Finding Your DECA Competition Soul Mate

September 15, 2016

Contributed by Taylor Sapero, Pinnacle DECA

It’s the beginning of the year and competition season is just around the corner. Deciding on which role-play or written project to choose may largely depend on who you wish to compete with, but before you go full throttle with your first pick, make sure to weigh out the strengths and weaknesses that your potential team may have.

Picking the perfect partner in your DECA event is crucial to your success, and so, to help you find your DECA soul mate, here are four tips to find your match!

1. Don’t Always Pick Your Best Friend

You and your best friend may be compatible in classes, sports or other aspects of your life, but in a DECA competition, things could be different. You need to find someone who balances their voice with yours, someone who comes from a different point of view or has a different skill set. If you and your partner are too similar, like some best friends can be, your role-play or written may become too repetitive, which will reflect in your judges’ score. You may also have trouble getting tasks done since everyone gets distracted by their best friends every once in a while!

On the other hand, your best friend could be your best ally. Ideally, the two of you could come from different points of view and have enough chemistry to become really good competitors. If you can constantly bounce ideas off of each other, chances are, you’re a match made in DECA heaven – as long as your ideas are compatible as well.

Before picking your best friend, weigh out what your strengths and weaknesses are. Some ‘best friend’ groups can be very successful, while others fall apart.

2. Find A Partner Who Balances Your Knowledge

It’s very easy to find someone who knows what you know – maybe they share all the same classes with you, or maybe they’re another DECA officer – but these teams may not have the checks and balances a group needs to be successful.

It is ideal to find someone stronger in different areas than you are. For example, my partner, Emily, and I both took different electives and brought our learnings to the DECA table. My teammate was knowledgeable about psychology and economics, whereas I had more knowledge in the realms of business and marketing. When we went to compete, I would be ‘the business textbook’ and she would be ‘the real-life applicator.’ We would both explain our indicators, but in a different context, by doing this we helped reached the judge on two different sides of the spectrum. Whatever your event is, find a way to balance the knowledge between you and your teammate.

Along with balancing presentation knowledge, a team should also consider how it is going to balance their testing knowledge. Unless you are writing a 20-page business plan, your tests scores will make a significant impact and take up a percentage of your overall assessment. If both of you score high within these categories, chances are best. However, a team could still be successful with one strong test taker, and one average scorer. It all just depends on your potential presentation score, so consider both of these things when deciding whether or not to be a team.

3. You and Your Partner Should Be at The Same Speaking Level

Everyone is always learning and improving on their speaking and presentation skills, especially in DECA! However, a person may be at a different confidence level than another. It’s extremely important that you and your partner share the same level of speaking confidence. If one is too much of a talker, and the other isn’t, the quieter voice will get outspoken, and this will negatively reflect in your score. Whether both are high or low, you are able to grow together. If you and your partner share the same skill set in speaking, this will allow you to both equally contribute to your presentation, which is ideal in a judge’s eye, for one person will not appear to be the ‘know-it-all’.

4. Find Someone Who Is Just as Passionate About DECA as Much as You Are

If you and your potential partner have different goals and objectives for this DECA season, very rarely will this work out for the two of you. If one is dreaming of placing at #DECAICDC, while the other is only wishing to chill by the pool, you may want to reevaluate.

To write a prepared event or practice for a role-play, all parties must be equally and actively involved. If one person is more passionate about the end goal than the other, the project will either be carried by one teammate or eventually fall apart.

Some questions to ask your potential partner:

  • “When are you available to study?”
  • “What is your main goal?”
  • “Why do you like this specific competition?”

If the two of you can answer along the same lines, you may have a match!

Good luck in finding your DECA soul mate this competition season!


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