MiniCon: An Unforgettable Experience
While judging the Foothill and Amador Mini-Conference, I watched as a line of nervous DECA members file into their respective seats for competition and I saw myself in every single one of those nervous competitors.
Every year in October, either Foothill DECA and Amador Valley DECA participate in a mock conference called, "MiniCon". This year MiniCon was held at Foothill DECA and was organized by Foothill DECA's vice president of chapter management, Shivi Bhatnagar, and chapter president, Crystal Tang. Through this mock competition, our schools hope to give first-year DECA members an idea of what DECA competitive events look like in order to train them for future conference.
"MiniCon is where members can make mistakes and learn from them,” said Bhatnagar. “No one is perfect, but we can only become better through practice."
With about 130 competitors and 30 judges, MiniCon provided successful training opportunities for both competitors and judges alike. Members could compete in Principles of Marketing, Business Services Management or Sports and Entertainment Team Decision Making events. Judges wrote at least five forms of constructive criticism in order to help the students know what areas to work on.
"There is no shame in making mistakes because my mistakes help me improve and become better at DECA," said Tiffany Zhang, Amador Valley DECA member.
While judging MiniCon, I realized that many of the constructive criticisms I was writing down were things that I couldn't even do that well myself. However this experience helped me create a short list of important things to be aware of during a role-play:
- Make sure you have a firm handshake. It screams confidence, which is key in a role-play.
- Maintain good eye contact. Don't stare down your judge but keep your eye contact friendly and constant.
- Acknowledge the judge. This shows that you are aware of the judge's presence in the role-play.
- Smile. You are not here to start a fight! You are presenting your finest work to the judge so look relaxed by smiling.
- Be you. Don't try to channel your inner Bill Gates because that isn't you. Be yourself because your talent wants to shine and you just need to give it a chance.
Anytime is a good time to have a MiniCon at your school! It prepares members both mentally and emotionally, because students leave with greater confidence and hope for success.
"I walked into MiniCon thinking about how boring it was going to be,” said Matthew Huo. “But I left MiniCon thinking, DECA is for me. I can do this."
Follow Sophia on Twitter @sophya9316.