NACA BLOG - Preparing for Business Connections at NACA Live - 1/24/2022

Jan. 24, 2022​
Anthony Maly, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Jackie Weber, Saint Louis University (MO)
Thomas Patterson, Saint Louis University (MO)

We hope you are excited to join us in Kansas City for NACA Live! As your National Block Booking Team (NBBT), we are certainly looking forward to the opportunity to be together in community in a few short weeks.

For those of you traveling to KC, consider this a trusty pre-Live! event checklist. If you are unable to join us in Kansas City and will remain on your respective campuses, (safely engaging students in meaningful ways,) we hope that these tips and strategies help you remain active in the networking and booking experience through the Association. There's still many opportunities for you to engage in business from afar!

Start with NACA 24/7

  • Take a minute to review your institutional profile in NACA 24/7 (login to NACA 24/7, click on your photo in the upper right and select "Manage [Institution Name]"). Did you know there are multiple levels of access you can grant for students and campus partners to conduct their own business with the Association? This is a great time to review your institution's membership, update your profile, and revise access as necessary. Not only will it help make your business operations more efficient, it provides up-to-date directory information to all Association members.
  • If you've already been booking and dealing with our Associate members, make sure you upload your contracted dates in NACA 24/7. This helps give other schools a chance to see dates which have already been booked, and provides the opportunity for them to build on them and create blocks. And you know, we love a good 3-in-5 or a 5-in-7!  More blocks means more dates for Associates, and more savings for our schools!
  • While you're in NACA 24/7, take a minute to peruse your dashboard to see what other schools are doing!
    • "Dashboard" and "Your alerts": Learn about artists who already have contracted dates within 300 miles of your institution. Remember…within 300 miles could be the start of a block, or it's already in a formed block!
    • "Search Directory" and toggle to "Search for Schools": You can look for other member institutions in your region, or perhaps a school outside of your region but within the magical 300 mile radius.  These are folks with whom you can network and collaborate, and perhaps work together to bring an artist or event to your campuses!

Prepare Your Delegation

  • Prior to leaving for the balmy midwest, take some time to gather your NACA delegation for a pre-departure meeting. Use this time to discuss ways to maximize your Live! experience. Will you dress alike, or in theme? What are your expectations about attendance? How do you split up the educational sessions to get the greatest return on your registration investment? Oh…and check the weather so everyone packs appropriate attire!
  • Create an elevator pitch which represents your programming board and interests.  If you had to describe your most popular campus events and your campus demographics, could you do it in 30 seconds?  Essentially, how would you answer the million dollar question, "What can you tell me about your organization, and the events you host?" This is handy to have prepared, whether attending a NACA event or simply promoting your organization on campus.
  • Discuss what level of business you will be conducting at Live!  Are you able to jump into blocks as they form? Do you need to bring information back for a general body vote?  Is there other institutional approval you need prior to "buying?" Make sure your full delegation understands and is prepared to participate in the business process for your institution.
  • Take a look ahead at your upcoming year and put together an institutional calendar.  Include breaks and holidays, important campus traditions, athletic competitions, or already confirmed events. Be thorough. Provide a copy of this calendar to your full delegation, and use it when considering artists and events.  Preselect dates you wish to program, or plan out your campus series events. Arm your delegation with information so they can network, build connections, and do business.

Building Connections at NACA Live!

  • Challenge your delegation to branch out and network with everyone at Live! There is so much knowledge to be shared and learned! Encourage them to seek out the delegation from neighboring institutions, or those with a similar profile. Advise them to visit each booth in the Marketplace, meeting each Associate member and learning what THEY can do for your campus. Find fellow programmers who specialize in the same event genres. Is comedy your thing? Perhaps it's coffeehouse performers, or bands? Consider your welcome weeks, welcome back, homecoming, and family weekend celebrations… connect with others who do the same thing at their institutions and exchange ideas!
  • Get to know our associate members, those who share our passion and excitement for campus activities. If you're intimidated and unsure how to start the conversation, consider these easy icebreaker questions:
    • Why did you get involved in NACA?
    • Why did you become an Associate (agent, performer, artist, etc)?
    • What was your biggest lesson learned from the pandemic?
    • What is your favorite part of your job?

Those are just a few safe starters which should quickly lead you to developing meaningful and long-standing connections with our Associates.

We could go on and on sharing tips to help you navigate NACA's business world, which is an important skill for the national team responsible for promoting business of the Association. If you want to learn more, come by and introduce yourself in the Business Hub in the Campus Activities Marketplace at NACA Live! If you're overwhelmed by your NACA checklist, which we likely just lengthened, take a breath and remember this one thing: open yourself up to connecting with others in KC. Talk bookings. Exchange best practices. Share your challenges and successes. Building those connections is the first step into the business process, and if you can do that, you're going to be just fine.

Hope to see you soon in KC!

Anthony Maly, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Jackie Weber and Thomas Patterson, Saint Louis University (MO), serve on the Association's National Block Booking Team. This volunteer team facilitates the NACA Block Booking program at association events, while also promoting effective business practices among school and associate members year round.

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