The DECA District 6 Conference was held at Lakeland High School in White Lake Township, Michigan this past Saturday. I had the honor of volunteering as a competitive events judge in this DECA business competition.
The DECA business competition and the students are impressive. I give the students credit for having the courage to role play with the adult judges.
My friend Colleen Kilpatrick and I were judging the hospitality role play. We were participants, supposedly staying in the Valley View hotel for five nights. We were unhappy with the $500 fee to use the meeting room the next morning. This room would have been empty anyways.
Each student was playing the part of the hotel sales manager. They were meeting with us on his or her own. Their job was to negotiate with us, keeping in mind that we are paying customers already. They need to keep us happy, and the hotel still needed to make a profit.
Colleen and I wrote helpful comments on the “Comments” section of the judges ballot. We provided encouragement and constructive criticism.
The majority of our comments had to do with personality-people skills. If the student had strong people skills, demonstrated a strong customer service attitude and a friendly sales style, they received many more positive comments and higher scores.
For example, students in the DECA business competition received high marks if they had good eye contact, smiled, introduced themselves, and engaged us in conversation.
Products and services can be generic. People buy from people they like and trust. This means to succeed you need strong people and customer service skills.
How important do you feel that people skills are in a DECA business competition? How important do you think people skills are in business?
Kirt Manecke is the author of the award-winning people skills books, Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service, and Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must-Know People Skills for Today’s Wired World. Learn more about Kirt on his website.