Gaining Success at DECA's Competitive Events

Right now, tens of thousands of DECA members around the world are studying and preparing for DECA’s competitive events.  Of these students, only about 10,000 will qualify to compete at the International Career Development Conference, and of these, only a select few will experience the rush of standing on stage while receiving an award. 

The biggest question most DECA members have right now?

“How do I win that trophy?”

Having won multiple trophies at ICDC during my high school years in DECA, here are my top three tips for getting on stage yourself:

  1. Download the right information!  The one web address every serious DECA competitor should have bookmarked is  This page not only houses DECA’s competitive event guidelines, but it also features free tools to help you excel in competition.

    On the right-hand side of the page, you’ll notice links to sample videos and webinars—these are great examples of strong competitive performances. Scroll down the page and you’ll see a listing of DECA’s competitive events, free sample role plays, sample exam questions, and a listing of the performance indicators tested.

  2. Work smarter! There are countless ways to prepare for DECA’s competitions, but some techniques work better than others. One of the best things you can do to prepare is use your event’s list of performance indicators as a study guide. When I was in high school, I liked to define, in my own words, as many performance indicators as I could. This helped me prepare for both my presentations and my exams.
  3. Take the “Angry Birds” approach! Many of us have spent countless hours playing Angry Birds, perfecting our skills as we launch bird after bird at those green pigs. What you may not realize is that what you’re doing when you play this game is also the key to success in DECA. That’s right—PRACTICE! The best DECA competitors are those who put the most work into learning the information necessary to be an expert in their field. Practice your presentations, study for your tests, and when you do, take a moment to recognize how much information you’ve processed during that study session. Practice doesn’t guarantee you a trophy, but it will do wonders for your confidence.

These three tips are not the sole ingredients for DECA success, but they’re a good start! Good luck this year in DECA’s competitive events. Hopefully, we’ll see you on stage!

Follow Curtis Haley on Twitter @NevadaDECA.

Categories: Chapter Resources, Compete, Exam Prep, Home Page Compete, HS Competitive Events, Presentation Prep, Role-Play, Strategies, Written, Written Prep