Extreme (Arts + Sciences)

University of Washington Speakers Edge

Strategy, Enablement

The UW Communication Leadership Program (CommLead Program) wanted its students to be able to more effectively communicate the development and impact of their seminal research projects at its annual Screen Summit, an event attended by executives and thought leaders in the world of digital.

The UW CommLead Program is a graduate program designed for professionals who are seeking the opportunity to develop advanced skills in digital communication and storytelling. Each year, the program hosts a Ted Talk-styled event called Screen Summit during which several of its students deliver presentations on the major projects they have undertaken as part of the program. The event is open to the public and is attended by executives from companies such as Google and Amazon – meaning that it is important for both the program and the students that the presentations are seamlessly prepared and delivered. This year, the CommLead Program wanted to add a level of preparation, training and competitive pressure that had not been present in previous to ensure the presentations that made it to the main stage at Screen Summit were top-tier.

To meet those needs, EASCI brought the Speaker’s Edge to the UW CommLead Program. Students were given the opportunity to workshop their presentations with EASCI consultants in deep dive sessions where both content and delivery were scrutinized. Then, students engaged in a friendly competition to determine the top three presentations that would appear on stage at Screen Summit – but the secret sauce of Speaker’s Edge is that the judges of that competition are business professionals connected to the program, representing companies such as Microsoft and GoDaddy, and alumni of the CommLead Program. This element of Speaker’s Edge placed pressure on students to perform at the highest level before Screen Summit, but it also gave them an incredible opportunity to gain real-world feedback and presented participants with unparalleled networking opportunities.