December 17, 2012

Competition Success 101: Tips for Role Plays and Written Events


Choosing DECA events can a little overwhelming, especially since there are so many amazing DECA events to try—but picking the event is just the beginning! Here are some basic tips for those who want to go for the gold at State Career Development Conference (SCDC) and ICDC:
Role Plays

  • Read Marketing Essentials. That’s where DECA gets all their test material questions. I just bought a used copy through online for 1$ plus shipping.
  • Look over all the Performance Indicators on the official DECA website, which has a comprehensive list of all the possible indicators you can get in competition.  Try elaborating on all of them as though you would on a role play. (Heads up! There are many pages to read, so start reading early!)
  • Complete as many practice role-plays as you can. There are many of resources and sample DECA role plays floating out there in the web, and you can find them using a search engine or browsing other chapter websites. You can even buy them from DECA Images, create your own (by putting together PIs listed), use the role-plays from other similar events, and use the “DECA connection” situations in Marketing Essentials. In short, the resources are all out there, you just have to be proactive and go get ‘em!
  • Watch online tutorials to get the basics. You can go online on Youtube and there are plenty of tutorials out there! Here’s an especially good one I watched at the NorCal DECA Competitive Excellence Workshop hosted by Amador in preparation for ICDC earlier this year:
  • Practice, practice, practice! Practice In front of friends, family, advisors, professionals, anybody who will listen (and those who won’t). If you ever find yourself without anyone to practice with, grab a mirror and practice watching your facial expressions, hand gestures and body langugage.

THE PLAN: The best thing you can do is pay A TON OF ATTENTION TO THE GUIDELINES IN DECA. Never just assume you understand everything in the guidelines; research all the unfamiliar terms and make sure you understand everything. You never know what a judge will ask you. If you don’t understand something, seek help, do research, and ask questions of the students, advisors, and professionals around you.
THE PRESENTATION: It’s not enough just to be “good”. You can’t just follow all the guidelines and expect to place. You need to be DIFFERENT. Unique. Special. Memorable. Now the question is: how do you do that? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straight forward (sigh. We wish there was a straight forward answer). The secret is to imagine that you’re a judge and have sat through hours-worth of presentations from the competitors. What would stand out? How can you give yourself that added boost by making yourself unique? Maybe it’s bringing in extra supplemental material to your presentation that really glues your presentation together. Maybe it’s dressing a little different if you’re in a fashion event to illustrate your point. Maybe its uber cool (and professional!) formatting. Maybe it’s not just planning but doing some implementing as well. Maybe it’s all of the above. Maybe it’s something else. That’s something you’re going to have to figure out yourself and it’s the key to whether or not you stand out as “the best” to the judge and whether or not you make it on stage.
OK. That was a lot of information. Do ask follow up questions if you have any! You can shoot me an email at if you have any further questions.
I hope this helped and I am definitely expecting to see you onstage!

About California DECA
California DECA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) Career and Technical Student Organization, endorsed by the California Department of Education. With over 4,500 members in 59 schools throughout California, California DECA works to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in four fields of business: marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. For more information about California DECA, visit


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