The Best Tips to Win #DECAGlass

Photo courtesy of Maggie McGarrity.

Every year, members wonder what the secret is to qualifying for DECA’s International Career Development Conference is, and how to make it to finals in pursuit of winning the coveted DECA glass.

To give members insight into real ICDC finalist’s minds, I interviewed two of this year’s #DECAICDC finalists to hear their tips and tricks for those looking to qualify next year.

Role-play Event Tips from Bobbi Schmidt 

I first interviewed Bobbi Schmidt from Wickenburg High School in Arizona for her unique tips on owning her roleplays.

Q: What did you do to prepare for ICDC?

A: I practiced a lot! I used Competition University to help with tests plus it gave lessons on what my presentation should entail. I practiced my presentation on someone once a week. Each person I presented to had some type of experience within the hospitality, marketing, management, or tourism fields.

Q: Did you study at ICDC and if so what methods did you use? 

A: While at ICDC, I presented to my chapter advisor to finite my presentation. I honestly tried not to overthink anything else about my test or else I would have jinxed myself.

Q: How do you handle/tackle role-play presentations? 

A: I handle/tackle presentations by practicing. I am not the best person at thinking of witty things in the moment so I try to plan out my presentation as best as I can before I compete. However, when I want to be personal, I don’t plan out what I want to say. I think this is allows the connection between the judge and into increase.  

Written Event Tips From Layla Riazati 

I interviewed Layla Riazati from Pinnacle High School in Arizona to understand her process for tackling written events. Layla placed 1st for Fashion and Merchandising Promotion Plan at the Arizona DECA association career development conference and won a role-plays medal, test medal, and role-plays medal at today’s ICDC Achievement Awards Session.

Q: How do you handle written papers? 

A: For written events, it’s vital that you start your research as soon as possible! You don’t want to feel stressed at the last minute. Make sure you have lots of research before you start writing. And most importantly, don’t let the number of pages make you nervous. Before writing my paper, I had no idea how I would be able to write 11 pages of content. But by the time writing rolled around, my paper was bursting at the seams with information and I had to cut back.

Q: What is your time management strategy?

A: When it comes to the presentation, it’s really important that you leave about three minutes for the judge to ask questions, because they will have them! Don’t go off a script, it can cause stress and nervousness and you don’t want to accidentally appear robotic in front of a judge. You know your project better than anyone else, so you don’t need a script! Be sure to practice plenty before presenting so that you can ensure you are within the time restraint, but avoid sounding too rehearsed!

Q: When do you recommend that students start their projects?

Start your project as soon as you possibly can! I got started in around September with my research, but didn’t start writing until around November. You want to have as much time as possible to show your written to people to get feedback! Show your project to your friends, advisor, mentors, alumni, and even the company you’re doing the project on! Every bit of feedback helps and it’s vital that you have enough time to improve your project before competition!

Hopefully these tips will help you during your competitions on the final day of #DECAICDC, or help you make it to Atlanta for ICDC 2018. For more competition tips and resources, check out!

This article was written by An@heimLive Social Media Team member, Ziah Patrick. You can follow Ziah on Twitter @ziahpatrick.

Categories: Compete, Conference Highlights, Home Page Conference News, HS Competitive Events, Presentation Prep