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Deca Case Study Tips

Role-Play Tips Straight from a DECA Judge

The Competition Ready workshops at the 2014 #DECAPowerTrip provided a wealth of knowledge for the competition-driven DECA members in attendance.

I attended The Judges’ Perspective session, with guest speakers and DECA judges Wendy Williams and Jay Williams. I would say from sitting in on this session that these two judges gave a well-rounded portrayal of what a DECA competitive event judge thinks and does on competition day.

Several components of their perspective of your presentation include your personality, appearance, knowledge, innovation and creativity, and your ability to answer their questions. Lastly, any wow factor you can provide always helps you stick out in their minds.

One crucial tip the speakers provided was that your 10-minute role-play begins the second you make eye contact with your judge. You also need to stick to your role the entire time. This means that prior to starting your role-play, pay close attention to the scenario and make sure you have a game plan for what you will say and do in case the judge throws any specific information at you from the scenario.

Other than your performance indicators, you are also being judged on your appearance and attitude, so make sure to bring your “A-game” with you!

Also when competing, remember that your test score is just as important as how your role-play goes. You have to score well on it to place and win in your event. Your overall score comes from your test and role-play.

Another key to your role-play is time management. Make sure you are using your time wisely and ensure you are covering all essential elements needed to preform well in your role-play.

It is a good idea to brainstorm a few questions just in case your judge asks you if you have any, which they usually do. This way you won’t waste time trying to think of any, and your judge will be impressed with how prepared you are.

Lastly, when choosing your words to close your role-play, it is wise to say, “My recommendation to you is…,”  and end the role-play on your owns terms.

I gained so much insight during this workshop session, and I cannot wait to use the tips I learned to improve my role-play performance this year!

Follow Tanner on Twitter @tanner414207.


Your DECA Role-Play Roadmap

Many of you are already starting to prepare for the upcoming DECA competitions in hopes of eventually making it on to the international stage in sunny Anaheim, Calif, next April.

You may have found yourself wondering the best way to ace your role-play.

Well have no fear, because I have outlined my top role-play tips that you need to know when walking into the competition room!

Here’s a role-play template you can use as a guide, plus some extra tips and tricks you can use to impress your judge.

Role Play Presentation Outline & Tips

1. Introduction (0.5 minutes)

  • Firm handshake, eye contact, smile
  • Introduce your name, position, and purpose of your presentation
  • Sit up straight, keep your hands on the desk (never on your lap)
  • Thank the judge for their time

2. Roadmap (0.5 minutes)

  • Tell the judge what you will be talking about (this prepares them for the content of your presentation)
  • List out all 5 or 7 performance indicators in order, and how they relate to the case study at hand
  • Tell them that at the end of the presentation, after you’ve talked about the PI’s, you will give your thoughts on what should be done to solve the case study

3. Performance Indicators (2.0 minutes)

  •  Highly suggested to go in the order that is presented to you on the case study sheet
  • Always answer the questions: “Why does this performance indicator matter to the judge? Why does it matter to this particular case study?”
  • Present your solution for the case study
  • Use the performance indicators you talked about to back up your choices
  • Why do you believe your solution is the best solution for the company?

4. Solution (4.0 minutes)5. Summary (1.5 minute)

  • Briefly sum up the performance indicators
  • Summarize the highlights of your proposed solution

6. Outro (1.5 minutes)

  • Thank your judge for their time
  • Formalities: “I hope my proposed solution will help elevate your company; I wish you well in the future,” or something of that nature
  • Politely ask the judge if they have any questions (they will always have questions)
  • When answering questions, think WHILE you talk – do not pause for too long to think of an answer
  • Final handshake, and remember to push in your chair

Here are my top five tips and tricks when it comes to doing role-plays:

  1. Wearing a watch allows you to keep track of your time during preparation and the actual presentation.
  2. Make use of scrap paper! Organize your notes so you can easily access information you’ve written down.
  3. Give yourself 30 seconds at the end of the prep to review everything you have before meeting with your judge.
  4. Props are 100% personal preference. Some people have done extremely well with them, and others have done well without them. Only use them if you know they will enhance your presentation. (Graphs/charts can be useful in visually presenting your ideas) *Remember that no props can be pre-made! You must create your props during your role-play preparation time.
  5. BONUS: Keep up with recent news! There’s always something you can use for role-plays.

I hope that these tips and tricks help you all own your role-play whether it is during district, state or international competitions.

Follow Emily on Twitter @decavpemily.


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