How to Host Productive and Engaging Workshops

Stuti Shah and Melissa Patrocinio

DECA is all about preparation. Whether it be studying for the tests, practicing for roleplays, or rehearsing for presentations, success in DECA is inextricably linked to behind-the-scenes prep. No matter how motivated, no one can prep without the right resources – so, it is up to the chapter leaders’ to disseminate this information and prepare members for competition. A great way to do this is through prep sessions or workshops prior to competition. Follow these four steps, and you’re sure to have a productive and engaging workshop!

1. Make it fun.

When getting to the nitty-gritty details of a project, roleplay, or paper, it is easy for members to become stressed or uninterested. Be sure to integrate a fun element to all of your workshops. Games and activities like Kahoot or jeopardy-style trivia are always a hit with members. To involve, everyone (or at least most people) who attend the workshop, make these activities interactive rather than a lecture. Practicing roleplays with your peers as judges or trying to sell random products to peers to exercise persuasive skills are great ways to make workshops hands-on.

2. Think big, but keep workshops small.

In order to give members your full attention and provide more specifically geared information, smaller groups are ideal for workshops. Organize your workshops into categories such as roleplays, testing, written events, and VBS. Small workshops allow for greater involvement and even the quietest members can get a chance to learn and participate. This being said, you may end up with lots of small workshops, so be sure to recruit, recruit, recruit!! Workshops need good leaders, so try to recruit qualified officers and members who can help run these workshops.

3. Quizlet is your friend.

Whether at prep sessions, at home, or in the line to your roleplay, Quizlet is your best friend! The great thing about online resources is that they’re available just about anywhere. Provide resources that members will be inclined to use, like Quizlet. There are hundreds of DECA-related sets available online that you can practice everywhere and anytime. Regardless of your event, performance indicators and vocab practice are abundant on Quizlet. Bring Quizlet into your prep sessions by playing Quizlet Live with your peers. Kahoot is also similar to that and is especially great if you have larger groups.

4. Seeing is believing.

Include demonstration from officers and club leaders too, whether that be example roleplays or written events. It is so beneficial to watch and observe experienced officers present a practice roleplay, going step-by-step throughout the process. Teach your members holistically, focusing on all components of a successful roleplay: from the first handshake to the actual content of the interview – observing an expert and mirroring their behavior is a great way to learn.


If you integrate these tips into your next workshop, your members will be sure to thank you. In the end, it can be challenging to host consistent and high-quality workshops, but trust me, it’s all worth it when your members get called up on stage to win that #DECA glass!