will offer staggered dates for entry.

Media Assets: Valuable resources provided to entrants for use when contacting media outlets, such as images, logos, videos, and press kits, to cover the event and feature award winners. Media assets help comprehensive media coverage and promote the awards program to wider audiences.

Media Wall: A branded backdrop strategically placed at the event for photography and media interviews. The media wall captures the essence of the occasion and supplies a backdrop for celebratory snapshots. It is common to see award sponsors and awards partner logos featured on the media wall, to promote their brands when entrants share photos from the event.

MUA: This is an acronym for Make Up Artist, which is popular for people identifying as women to book an MUA a few hours prior to the awards ceremony beginning, to apply professional makeup for the event.

Nomination: The crucial process of submitting a candidate or business for consideration to be recognized as a finalist or winner in a specific award category. Nominations are usually the first step towards becoming an award recipient. Note that some awards programs skip this step entirely and entrants can enter the awards directly without the need to be nominated by someone. In some circumstances, awards only rely on nominations and the entrant does not supply a submission, the judges assess the nominations from third parties

Example: Person A nominated Person B (after obtaining their consent to nominate them and sharing their contact details) for an award because they believe they are incredible and deserve accolades for their hard work/project/business. The Judging panel then assesses the nomination without direct involvement from Person B.

Place winners or 'placing' 1st/2nd/3rd: The exciting ranking of finalists in their respective categories, with 1st place standing for the ultimate winner. Placing among the top ranks is a testament to the exceptional quality and impact of the nominated entry.

Press Release: An official statement issued to the media, announcing award finalists, winners, and event details. Press releases amplify the impact of award achievements across various media platforms.

Red Carpet: The glamorous designated area where attendees, including nominees and guests, are photographed and interviewed before the event. The red carpet is a symbol of prestige and anticipation. A red carpet is not available at every awards program, yet the specific awards program will advise if they are having one and what time to arrive to ensure you have an opportunity to have your photo taken, receive a welcome drink/food or find your table prior to the event starting.

RSVP: An acronym for "Répondez S'il Vous Plaît," which means "Please Respond" in French. An RSVP is a polite request for attendees to confirm their presence at the event, helping with event planning. There is usually a RSVP deadline for major business award ceremonies. That is the date you will need to have bought or booked your event tickets by, so you can attend.

Self-nomination: The act of an entrant nominating themselves for an award (which is quite common and nothing to be embarrassed about). It's perfectly okay to self-nominate yourself for opportunities such as business awards. The only exception to this is if/when a business awards program specifically says that they will not accept self-nominations.

Semi-Formal: A dress code that falls between formal and casual, offering flexibility in attire. Semi-formal dress codes provide a refined yet relaxed ambiance.

Standard Entry Deadline: The regular period for sending award entries. Most award programs only have one deadline, known as the entry/submission deadline. Some major national and global awards have multiple deadlines (early bird, standard and late entry deadlines) with tiered entry fees to account for later entrants.

Trophy: The coveted physical award presented to winners on a platform or stage during the ceremony. Trophies are cherished mementos of success and can be engraved with the winners' names and award titles. They are generally crafted vertical sculptures made from glass or crystal, yet can also be plaques, certificates or made from mixed wood, metals or plastics.

Table of 10: A coveted reserved seating arrangement for ten guests at the award ceremony. The table of 10 ensures that close associates and supporters can celebrate together (perfect if you have a team attending together). There is often a discounted price for booking a full table at the awards event.

VIP: An acronym for 'Very Important Person', often referring to special guests, celebrities, or public figures. In relation to business awards, VIP ticket options and V.I.P. experiences can sometimes be offered for a premium package cost. The higher ticket prices come with added inclusions and benefits such as V.I.P Masterclasses, VIP only dinners/cocktails or day tours and can include hotel accommodation or other activities and transport that is not offered to general ticket holders.

Virtual Event: An innovative and engaging award ceremony or program conducted online through virtual platforms and streaming services. Virtual events embrace technology to connect participants worldwide. These are often facilitated on Zoom or streamed live via YouTube and/or Facebook live.

Winner: The triumphant and exceptional individual or business selected as the ultimate recipient of an award in each category. Winners are announced at the award ceremony. Most award programs require the finalists to attend the award night to receive their trophy/certificate. Since the pandemic, some programs have relaxed this rule and instead recommend attendance, yet it is not mandatory (always check the entry Terms and Conditions prior to entering an award).

Winners: Depending on the awards program, either only one winner (first place) is selected per award category, or 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners are selected and announced at the awards ceremony. Often if there are three top places, they can be referred to as gold, silver and bronze winners.



Mel Wrote It is here to break down the barriers that exist that make business awards inaccessible and hinder entrepreneurs from entering.

Awards are a marketing tool and awards ceremonies are incredible platforms for businesses to receive honours in their industry. Remember, when it comes to business awards, your achievements deserve to be celebrated and recognized yet do not equate to your self-worth.

Mel Wrote It is here to break down the barriers that exist that make business awards inaccessible and hinder entrepreneurs from entering. Like anything new, there are certain processes and jargon to learn at first, but you'll get the hang of it. I'm here to support you.

My business practices are built around burnout prevention for business owners and entrepreneurs, so you can reap the benefits of entering business awards without the stress or added mental load.

Let's make our mark in the business world, one award entry at a time!

Mel xx


As a multi-award winning B2B Awards Copywriter in Australia and a neurodivergent business owner, I've created this glossary to reflect accessibility and inclusivity in the business awards space. If there's anything else you'd like me to cover, include or revise, feel free to let me know at or visit


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