5 Tips for Taking On the DECA Competition

After taking on my first role-play for the Hotel and Lodging Management event at the 2015 International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Fla., I went around to scope out the competition.

I saw everything from DECA members wearing aprons for their Entrepreneurship Written Event, to tri-folds that were nearly as tall as I am (and as creative as I wish I was!). Walking around made me realize the hardwork and effort DECA members put into their events. It is awe-inspiring and I am proud to be a DECA member when I see how motivated our organization is as a whole.

I took advantage of this opportunity and asked some willing DECA members to share some tips on their exceptional projects. I’ve come up with five quick tips that should help out all DECA members be successful in competition, at any level.

  1. Michael Ding from Richard Montgomery High School reminded me, “Judges are people too, not robots! They understand your predicament.” This is clearly obvious, but it is something that is easily forgotten. Most members, I know myself for sure, get very nervous as we wait to walk into see their judge. The thing is, the judge may be just as nervous to see you. They are being put into a situation that they have not dealt with before and we should take that into consideration. Yes, we must be professional with them but being personable is just as good, if not better.
  2. Confidence is key also. David Latimore from Plainfield North High School said, “Go in confident; going in with a weak mind is the first step in making sure you don’t do well. Remember everything you have learned and practiced.” Too much confidence may go to your head, but there is an amount of confidence that is necessary to do well in competition. David was right about remembering everything you have studied in class and outside resources. Remember all the role-plays you have ever done and try to incorporate outside information that at times may just seem unrelated. Doing a Hotel and Lodging Management event myself, I managed to incorporate things I have learned watching Hotel Impossible, one of my favorite shows. You know more than you think you know!
  3. “There are tons of people willing to help you: advisors, friends, association officers, so don’t stress out,” said Deep Vudathu from Spring Mills High School. He is definitely right. Many people take on an overwhelming amount of stress that keeps them from performing well at #DECAICDC. Asking support from some of the people mentioned above might be really helpful, especially in relieving some of that stress. They may also give you advice that could take your event performance to the next level.
  4. Chelsea Ausk from Central Cass High School said, “Follow the performance indicators.” Sometimes it can be difficult because the event, especially role-plays, may seem disconnected from what the event is asking you to speak about itself. Chelsea reminds us that we are graded based on the performance indicators so, we must do our best to integrate both things together.
  5. Lastly, I asked Emily Fordice from Millbrook High School about working with a partner on a competitive event. She told me, “It is important to find someone that is strong where you are weak.” Having someone there for you to help you out where you struggle the most is very comforting. Emily and her partner have worked hard for many competitions and have been very successful together. I’ve had the pleasure of rooming with her and watch her take-on practice role-plays for hours at a time. That is dedication and having a partner willing to do that is priceless.

I am very excited to share these tips with you from amazing DECA members from across the globe. These tips will give you an edge. I wish you the best of luck now and in the future!

Follow Eileen on Twitter @ValverdeEileen.    

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