Taking Competition Prep to New Heights with Mini Conferences
Won Bin Lee | Dougherty Valley DECA
With association conference and DECA’s International Career Development Conference just around the corner, competitive preparation is more important for chapters than ever.
A perfect way to increase your chapter’s competitive readiness is hosting mini conferences, or small regional conferences organized by chapters. Their benefits are numerous – in addition to serving as opportunities for members to try new events and sharpen speaking skills, they offer leadership and project management training for the student organizers. Furthermore, they’re great opportunities to involve your community as well as professional and alumni members!
Want to organize a minicon but don’t know where to start? Follow these five steps to bring a great DECA opportunity to your chapter’s doorstep:
- Begin logistical planning early.
Choose a date, time and facility for your minicon months in advance. Working with your school’s administration can help facilitate this process. Make sure you acquire several rooms, arrange food logistics with local restaurants, and reach out to alumni and professional members to recruit judges! Involve chapter officers and members in this process, as event planning helps develop management skills.
- Involve your community.
As you plan logistics, reach out to local businesses to acquire sponsorships. Businesses are often happy to provide monetary or service sponsorships in exchange for recognition at the event. Not only does this help you bring down competitor registration fees, it also encourages local companies to work more closely with DECA students, hence opening opportunities for members to obtain work experience.
- Choose events wisely.
You can’t offer every event, but you should offer the more popular ones, like the Marketing Cluster events, so most competitors are familiar with the events. As long as role-plays and tests revolve around the core principles of DECA knowledge, even competitors who don’t usually compete in the selected events can get valuable practice!
- Invite local chapters.
Invite at least three to four local chapters, but remember to ask them well in advance! Encourage all members, especially, first-years, to attend and don’t forget to have a registration and payment system for each chapter!
- Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
Before the event, make sure all facilitators know exactly what their role is. Have laptops ready, double check that everything is printed, and run through the schedule one last time. Finally, take a deep breath, and get ready to run an awesome minicon!
This article was written by Dougherty Valley DECA Vice President of Marketing, Won Bin Lee. You can follow Dougherty Valley DECA on Twitter @DVHSDECA.