by Josh Orendi
Here are several ways to meet someone new. The personalities below are listed in a progression from indirect and passive to very direct. Different situations call for different approaches. In many cases, you'll have an opportunity to blend several personalities. However, it's important to begin with the personalities that are most comfortable, and then challenge yourself to master those that stretch your comfort zone.
Enquirer: The most indirect approach. The Enquirer will spark conversation through neutral questions of little importance. You will often hear the Enquirer ask, “What time do you have?” or “Could you point me toward the restroom.”
Bystander: Another highly indirect approach, the Bystander leverages mutual wait time as situations of opportunity. In a cluster of people before a class begins, in a line at lunch, or stuck in a boring lecture" you will often hear the Bystander say, “I've been here nearly 1/2 hour, how about you?” or “I think we may have picked the wrong time to get in line.”
Common Interest: Many times opportunities for Common Interest are physically apparent. Noticing cleats in a bag, a pin on a jacket, or a mascot on a T-shirt may create a situation for Common Interest. You may hear Common Interest say, “Are you a Pirates fan, too?” or “Is that an honor society pin?”
Complimentor: Known for skills of charm and sincerity, the Complimentor identifies and shares admirable features of a person to begin conversation. You may hear the Complimentor say, “That's a great looking bike. What kind is it?” or “You really seem to know what you're talking about in class. How do you know so much about politics?”
Good Neighbor: A sort of public servant, the Good Neighbor is interested in sharing news and events. You may see the Good Neighbor say, “Did you know there's a big cookout on the quad tonight around 7:00 p.m.? Are you going to be there?” or “I noticed you came in the front door of the building. You can probably save yourself 5 minutes if you use the south entrance.” Good Neighbor is a common strategy for dorm storming.
Promoter: An outgoing personality that lets everyone know about something important, you may find the Promoter circulating around the Union with fliers or wearing a loud shirt asking, “will you be participating in formal rush this week?” or “You don't want to miss the social event at ABC tonight. Are you going alone or bringing a friend?” The Promoter is a common tool for campus wide events.
Over the Top: A unique character, Over the Top is the entertainer and the ultimate extrovert. This is the person who commands the attention of crowds with stunts, loud announcements, wild clothing, etc. You may hear Over the Top shout out, “Ice cream social on Greek Row tonight. Hey, are you guys coming?” or walking through campus in a toga he tells a group, “You don't want to miss the party at ABC tonight. There's a bus leaving campus at 9:30, would you like me to reserve a seat for each of you?”
Pitcher: Pitcher is quick and clean. He's got an agenda to share, and then he's moving on. The Pitcher is all about the numbers ‐ meet as many people as possible. You may hear Pitcher ask 10 people in 5 minutes, “Hi, my name is John Smith. I'm the service chairman for ABC. ABC is hosting a philanthropy event called Save the Kittens with XYZ sorority. Proceeds will save millions of kittens. We still need volunteers. Could you commit to 3 hours this Saturday afternoon with the ladies of XYZ to save millions of innocent kittens?” Pitcher is a common strategy for special events and activities.
Friendly Chap: The most skillful and highly preferred method for fraternity recruitment, the Friendly Chap leverages indirect and direct approaches to engage and maintain a casual conversation. You may hear the Friendly Chap say, “We've sat next to each other in this class for 2 weeks and I haven't introduced myself. I'm John Smith (Eye contact, handshake, smile, and pause for reply). Nice to meet you, Bill. I don't know about you, but I'm not even close to ready for our exam next week (Pause). Hey, there's a study group getting together tomorrow evening. Do you want to join us? (Pause) Great, I'll see you tomorrow at 9 p.m. at the Library.”
Have several approaches in your back pocket. Experiment with these or a combination of these to express your own unique style in a way that is comfortable for you. Regardless of the personality you choose, always introduce yourself with eye contact, a firm handshake, sincere smile, and your name.