Top 5 Tips for First Time DECA Competitors

Ronnie Nuqui | Oklahoma DECA

DECA is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for all the #Limitless opportunities that await you in the real world.

As a freshman, I had always wanted to get more involved, and explore opportunities, but I never had the strength to do it and was very shy. However, DECA competitions have really helped me get outside of my comfort zone.

At first, I didn’t really know what I was doing when I was competing, or even what was happening. I wanted “survival” tips on what to do during competitions, the best ways to study and advice on how to contain all the information.

So here are some of my “survival” tips:

#1: Go to DECA conferences.

DECA conferences provide members with information that not only improves your business knowledge, but also your leadership and networking skills. These conferences are educational, fun, and a great opportunity to network with other members from inside and outside of your state. The more comfortable you are with talking to strangers, the more relaxed you will feel when you sit down and face your judge for your first role-play.

#2: Get advice from other DECA members who have competed.

These seasoned DECA members know what it’s like to begin your DECA competition journey. They know what to do and not to do during competition, so use their expertise! You can also always ask your chapter or association officers, as well as your advisor for help. DECA has some great competitive event resources available online too. Just check out or

#3: Make flashcards/quizlet for vocabulary terms.

Other students (like me) stick to the basic principles. The vocabulary terms helped me understand DECA’s competition terminology and the DECA language better. These terms are also helpful when you are explaining a specific performance indicator during a role-play, or whenever you are presenting. Check out these awesome pre-made flash cards from Shop DECA!

#4: Practice as much as you can.

If you don’t start practicing now, you’ll regret it. The expression practice makes perfect also applies here! The more you practice, the less nervous you’ll be when game time arrives. Practicing is a way for everyone to get used to a new routine, especially in role-plays, and in other cases it can be practiced as leadership skills. To get the #DECAGlass, practice is key.

#5: Be confident.

Don’t be afraid! Talking to one or two judges doesn’t need to be as intimidating. Your judges were students once too and they also won’t bite! When I started doing competitions, I was so afraid and shy because I didn’t believe in what I can do. However, with practice and preparation, I became confident enough to go all the way to #DECAICDC. Confidence is key to a great presentation and it’ll make you unstoppable.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to rock your first role-play this competition season!

This article was written by Oklahoma DECA Vice President of Career Development, Ronnie Nuqui. You can follow Ronnie on Twitter @DECA_Nuqui.

Categories: Home Page Compete, HS Competitive Events, Presentation Prep, Role-Play, Strategies