Dec. 8, 2020
Nathan Emery, Fitchburg State University (MA)
Talent. It’s everywhere. Whether you recognize it or not, I have it, you have it, your parents have it, your neighbors, cousins, friends, and strangers have it. Talent comes in different forms, and in various manners. Some people draw, some people dance, some people sing, and some people balance random objects. Talent. It’s everywhere, and on a college campus, students either keep it to themselves or jump at the opportunity to show it off.
Why is talent sharing important? We all know there is plenty of talent in the world and plenty of successful professionals we can hire to showcase talent. The answer is simple: community. Though hiring a professional is a great idea, sharing is the basis of community. It reveals trust, vulnerability, and positivity. As colleges seek ways to build and strengthen community in a virtual world, having students share their talent proves important.
Talent sharing can help invigorate campus communities, and programmers can benefit from understanding the various ways to plan and implement a talent-based event to meet campus needs. The first step is determining the type of talent showcased. Most students hear “talent show”, and immediately think of the performers on shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance?”, “The X Factor”, and “America’s Got Talent”. What they may not realize is there are other - less theatrical talents - that can still be showcased, and ways to avoid the bright lights of a stage.
Creativity: Students submit creative works virtually. These talent “shows” ask students to submit a piece of work (poetry, art, media, etc.) to be showcased or judged upon later. Creativity talent showcases can range from low to high skill pieces, while still maintaining the fun of sharing, and without the fear of ridicule or the pressure of a spotlight. Examples include:
- Coloring Pages
- Ceramic Painting
- Pumpkin Decorating/Carving
- Art Re-creation
- Poetry writing
- Canvas painting
- Short films
- Short story writing
Performance: Students either participate live or submit works of their performance to be watched or judged upon later. Performance talent showcases are typically high skill, and it is best to have a first round to vet talents to ensure quality and appropriateness. Though a show could be held live via an in-person stage, or live streamed from location, students could also submit prerecorded pieces for a video collaboration. Examples include:
- Poetry reading
- Musical performance
A major challenge most talent showcases face is participation. Though students hold a myriad of talents and have creative mindsets, they are not always willing to share. As most programmers know, incentives or prizes are a must, but what happens when few students opt in to the event?
The answer is NACA® 24/7. Specifically, booking a professional to host, kick-off, or close out the program.
Booking a host is a fantastic way to help ease a few problems that may arise during a talent showcase; hosts can (1) open the show and introduce the acts, (2) ensure the transition between acts goes smoothly, (3) bring high energy and enthusiasm to a virtual show, and (4) fill in open time slots when too few students participate. At the very least, you’ll guarantee an exciting show for the campus on the day of the event!
Not all talent showcases have the same format. Some programs may not even have a live or formal show included. In this case, professionals can still promote engagement. Kick-off the event with a lecture or performance; continue to promote submissions with a show midway to the deadline; unveil the submissions with a professional.
Luckily, NACA® 24/7 makes booking a professional the easiest part of planning, and plenty of associates, agents, and performers are willing to help take your talent sharing experience to the next level. Reach out and start the conversation.
Talent sharing is powerful. It brings communities together and builds trust. It gives students a platform and the opportunity to showcase a piece of their life. Creating a talent sharing experience is not only scheduling an event, but adding to a sense of belonging on a college campus. Talent. It’s everywhere. Let’s explore it.
Nathan Emery is the coordinator of programs, clubs, and organizations at Fitchburg State University (MA) and volunteers for the Association as the regional block booking coordinator for the Northeast region.
Related Professional Development Competencies: Technology, Intentionality in Student Learning
If you’re looking for innovative ways to virtually engage your campus communities, consider attending Virtual NACA® Live this upcoming February 2021. New components have been added to the conference to help you find solutions to the challenges of programming virtually. Check out the Make & Take Hours, Trending Interactive Programs, Sponsored Nights Out and Technology Demonstrations that have been added to the conference. We hope to see you there!