Will Utilizing Technology Give You a Competitive Edge?

Think utilizing technology in your competitive event will give you an advantage over your competition? Think again!

A recent survey of judges, who participated in last month’s DECA International Career Development Conference, shows that most judges are not influenced by whether or not students utilize technology in their presentations. In fact, 67% percent of survey respondents indicated their scoring was not influenced by the use of technology.

In fact, many judges thought technology was a detriment to the presentation, if students relied on it too heavily or fumbled with tech issues. iPads and laptops in some cases were more of a distraction if they did not enhance the presentation.

“Some students used technology very well,” one anonymous survey-taker said. “But most who used technology let the technology serve as a distraction from what they were supposed to present. They left out important details, thinking that their strength in style would overcome their weaknesses in substance. That influenced my scoring.”

“[Use of technology] only affected my scoring when it was used in a way that added to the presentation,” said another judge in the survey comments. “Students did not get extra points for having an iPad just for iPad’s sake, nor were they judged negatively simply because they had poster boards instead of electronic tablets.”

“Visual aids must support the message, otherwise they are just a distraction,” noted a third survey-taker

While there are positive aspects to using technology (such as your presentation can be more professional and more relevant to the modern business world, and make it easier to engage and interact with the judges), the main focus should still be on content.

Of the judges surveyed that indicated they were influenced by the use of technology, 30% stated their scoring was only influenced if the technology was a quality visual and not a distraction.

Judges are focused on content – and any visual aids used should serve the purpose of supporting the presentation – regardless of whether it’s a presentation board or computer. Whichever method you choose for your presentation, the following are key things to remember:

  1. Use visuals only in a relevant way that enhances your presentation.
  2. Don’t use your visuals as a crutch – don’t read from your PowerPoint or rely too heavily on videos. Same goes for presentation boards and notecards!
  3. Focus on content. No matter what visual aid you choose, the content of your presentation is what will ultimately set you apart from your competition.

Follow DECA on Twitter @DECAInc.

Categories: Compete, HS Competitive Events, Presentation Prep, Strategies, Written