Contributed by John Otto | Springfield Catholic High School, MO
As we get ready for another exciting year of DECA competition, written event preparation is in full swing! For partners like Mary Avila-Wilkins and myself, the challenge isn't just about having a compelling presentation; it's about how that content is delivered. How do you ensure your presentation stands out in a competition where every detail counts?
This article delves into five key strategies that can take your DECA written events to new heights. From the aesthetics of your documents to the art of engaging judges, these insights are designed to level up your presentation from ordinary to extraordinary.
1. Let’s Refresh Those Written Presentations
Gone are the days when Times New Roman and double spacing were the norm. Today, your written presentations need to reflect innovation, sophistication and visual appeal. Experiment with contemporary fonts and formats that are both professional and visually appealing. Understand the power of white space and how it can enhance readability. Your document's aesthetics are as crucial as its content, offering an immediate impression of your forward-thinking mindset.
2. Visual Aids are Your Friend
Effective use of visual aids can significantly amplify the impact of your presentation. Think beyond the conventional trifold boards. Use technology to your advantage; incorporate digital presentations on tablets or laptops for a more interactive experience. Physical props, like magnets or models, can also add a unique and memorable dimension to your presentation. Remember, the goal is to engage your audience through innovation and creativity.
3. Craft Some Memorable Catchphrases
A well-placed, catchy quote can resonate long after your presentation concludes. Well before your competition, prepare a handful of impactful catchphrases that encapsulate the essence of your project or idea. These should be strategic, memorable and relevant, sprinkled throughout your presentation to reinforce key points and leave a lasting impression on the judges.
4. Always, Always, Always Adapt to Your Judge
Understanding your environment and judge is crucial for success at all levels of competition. Assess the type of judge you're presenting to and tailor your approach accordingly. For instance, if you have a judge who loves to take notes, lean into that! Provide detailed statistics and a crystal-clear explanation of your data and findings. In addition, be mindful of your competition space's layout; practice setting up your presentation in advance to ensure smooth execution. This kind of preparation demonstrates professionalism, adaptability and situational awareness.
5. Conclude with an Impact
The conclusion is your final opportunity to leave a lasting impression. End with a powerful and succinct summary of your key points. Consider giving out business cards with your face on them to add a professional touch (and so that the judge will remember you when filling out their ranking sheet). After your presentation, note down any questions the judge asked and reflect on them. This not only aids in improving future presentations but also helps you refine your Q&A skills.
At DECA conferences, standing out requires more than thorough research and a well-written business plan. It demands an innovative approach, creativity in presentation and an understanding of the modern business landscape. Incorporating these tips into your written events can elevate your performance and leave a memorable mark on judges and peers. Remember, success in DECA isn't just about what you present; it's about how you present it.