Competition Strategy 101
Bonanza DECA is basically a “new” chapter this year. Last year, all six of our chapter members went to our association competition competition. This year, our chapter has grown almost 10 times the size (63 members!) and 31 of them participated in this year’s association conference. Although this was great for the growth of our chapter, this also meant that we had many first year members who had never been to a DECA competition before. The basics of preparing for a DECA competition were the most important thing to focus on and our chapter’s top priority.
When studying for competition, there are many strategies one can use to prepare. At least once a week, teams met and studied their events for at least one hour. This included vocabulary, marketing strategies, interview tactics and competition role-play scenarios. Most DECA members would also take the initiative and study for two or three hours on their own. Some members ended up participating in one-on-one role-play practices with our advisor, Mrs. Appleton, every week.
Cracking down on vocabulary by studying flashcards, as well as studying exams, was a part of everyone’s routine. Some of the most important things we learned from our advisor about preparing for an interview with a business industry judge were the importance of eye contact, a strong handshake and confidence in your ideas. Thinking outside the box and coming up with solutions to business-related scenarios, instead of only problem solving, was a key focus as well in our meetings.
Some other ways we prepared were by practicing in front of an audience. It isn’t easy to get over the stage fright and anxiety of meeting a judge and many members had to work hard on correcting subtle movements that showed their nervousness. As we all began to gain confidence in speaking in front of an audience, we realized that the competition would come much easier to us now that we had personality skills, confidence in our knowledge of our events and the creativity to approach a problem with a new direction.
Other than studying vocabulary and practicing role-plays, Bonanza DECA understands the importance soft skills as well. First impressions are a big deal in business, as well as confidence, approachability and professional demeanor. These are all qualities a judge will take notice of and whether on stage or off, soft skills are always important and need to be top notch.
Bonanza DECA is ready to take on the competition this year and has its sights set on Atlanta!
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