An Introduction to DECA Role-plays

Aug 30, 2022

Back-to-school also means Back-to-DECA, and a new year means a brand-new opportunity to compete and earn DECA Glass at local conferences, association conferences and ICDC! If you are competing in an event with a role-play (Principles, Individual Series or Team Decision Making events), here are a few tips to help you get the edge this school year!

1. Pick a career cluster

Each career cluster has its own set of performance indicators that are used to evaluate DECA events. Find out which career cluster your chosen event is in and study the performance indicators! You can find the performance indicator lists here.

2. Understand the different types of role-play events

  • Principles Events: First-year DECA members, 1 participant, 10-minute prep, 10-minute presentation, 4 performance indicators
  • Individual Series Events: 1 participant, 10-minute prep, 10-minute presentation, 5 performance indicators
  • Team Decision Making Events: Team of 2 participants, 30-minute prep, 15-minute presentation, 7 performance indicators

3. Review sample role-plays and case studies

There are several free samples of each competitive event here that you can use to practice. If you're looking for even more preparation materials, talk to your advisor about purchasing a chapter subscription to DECA+.

4. Understand the anatomy of an event

When reading your scenario on competition day, the first paragraph always lists the role of the participant(s), the role of the judge, the company name and brief description and the task/challenge the participant(s) needs to complete. Essential information is in that first paragraph! Here is an example of a first paragraph in a Sports & Entertainment Marketing Series Event role-play:

The second paragraph provides more in-depth information about the company or the task/challenge.

The final paragraphs give specific information about what the participant(s) is asked to accomplish. Read these paragraphs carefully to ensure you address each and every request.

5. Include performance indicators in your solution

The first page of each event lists the performance indicators that will be evaluated in the role-play. The judge’s evaluation page is a repeat of the same performance indicators. This means you know what criteria will be used to evaluate your role-play.

Once you understand the anatomy of the events, you will know how to highlight the important information in the event scenario during your preparation time and be able to wow the judge during your presentation!  

Here are a few additional tips to remember when you compete:

  • Read the performance indicators and think about what each one means.
  • As you read the scenario, make notes on where in the scenario the performance indicators pop up or could be included in your presentation.
  • Take time to gather your ideas and form your solution.
  • Use your scratch paper and pencil to write an outline of your presentation, ensuring you not only define the performance indicators but tie them directly to your solution.

Best of luck! We hope to see you on the #DECAICDC stage!


Randi Bibiano
Competitive Events Specialist

Randi Bibiano is DECA's competitive events specialist. In this role, she conceptualizes and authors role-play scenarios for the collegiate and high school division’s competitive events programs. She also manages DECA's online competitive events and serves as a liaison to volunteer efforts at DECA's educational conferences.

Discussion Questions

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Classroom Connection

Career CLuster:

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