Collegiate DECA Competition Tips from the Pros

This has been a great year to #OwnYourFuture and we are headed into the part of the year where that is exactly what our members do.

Competition season is here for many Collegiate DECA members, and this year is shaping up to be one of the greatest yet.

About now, everybody is getting excited for their local competitions and the International Career Development Conference in April.  It’s also the time that people start asking what they need to do to be successful in the upcoming competitions, so I’ve gathered some tips from the pros.

1. Preparation is key.

If you are planning to do a Business Simulation or a Case Study Event, then it is imperative that you get sample events and study them until you know them forward and backward. The more you do, the more you get in sync with what you will see so you won’t be surprised by how something gets presented to you.

Also, study for the exams if your event has one. Get practice exams and keep doing them until you get a 90% or better. This will help a lot in getting you on the podium. For written events, do as much research as you can on your subject matter. Go to professors who specialize in the area of your project to get assistance.

2. Confidence can win the day.

I learned this important lesson during my first year competing in Collegiate DECA. When I got to ICDC, my Business Simulation was on a subject matter that I was a little shaky on. So during preparation time, I came up with the best solution that I could. When I met the judge, I looked him straight in the eye, smiled, and acted like I knew exactly what I was talking about. I maintained eye contact and the smile the whole time. Having all that confidence in myself and what I was saying worked, and I moved on to the finals!

3. Practice your presentation.

It is normal to be nervous in the presentation portion of competition, and the best way to handle those nerves is to have practiced ahead of time. The more times you go over your presentation, the better off you will be. If possible, get a professor or local business person to help be your judge for a practice session. They have experience that can help you to iron out the kinks in your presentation.

Also, your likely to be just as nervous presenting to them as a judge so you can practice strategies to handle your nerves. A great suggestion I have heard to help your chapter is to put on a mock competition and invite as many local business professionals as you can to come be judges. This helped one chapter send almost their entire chapter to #CDECAICDC!

4. Remember to have fun.

In the time leading up to competition, again prepare and prepare some more, but remember to have fun as you go through the process. You will gain valuable experience through the competition experience so have fun with it so you can look back with joy on the process!

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at ICDC in Anaheim this year.  Follow these tips and I bet you’ll be there!

Follow Michael on Twitter @deca_rich_exp.

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