How to Pick the Right Competitive Event for You

Do you aspire to attain some #DECAGlass this year in DECA’s Competitive Events Program? The secret to succeeding in DECA’s competitive events is two-fold: first, find a career area that you have immense interest in learning more about, and second, find a format that suits your learning style. These few questions will help you be well on your way to choosing a competitive event that best matches you!

What are your career interests?

One of the best advantages of DECA’s competitive events is that they encourage you to explore your career interests. If you have a career interest that you are passionate about, find a competitive event that aligns with that passion, because you’ll likely be more motivated and interested in learning as much as you can about that career pathway. That will make learning the knowledge and skills necessary for that competitive event, as well as the additional competition preparation and trends in the industry, all the more enjoyable.

Do you have job experience?

If you’ve had a part-time job, an internship or any work experience, think about how that may help you in DECA’s competitive events. For example, if you have worked in the retail career field, then a retail event may be a perfect fit for you, because you can use the knowledge and skills you learned on the job when solving your challenge in your role-play or case study. For example, some of DECA’s role-plays challenge you to handle an issue with an upset customer, so if you have done that in real life, you’ll easily be able to relate to the challenge in the role-play. Or, perhaps you worked with a community or civic group over the summer. That experience may help you in DECA’s Chapter Team Events. Consider using your previous job experience to find a competitive event that matches your on-the-job training.

How can you match your personal strengths to the format of the competitive event?

Are you a strong test taker? If so, you may want to consider a competitive event that has an exam component. If you’re not, you may find a written event more suitable, or at least know that you need to practice strategies to improve your test taking skills.

Are you a strong presenter? If so, most of DECA’s competitive events are a perfect fit for you because they require a presentation in front of a judge. The real question is: how much time do you like to prepare? If you like to think quickly, then a role-play or case study event may be optimal for you. However, if you like time to map out your presentation and rehearse it, you will likely want to consider one of DECA’s prepared or written events. And if you don’t like to present at all, consider one of DECA’s Virtual Business Challenge events that uses a computer-based simulation.

Do you work well with others? This is a big question when deciding if you are looking to tackle a competitive event that allows you to work in a team of one to three members. Teamwork is undoubtedly an important 21st century skill, so making sure you find teammates who complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses is key. You also have to make sure that your teammates will be accountable, and sometimes that may require branching outside of your network of friends. For some people, they just prefer to work independently.

Whether you choose a role-play event or a prepared event, DECA’s competitive events will undoubtedly prepare you for your future. Be sure to use the DECA Guide, competitive events poster and decadirect.org as you navigate your competition preparation – and treat it as such! Athletes practice for their sport almost daily, so make DECA your sport and practice daily as well. DECA will help prepare you for college and a career.

Follow DECA on Twitter @DECAInc. This article was featured in the September/October issue of DECA Direct. You can read the entire issue online now here.

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