Neenah DECA Shares First Time Competitor Tips

Emma McLaughlin │ Neenah DECA │ VP of Leadership Development/Brand Management 


Competition Tips for First Time Competitor


Competition can be scary for every competitor but especially for first time competitors! Last year was my first time competing, and I remember how scared how I felt. To help eliminate fear in other first time competitors, I compiled a list of things first timers should consider doing!

Choose a principle event to compete in-

Wisconsin DECA offers a neat opportunity for first year competitors who are either a freshman or sophomore called principle events. The principle events are: Principles of Business Management, Principles of Finance, Principles of Hospitality and Tourism, and Principles of Marketing. A catch to competing in a principle event is you have to be a freshman or sophomore first time competitor, and the events are individual. I wish I would have been able to compete in one of these my first time. Unfortunately, I was a junior when I competed for the first time. I highly recommend any freshman/sophomore first time competitor to consider competing in a principle event because the stakes aren’t as high, and it’s a great way to get your feet wet in competition.

Attend “mini” or practice districts

Attending a practice districts through a local chapter can help a first time competitor compete better! A practice districts gives the same feeling competition would but in a lower stakes environment. First time competitors can compete at a practice districts, formulate their own competition strategies, and receive feedback right away. At a practice districts, you have the ability to ask your judge for direct feedback and have the possibility to gain in depth feedback. Most importantly, practice districts will simulate what actual districts will look like and will help lower nerves on actual competition day!

Don’t be afraid to ask a veteran competitor or chapter executive- they can help!

It can be scary to ask your advisor for assistance on how to prepare, so ask a chapter executive! They are there to help their chapter members perform at their best, and in fact, love to be asked questions. That’s what they are there for. Veteran competitors have their own strategies down and could give advice on how they found what works for them. It is also great to ask a veteran competitor because they might be competing in the same category as you, and can help you better understand the performance indicators or help you take practice exams. Overall, in a supportive chapter environment, members should be available to ask questions and will ultimately help you be #limitless.

Have fun and be #limitless!

Though it may appear DECA is all about winning medals and pursuing a career in business, there is more to it than that! Don’t get me wrong, winning is great, but it isn’t everything. DECA is supposed to be a fun interactive way of exploring a business career with the potential of bringing that passion to SCDC or ICDC. There are numerous ways to get involved with DECA, whether it be through competition, attending conferences, or participating in community service. All first time members should participate in all of the facets to get an accurate feel for DECA. Chapter advisors and executives want their members to have fun and be #limitless when preparing for any DECA event. In the end, when preparing for competition, don’t forget about having any fun, because DECA can be fun if you decided to be #limitless!