December 29, 2015

"Hello my name is…." How to Network and make the most of our DECA experience

Author: Zuhayer Quazi, Vice President of Public Relations

With District Conferences around the corner, whether it is your first conference or last, most of us feel both excited and anxious as we prepare for the first competitive conferences of this DECA season. While competition preparation may take up most of our time, it’s important to take breaks, enjoy the conference setting, and of course, meet new people.

This is one of DECA’s most attractive qualities –  meeting so many likeminded people from our region, district, and ultimately, the nation. Networking may seem intimidating, and trust me, it is, but it’s extremely valuable and will make your DECA journey so much more valuable.
Every DECA member has their own, special value. While it is impossible to meet every single person at a conference, you should try to introduce yourself to as many people as possible. Explore the area! Go out to eat, attend the dance, shop at the stores nearby – anything, just  don’t hibernate in your room until competition time. By exploring, you are increasing your chances of meeting great people and building connections that will possibly last a lifetime.
Do. Not. Be. Afraid. Confidence is key when you are meeting new people. Take every chance to talk to someone and introduce yourself. Whether you are destressing and waiting in line for some coffee, crossing the street frantically, or panicking before competition, chances are, there’s always going to be someone you don’t know right next to you doing the same thing! Take this as an opportunity to start a conversation. A simple “Good luck on your event!” or “Should I get hot chocolate or iced coffee?” can turn into a long-term friendship. You never know. It’s always relaxing to have someone to talk to you when you are anxious.
Get their Instagram and Twitter handles. Add them on Facebook and Snapchat. Take a selfie. Jot down their number and shoot them a text. No matter what medium you prefer, always ensure to follow through. Take the initiative and start a conversation through social media, it’ll mean a lot to the other person. And of course, whenever you see them around the conference, ensure to wave and say hi, or even introduce them to your friends.

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


Contact Information
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California DECA