Contributed by Hayden Pfaff, Texas
Written events can be difficult to master. What does a winning project look like? What kind of before-hand preparation is required?
These are questions that any written event competitor wants to know. In order to help solve some of these problems, here are some tips to help you out:
1. Make Sure Your Paper Is Easy to Follow
No judge is desperate to read a large number of 30-page papers. When your paper is complicated, it makes them less interested in your project, affecting how they view your project overall.
2. Have A Good Executive Summary
The executive summary is probably the most crucial part of the paper. If a judge doesn’t have the time or simply doesn’t want to read the papers, they are going to focus on your executive summary. Make sure it has all the important information but is also pleasant to view and easy to read.
3. Look at the Winning Projects to See What They Did Right
The people who won the event last year obviously knew what they were doing. Check out their paper to see what you can do to make sure your project is on the same level. Make sure to not steal their ideas, but use it to compare and see if you need to take your project up a notch or if you’re doing just fine. Talk to your advisor about getting a DECA+ subscription for your chapter to see past samples.
4. Every Team Member Must Know Everything About the Project
When it comes to question time, you want to make sure that, if you’re on a team with multiple members, every partner answers a question. That means that every partner must be ready to answer a question about anything in the project, from the proposed plan to the budget.
5. Have an Organized Presentation
The benefit of a written event is that nearly everything can be prepared ahead of time. When it comes to the presentation, make sure that you and your partners are well organized. Know when one person is going to finish talking and when the other person is going to start talking. This will help leave a good impression on your judge.
I hope these tips help your next competition!