8 Keys Ways to Get the Most Out of Your NBBQA Membership

Posted By: Vic Clevenger NBBQA Latest News,

It’s amazing how phrases stick with you throughout your life. Motivational and instructional at the same time such as, “A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.” This one is easy when several applications to life’s pursuits. One phrase I heard as a young person in church has guided me in a lot of endeavors. My preacher used it to encourage the congregation to be involved in the work of the church. The phrase was simple, “You get out of it what you put into it.” Here are 8 key ways to get the most out of your NBBQA membership.

Update your profile

“You can never make a second first impression” is one of those business sayings and even personal etiquette sayings about how one presents themselves.  In our online culture more and more people’s first introduction is done online. When I prepare for a meeting, I will look for this person online, checking out what they do, almost like I was preparing for a job interview and this meet would be with my potential boss.  Your NBBQA profile is this type of impression. You need an updated photo, current biography and a little about your BBQ journey or business.

Networking Events

Our conferences have been compared to family reunions on several occasions, so it isn’t any wonder many have wanted to carry this one throughout the year. So this year, since our last conference, we have been having regional networking events. Some have taken the form of SCA steak cook-offs benefiting the NBBQA to a brunch at Memphis in May. There are many of these events planned throughout the year with the next being at the American Royal on Friday. These events are great ways to hang out with the BBQ family, lay groundwork for partnerships or even ask questions face to face with those more experienced.

Bring a Friend

Most all of us run primarily in various BBQ and food industry circles with many friends. I once stopped at a local ice cream shop and the person behind me was wearing a BBQ logo shirt from, what I found out later was his business. As we proceeded to talk, I asked him if he was a member of the NBBQA thinking he’d say he was or used to be or something. Much to my surprise, he had no idea what the NBBQA was about and I’m still not entirely sure if he’d ever heard of it prior to be mentioning it. Since then we have become great friends and his knowledge of the NBBQA has grown substantially. This is how the NBBQA grows, when we make it our personal mission to tell our friends about how we have grown because of our affiliation. I care about my friend’s business and believe he, as well as others, can take it to another level because of the NBBQA.

Submit Topics

Have you ever said something like, “I wish I could hear/read some information about this or that”? I know I’ve heard these comments in the various associations in which I belong. Plans are being made for our Louisville conference and the conference committee would love to hear from you about topics for the educational sessions. Every year we are amazed at the expertise within our NBBQA family of a variety of topics. Keep in mind we may not get to all of them in one year, but we could use them as articles for our newsletters.  In teaching a class, I learned early on, if one person is courageous enough asks a question or make a suggetion then there are about 10 others who are thinking the same thing. We welcome your topic suggestions for this very reason, you’re probably not the only one who wants to hear about it.

Special Interest Groups

Our NBBQA family is extremely diverse when it comes to areas of expertise and the SIGs are where we can all tap into this information. For instance, the Culinary SIG contains BBQ World Champions, restaurant operators to classically trained chefs, all of who are willing to answer any inquiry you have. This is just one of the five different SIGs with a high level of knowledge in their area. Check out the others: Business, Marketing, Products, and events, each of which has more than one expert to help you get past whatever it is you are struggling with.

Educational Resources

I’ve used this story quite a bit lately, but it still astonishes me that the legend, Julia Child could be found on the front row of a conference taking notes to elevate her culinary skills. You can do the same by looking up and passing on the different  educational articles we have on our website, www.nbbqa.org.


In non-profits and I suspect even in for profits the general statistic thrown about is true-ish. Leaders like to say, “80% of the work is completed by 20% of the people.” I’m not sure if it this would hold up to scientific scrutiny but the essence is certainly true, which you seen in other volunteer run organizations. When you volunteer you begin to see all the gears turning, which you’ve not ever seen before solely as a a member. I’ve heard it on more than one occasion, “WOW! I never knew it took all of this work” which gives a whole new appreciation for the effort needed to sustain a great association. As my grandmother used to say, “Many hands make light work.”

NBBQA Annual Conference

There are certain events I look forward to every year and if I miss one, I feel like I missed out on something great. Much like a child fighting sleep because there is so much happening. I put the NBBQA National Conference in this category. Every year I learn something new and meet so many new people which makes the investment worth it. This is how I view every conference I attend, what is my return on the investment. I refer to this as an investment as I would any training or product cost because it is an investment into my future. With the information I gain, a lot of which I can apply immediately, and the rest helps me to prepare for down the road. Then there’s the contacts made during the conference, some have turned into not only friendships but business opportunities.

8 Keys to help make your membership more effective and you can probably think of a few more. When you do, feel free to drop us a line on the different ways you make your NBBQA membership more effective.