With competition season starting to gear up, any DECA veteran or readied new member has heard the drill a thousand times.
These have been the three beats, or “Three Ps” that I live my DECA experience by. From the moment competitive event information becomes available on the events page (http://www.deca.org/events/), you can bet I’m already browsing to see what events are open and how to succeed in the events I’m interested in. This is the first P, preview.
Whitewater’s chapter has been lucky to have built a well-rounded student body representation that attends our meetings. We often joke about how we are one of the only business student organizations on our campus that can proudly say we have active English and Biology majors attend and excel in competitive events at State and National levels. Between business simulations, case studies, and prepared business presentations, it’s guaranteed that you can find an event that will benefit you in your career path. Take some time and check out the different events. If there is something you are interested in, especially for individuals who might not have decided on a career path yet, consider checking it out. Competition is a great way to get very unique first-hand experience in the field. If you know the career you want to go into, practice your skills and show your competitors that you know your stuff. Doing well in competition isn’t only a resume builder, but also a display of what your capable of doing.
The second P is prepare. This may seem a little obvious, but you need to know your event if you want to do well. Take time to look up vocabulary. Understanding terms and being ready for questions from your judge(s) is half the battle when it comes to presenting. Whenever I’m getting ready, I like to review my class notes from any classes I have taken that may relate to the event I’ll be competing in. Find different ways to learn the information you will need. Look at the performance indicators and find out what your judges are looking for! Don’t be afraid to ask any PDC members or even your professors for assistance as well! Other members or people who has competed in the event during previous competitions are a great resource. Never be afraid to fall back to your DECA family whenever you need a hand.
Finally, we get to our last P. This is something that also seems like common knowledge, but so few take the time to do. If you want to do well, make sure you practice. Whitewater’s chapter takes a little extra time to make sure our members are ready to do their best. At any point in the year, our Executive Board is more than willing to help out our members. Study nights, practice role-plays, and helping to explain different aspects about competition can make a big difference.
The biggest practice opportunity that we make available at whitewater is a competition simulation. Through participation, our members can get hands on experience in a friendly low stress environment. This practice can give the student time to debrief with the judges and seek room for improvement before going into the “real thing.” If it wasn’t for our amazing faculty and friends volunteering, our members would not have this opportunity.
I mentioned three Ps to success earlier. These are things that almost anyone who has competed in a DECA conference will tell you. In all honesty, I have a little secret. I believe there is a fourth part to this equation that a lot of people forget about. Play is our fourth and last P.
More importantly than anything else, you have to enjoy what you do. If you want to do well, competition is a very serious thing, but it is also a time to relax and have fun. Even practicing can be a great way to build a friendship. You’re striving for a common goal and will spend a lot of time working with your event partners. You will meet a lot of great people, have time to spend with your chapter and hang out with friends. Explore and see new places that you may not normally have the opportunity to visit.
So, what are my thoughts on success? If you want to do well preview, prepare, practice and play.
If you want to hear more about some of the random stories I’ve had at competition, preparing for my events, or even from when I’m just having a good time with some DECA friends/family, check back soon!