Here are some tips and techniques from excellent DECA chapters:

Randall Kammerman – Herriman High School

Interview Tips

  • Firm Handshake
  • Eye Contact
  • Get the judges name and use it
  • Be confident but not cocky
  • Always leave room for questions, do not talk all the way until the end.
  • Remember the judge has the role play, you do not need to tell them what solution you are coming up with.
  • Be in the role play. If the role play is about the company you work for, you need to use “our and we” when talking.
  • Tell them what your going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them.

Prep Tips

  • Read the performance indicators first, then read the scenario. This lets you brainstorm as you read.
  • Write your presentation in performance indicator order, it makes the presentation easier to follow  and makes sure that you cover everything
  • Always try to have a visual of some sort. Even if it sucks, it sticks out. Business card, graph, slogan, anything that is visual.
  • Leave yourself time at the end of the prep to read through your presentation one last time.
  • Discuss how you will measure if your idea works. What kind of metrics will you use?
  • You can’t win if your test sucks. Make sure and take the test seriously.
  • Do not just define the performance indicators. Use them.
  • Have a current example for what is going on in the world.

Angela Short – Jordan High School

1.  I set aside one day a week to practice role plays and test practices for any student who wants the help.  I don’t get a big turn out.  But the ones that are serious show up about once a month.  I ask the officers to act as judges to hear the role play presentations.
2.  I found that a big opening social is key to obtaining numbers for the program.  If I can get them excited about that, we have a good size chapter.
3.  In the past when we had time in Park City to work with my officers, we could plan out the activities for the year and then publish a newsletter with those.  That marketing piece was then used as the officers went to each classroom and promoted DECA.
4.  I don’t get down if I have a crummy year.  This organization is for the students–so if they are not enthusiastic, that is o.k. with me.  It is for them, not me!!  At the same time, if you have a great leadership team, DECA is a lot of fun!!  So pick carefully your officers!!  I made the mistake of putting someone in because I thought it would-be good for them or I felt sorry for them.  That always back-fired and I regretted it.
5.  A requirement I have is that the officers must be in at least one of my classes.  If they are not, I never see them and it is tough to get them to follow through on assignments!!
6.  The best marketing is putting up a poster of upcoming events in every classroom on the teachers front white board.
7.  Have the student officers set goals for what they want to accomplish for the year and they really go after it!

Dale Pollard – Fremont High School

To prepare kids for Region & State, we use practice role plays as “bell work.”

I have kids complete/prepare/write up a situation for the first few minutes of class. I have purchased them from National DECA and have them on the shared drive in my classroom (I teach in a computer lab).  They can chose the category, but they have to do one each day for about 2 weeks. I also have the DECA exams, but they hate doing the practice tests. This helps them to realize that they can actually DO a competitive event… that it is not too HARD… that they have good ideas…

Trevor Ward – Weber High School

DECA provides students a chance to think outside of selecting the best answer among 4-5 answers given on a test. Projects, role plays, and trying to use current examples help give application to the concepts taught in class.  Using the resources provided by DECA, it helps drive me to use current events/situations and marketing to direct instruction.  Students tend to buy-in as they see the connection in what is being taught.

Marci Sabin – West Jordan High School


  • Learn names of magazines and websites associated with your event category.
  • Practice shaking hands.


  • Determine what role YOU are to play and what role the JUDGE will play.
  • Use the terminology from the Performance Indicators to prepare your presentation.
  • If a Performance Indicator sounds too simple then it is…they want something deeper.
  • Be creative to stand out!

Presentation – BE IN CHARGE!

  • If you could pick your judge, then pick one that looks like they are about to fall asleep
  • Look at ALL your judges – even if they don’t give you eye contact, still look at them.
  • Avoid fiddling.
  • Use business terminology

During Presentation

  • Initiate the conversation…..summarize the problem
  • Become completely immersed in the role play – become the person “in” the role play
  • Have confidence in what you’re doing!  A mistake isn’t a mistake until you let it be one.
  • The judge is probably NOT A TEENAGER – avoid saying things like, “we all like to play on the computer, go to movies, and watch TV”


  • Ask your judge if they have questions.
    • When being asked questions by judge say:  “I’m really glad you asked this question……”
  • When judge asks question you already answered:  “as we talked about earlier, I’ll take the opportunity to elaborate on that…”

Tomee Pace – Mountain High School

Strategies for Growing Your DECA Chapter

  1. Always have something worthwhile happening! It’s exhausting but MHS DECA runs nonstop all year long. Though we do a lot, we don’t sacrifice quality – that’s what makes it worthwhile and that’s how students get positive educational experiences. We lead community services projects, awareness campaigns, socials, lunchtime activities, planning meetings and fundraisers. Other students take part in what we offer and they want to join DECA.
  2. Constant communication is a must! Because we always have “big things” going on, communication to the whole team is vital! We use a Facebook group page which gets used daily. I create calendars/agendas for everything and kids use them. I write reminder notes and pass them out with treats. All important dates/info is written on the board and verbally expressed in class daily. All this communication doesn’t just invite members to show up and be a part but let’s them know that it’s expected of them; that we can’t do it without them, every student matters. This communication makes the team stronger and students get their friends to join because it’s a real, functioning team to be a part of.
  3. We don’t call the MHS DECA chapter a “chapter.” It might sound silly, but we call it a team or even a family. Students want to join a team and be part of a family (especially my students who sometimes have never been on a team or who don’t have a supportive family). I think the psychological implications of changing the verbiage goes further than I first expected.

Strategies to Prepare Students for Competition

  1. Use class time for students to practice. Before competitions I always spend a day helping my students work through a role play. You can have all students do the same roll play at the same time – give them 10 minutes to read and write their ideas, then have them share their ideas to the class and build a great discussion. You can have students judge each other as well. Have half the student working on their roll play while you take the other half and prep them to be judges and review the roll play with them. Take them back and have students present/judge. Then switch roles with a new role play. This is great because students are exposed to two different role plays and also practice from the perspective of being a judge.
  2. Spend one-on-one time with students. It’s hard to find the time, but spending a few minutes with individual students can help them a lot. My students sign up to come before school, at lunch or after school to get one-on-one help. Doing this even one time with students can make a huge difference.
  3. Have a “parent/judge night.” To help my students who compete at state with written events/projects we host a parent/judge night. I invite guest judges from industry to judge the students’ presentations and papers. I also invite all parents to come watch and give feedback if they want. This is a true dress rehearsal for state. Students dress up, have all visual aids and handouts prepared and they get judged by experts. It’s time consuming, taking 2 days after school to get through all presentations. It’s also work finding volunteers to judge but the payoff for students is totally worth it. Parents love this night and are sometimes very emotional when they realize all their student has done.

Chris Eady – Provo High School

I have two Marketing classes each year first semester, but the students that take my Marketing class also take my Economics class the following semester (almost like it is a year-long class). I cram the Marketing materials together a bit in Marketing 1 so that each student completes a DECA written project before the end of the first semester. Also, during the Marketing chapters, they actually prepare for and have a professional interview/role-play with interviewers from NuSkin Enterprises. This gives them a chance to be in a situation with a judge early in the school year and to learn how to be prepared for a DECA role-play. I also have them do a sales presentation, with a partner, to the class for something they would like to sell. All of these activities work well and are an extension of what they learn in class. For the ones that wish to compete with their written plan (usually those that have a pretty good rough draft and then I spend time encouraging them to compete), I have them print three copies of their plan and have them ask business professionals to write comments and questions in the margins of their plan for extra credit during the beginning of the Economics semester. Sometimes these comments and questions lead to fixing and clarifying items in their plan, but they mostly prepare the students for common questions the judges may have when they present at State DECA. This all tends to fit nicely with the dates for State.

Rob Willardson – Copper Hills High School

1.  The best resource pool for new students to join DECA is current students in the classroom (offer extra credit for joining and participating), Sophomore Orientation, and other teams or chapters, such as Debate.
2.  You will always have a better turnout at meetings, if you have food at those meetings.  A CTSO moves on its stomach.
3.  Make DECA fun and cool.  Recruit a number of the fun and cool kids at school to join DECA each year.
4.  Schedule regular membership meetings, leadership meetings, training sessions, and project nights on the yearly chapter calendar.
5.  Promote the current and future advantages and benefits of DECA membership, eg. resumes, job interviews, scholarship interviews, and DECA State and ICDC.

If you would like to add more tips to the website please email to give help to your fellow advisors.