Contributed by Hazel Reck, Fox Valley Technical Collegiate DECA
Association conferences are right around the corner for DECA members everywhere, and while some members are not too worried about getting ready, others may have already started stressing out.
Despite planning months in advance for prepared events, some members still lose sleep thinking they are not good enough.
I love doing prepared events. You get to control how things play out and you can choose something you are truly passionate about. This year in my chapter we have a large number of members doing prepared events.
For all of the first-time prepared event participants and the members that want extra tips, below are five things you should do if you are in a prepared event:
Odds are if you picked a prepared event you have a great idea. One thing judges love is research and statistics to backup your idea. Sometimes they will ask you questions that seem out there, but if you give them a good factual answer, that will impress them.
2. Be prepared for anything
Members will spend weeks making sure they have every nick and cranny of their papers and presentation perfect. Then when they go to present, a judge will poke holes in something. Have back up plans or responses written down or in the back of your head for situations like this. Think of any objection a judge could have, and that way you will be ready for anything they ask you.
Every time I tell someone this they say, yea I know, but this is serious! If you practice your prepared event in front of different people more than once, you will feel better about it. In the weeks leading up to your conference, you should be practicing daily. Trust me it helps a ton.
4. Memorize your presentation
This is a lot easier said than done. Most people who do prepared events will have some kind of outline to follow. The fewer words on that outline the better. The more eye contact with the judge you have the more they will engage.
5. Have fun
If you can have fun while giving your presentation, the judges will notice. The more fun you have, the more they will get involved in your presentation. Having fun also keeps you calm and helps you not worry as much.
Keep these five things in mind while getting ready for state. They will help you stay calm and focused. Of course, many other things go into a prepared event. These are just five things that some forget when they get stressed.
Remember: research, be prepared, practice, memorize and have fun!