5 Summer Training Tips to Help You Take Home the Gold

Many of you probably envision the summer as the time for the pool or beach, sleeping in, and hanging out with friends. However, if you’re anything like me, you’ve spent more time watching Netflix than you care to admit.

The good news is that school is right around the corner, which means DECA competition season is coming up too.

DECA’s International Career Development Conference next April in sunny Anaheim, Calif., will be here before we know it! Many of you have a goal to make it up on stage at either your district, association/provincial, or international competitions. The best way to get up on those stages is to start training…NOW.

Instead of hitting “Continue Watching” on the 37th episode of your latest Netflix binge, try out these five summertime training tips, and you’ll be ahead of the game when school starts this year!

Summertime Tip #1 – Dive Right In

My first tip is to jump right into your training. Many of you who have competed before have probably forgot some of the basics. Whether you are new to DECA, or in your fourth year, make sure you review the basic principles around your career cluster area.

Some ways to start getting into the groove of things is to look at old notes you had from business courses you took, or past notes you or others took when training for DECA. If you don’t have any notes to look at, start looking at some textbooks or online resources that cover basic high school business principles. Also, start making flashcards with definitions, reviewing past exams, practicing role-plays and generating ideas for business reports for the written categories.

Summertime Tip #2 – Learn From the Best

My next tip is to learn from someone else. Every year there are hundreds of winners that walk across the international stage. Try to learn from these people who have already found great success in DECA’s competitive events. Talk to past winners and alumni about their training strategies, competition tips and resources they used to win. Alumni are incredible resources that have a wealth of knowledge about DECA competition and have business experience.

If you are having trouble finding past winners or alumni to talk to, we have so many people from all different associations and provinces that have written articles on DECA Direct Online about their success. Check out these role-play articles, and written event articles, and take notes on your favorite competitive event tips.

Summertime Tip #3 – Read

One of the best tips I can give anyone when it comes to DECA competition is to read. It may not seem relevant to read a bunch of books over the summer, but it is! Try to read as many business books as you possibly can about start-ups, Fortune 500 companies and the leaders that run major businesses. These books will help you when you are trying to relate your role-play or written report back to real companies.

If you have read a company’s story, you have the insight to make valuable connections between your ideas and the companies that exist during competition. Using successful companies that have used similar ideas as you during your presentation or role-play makes your ideas more creditable. Some great business books to check out are Onward, Looptail, Creative Confidence and Blue Ocean Strategy.

Summertime Tip #4 – Get Experience

One of best ways to get ideas for your role-plays and your reports is to get experience. Experience will help you reinforce your fluency in the business world, since you will already have a taste of what it is like to work in a business environment.

Experience also helps when it comes to exams as you may pick up some important terminology on the job. In your last couple weeks of summer, try to find a local business where you can volunteer, job shadow or even get a real job for a few weeks. 

Summertime Tip #5 – Use Your Resources

The last tip I have is to find the resources available to you and start using them now! Some of the best competition resources are on DECA Direct Online. If you go to the Compete section of www.decadirect.org, there are tons of resources and ideas from other members about competition. Associations/provinces and chapters also have additional resources and training manuals available.

Other resources available are the DECA Flash Cards that you can get at DECA Images that go over some important terminology. You can also purchase past exams, review materials and classroom resources at DECA Images if you are looking for more resources.

I hope that these summertime training tips will help you #OwnYourFuture in DECA’s competitive events this year!

Follow Emily on Twitter @decavpemily.

Categories: Compete, Exam Prep, Home Page Compete, HS Competitive Events, Presentation Prep, Role-Play, Strategies, Summer of DECA, Written, Written Prep