AcademicsBusiness EssentialsCreative Communication Competition

2020 Creative Communication Competition

The 25 Hour Experience

What: Invest half of a weekend challenging yourself! Develop, rehearse, and deliver a business presentation with the help of professional coaches and compete for $2,500 in prize money. This 25-hour mentored experience begins with the announcement of topics on Friday afternoon and culminates with the final round of presentations on Saturday afternoon.   

When: Friday, February 21, 4-11 PM and Saturday, February 22, 8 AM-5 PM

How will it work? Registered students arrive in Snead Hall by 4 PM. Each student receives a topic with background research (yes, you can trade!) and begins to design a 3-minute presentation. You work all Friday evening to design a compelling presentation (with support from presentation consultants),  Your outlines are due by 11 PM. (There’s a prize for best outline!)

Don’t worry! Food and beverages will be provided. See the schedule for more details.

Saturday morning, bright and early, students will arrive back in Snead Hall to begin rehearsing in small groups under the guidance of presentation coaches. Early in the afternoon, all students compete in Round 1 in front of a panel of judges from the business community. Top presenters in each topic will move forward to Round 2, competing for cash prizes. Contestants who do not move forward to the second round become judges for the Competitors Choice category. 


  • 1st: $1,000
  • 2nd: $750
  • 3rd: $500
  • Best Outline: $250 & Competitors Choice: $250


  • Must be enrolled as VCU School of Business Undergraduate major or minor.
  • Participants are required to be present for the entirety of the event, Friday, February 21, 4-11 PM and Saturday, February 22, 8 AM-5 PM.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes in length.
  • Presentations must include an element of story and recognize and address the ethical considerations of the subject.
  • Participants are expected to dress in Business Professional attire for Day 2, Saturday, February 22nd, for rehearsing and competing. (Friday is casual.

Registration: There is no fee to participate in this experience.
Click here to Sign-Up as a competitor in the 4th Annual Creative Communication Competition. 

Workshops: Every Friday leading up to the competition, there will be FREE workshops for participants in Studio BE (Snead 1212) from 11-11:30 AM, 1/17, 1/24, 1/31, 2/7, 2/14.

Frequently Asked Questions

To help you out, we have gathered the most commonly asked questions. Click below! 

Storytelling Tips

“The effective use of storytelling in organizations involves crafting and performing a well-made story with a hero or heroine, a plot, a turning point, and a resolution.” - Stephen Denning

“Management fads may come and go, but storytelling is fundamental to all nations, societies, and cultures and has been so since time immemorial.” – Stephen Denning former director of The World Bank, author, The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of the Business Narrative

1.  Start with your carryout message.

Pick a story that demonstrates values of lesson’s without having to name them directly. One of the best things about stories is that they illustrate rather than state. After your story is finished, you can point out the lessons you think are in it, but these lessons will have more impact if they are revealed through the actions within the story.

2.  Make sure it’s relevant. 

When you choose to tell a story, make sure it’s relevant to the situation at hand. It’s best if the story is authentic and close to you, but other people’s stories can sometimes be just as effective if you frame them well.

3. Who is your main character?

A story isn’t a story without characters. Traditionally all good stories have a protagonist and antagonist. AKA, a hero and a villain. Clear characters help an audience follow the story and relate on a personal level. Your stories should include a clear main character.

4. What’s the conflict?

Conflict helps your audience know what the big problem is. In our opening story about the bank  CEO’s, the big conflict was the financial crash. In Wayne’s story it was the fact that the casting director’s kept saying “no” to him. In the Target story, there were two sources of conflict: Dad getting fired, and the son’s inability to complete the task within his given work time. Without conflict, there is nothing to overcome, no journey for your hero or heroine to take.

5. Use descriptive words and short pieces of dialogue.

Using descriptive words brings your story to life. It makes it more vivid. Dialogue makes your story more immediate. When you can include short pieces of dialogue, your audience will experience it live in in person. Your goal is not to narrate something that once happened but to help your audience know what it was like to actually be there when it happened.

6. What is the Climax?

The climax of the story is when it comes to a peak, when the action has created maximum tension. In the first example the climax comes at around the time the storyteller says, “you don’t dare take your eyes of the road cause all turns look the same and the laps begin to bleed together.” 

7. Conclusion

You’ve all heard, “And they lived happily ever after. The end.” While cliffhangers can make for great sequels, all good stories will have a clear ending that brings everything to a conclusion. The audience needs a resolution or they will leave wondering what happened and take it upon themselves to fill in the blanks.

8. Write out the entire story or at least write down key words and phrases.

It’s easier to shape and edit your stories once you see them on paper. It may seem time consuming at first but, in the long run, writing them down will actually save you time and make your stories FAR more compelling. You can also use one story for many different situations.


Still having trouble coming up with a story to tell? We have some more advice below. Be sure to check out the story examples to get started on your story!