Recruiting Without Hosting Events (Guest Blogger)

by Kevin Uland
[Occassionally Phired Up comes across an outstanding proactive undergraduate fraternity man that wants to share his recruitment wisdom with the world. We're happy to provide that opportunity to people like Kevin Uland, a Delta Chi from Ohio State. Kevin made a terrific first impression at a conference Matt met him at in Michigan last year. He offers some great advice in this blog! If you'd like to be a guest Phired Up blogger, E-mail]

As a top recruiter on your campus, it is important to always be aware of how to utilize every method to follow up with potentials you've already met and meet new potential members. Many fraternities fall into the static ideals of hosting big events such as a barbeque, poker tournaments, parties, and many other events that literally rack up thousands of dollars a year to support. What is being underutilized on many campuses for recruitment is the use of campus-sponsored events. These events are great recruitment tools for many reasons. Here are some of them:

1) The events are FREE! ‐ A majority of campus events share two similar themes; free food and an engaging activity. Freshmen are especially drawn to these types of events because of the "free food" aspect, and a chance to meet new friends. Whether the activity is human bingo, a movie night, involvement fairs, or an event hosted by another club/organization, hundreds of students gather and partake in these activities whether you're there or not! So why not take advantage of something free!?

2) Neutral ‐ Instead of inviting a potential member to your "big scary fraternity house" who has possibly only known you for a few days, consider the idea of making it a little more comfortable for them by meeting on campus. What a lot of recruiters have trouble with understanding, is that we tend to make the event easier for ourselves to attend instead of the potential member. A neutral event on campus is key to making both sides feel comfortable, even if that means your members must go a little further than just walking downstairs for a recruitment event!

3) Lots of people ‐ Referrals, referrals, referrals. One of the major components to driving more quality names onto your names list is social networking through referrals. Cluster recruiting with campus events is huge. Don't be afraid to ask your potential member, "Hey man, bring you a roommate or floor mate, afterwards we're going to play football on the quad." Or, "Hey man, nice to see you again, who are your friends you brought along!?" Identifying a point man in a dorm that is social and extroverted can do wonders for the amount of names your names list contains.

Before the campus events happen, make sure your members are enthusiastic about the event. If it is something they are excited about, many of them will be more willing to call up potentials and transfer enthusiasm to the recruits! Also, when calling, use strong verbiage. Don't say "hey man, there is X event going on and it'd be cool if you could make it"" DO SAY, "Josh! There is a paper rock scissors tournament going on today at the quad, you need to be there!" By saying you need to be there' you're implying "I'm going to be there, and you should be too" which, is a lot more compelling to get a potential new member out to an event! 

I hope this helps your chapter with recruitment. We're all in this together as Greeks and need to support each other! Thanks to Matt and Josh, the two most incredible men I know, for giving me a minute to share my thoughts!

Kevin Uland
Ohio State 10
The Delta Chi Fraternity

5 Stages of a Great Recruitment Call

by Josh Orendi

[Also see here for Matt's take on a simple follow-up call script]

I recently had the pleasure of doing telephone training with fraternity men at BGSU and MTSU. Before tackling hundreds of calls (in under an hour) we did 20 minutes of phone training. Here are the 5 stages we focused on.

1. The first word our of our mouths should be his name, using an inquisitive energetic tone. This is his favorite word and puts you in control of the call. Do not say “hello? … Is this John … Hi, this is Josh …” just follow this tip. Say only his name with an energetic inquisitive tone.

2. Tell him why you are calling:
– I just had a great conversation with Kim at Phi Sig about top leaders on campus. Your name came up at least 2-3 times.
– I've been talking with a few freshmen leaders that were hand selected by this year's orientation mentors, I was hoping that I could pick your brain for a few minutes.
– We're organizing an new student organization with a group of “best-of-the-best” leaders. Your name found its way on the list more than once so I figured I should give you a call personally.

3. Ask YES questions. We then ask several questions that we already know that he's likely to say “yes” to. For example:
– You know Mike Jones right?
– You're a freshman this year, right?
– Do you have a roommate?
– Your name is on our list scholarship applications, you applied for the Don Zimmer Memorial Scholarship, RIGHT?

4. Schedule an appointment day/time to talk.
- I'm sure your week is as busy as mine. I have a little time on Monday morning or Wednesday afternoon. Which is better for you?
– Let's grab a cup of coffee in the union. Are you available right now, or should we schedule a time for next week.

5. “PERFECT.” This is the only answer to EVERY response/excuse he has. Literally! Just say “perfect.”
HIM: I don't really have time.”
ME: Perfect. I don't have much time either. The best student on campus rarely do. Let's make sure our meeting doesn't take more than 15 minutes.

HIM: I can't make it tonight.
ME: Perfect. We have another opportunity tomorrow night that we're expected to be better attended. 

HIM: I don't have a car on campus.
ME: Perfect. We're shuttling people to the BBQ starting at 6pm. What time should we meet you out front of the dorms?

BONUS POINTER: The goal is NOT to have a 10 minute conversation. A good conversation is less than 90 seconds long. Take control of the conversation, lock in the appointment, confirm the details, and dial the next number.

Social Excellence: Woody’s Phired Up Lifestyle

* Blog post 5 in a series of 6 on Social Excellence * 

by Woody Woodcock

During a recent trip out to the Pacific Northwest a lot of ideas were going through my head. One topic that our staff had been discussing was the now wildly famous concept of social excellence. Is social excellence a single occurrence, is it multiple interactions, a series of linked up relationships"hmmm? In this blog I want to share some free-flowing thoughts on how I feel about this idea of social excellence; and I hope you'll soon choose to live a life of social excellence too. 

On that trip I kept trying to break it down and evaluate it from how I believed I had experienced social excellence in my life. At some point my parents taught me that all of us were created so unique and I should take a chance to find out what makes us all different. Every taxi ride, airplane flight, hotel stay, or campus I walk across allows me tons of opportunities to connect with great people. All it takes is being unafraid to ask good questions that go so much deeper than "where you from?" and "what's your major?". Sometimes I wish there were two of me so I could talk to more people and really listen to their stories. 

We never truly know how one conversation can change someone's life and give them hope to walk a little taller, feel like they belong, and get them Phired Up about their day. After I had reflected on social excellence I believe it encompasses confidence, intelligence, warmth, a sense of style and class. It is genuinely caring about people and their story regardless of who they are, what they look like, or what they smell like. It is a simmering desire to want to invest in others for a lifetime. It is an enthusiastic choice and a way of life for how I want to behave and it has become my Phired Up lifestyle.

I keep trying to imagine with all the talent that I see on these campuses how long it would take us to break down the negative stereotype of Greek Life if the lifestyle of social excellence became the "norm". The organizations we belong to were created to make women and men better right? To also serve not only our own selfish interest but to serve other students on our campus with something worthwhile right? If you agree then just nod as you read this. What if, because of our social excellence in action (communicated both verbally and non-verbally), all students thought that to unlock the best version of themselves they need to seek out Greek students? Talk about being relevant to a college or university.

If everyone had a deeper understanding and cared for their fellow students maybe we wouldn't have to worry about hazing, risk management, and all the social nightmares. If students knew how to have better conversations with each other this generation would realize its potential finally. My belief is if your identity is steeped in social excellence then the way you treat others becomes such a high value you wouldn't want to treat anyone poorly or endanger their lives. I would love to live in a world where everyone lived a life of social excellence.

How can all of us be more socially excellent today? Will you join me in living the Phired Up lifestyle? 

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SOCIAL EXCELLENCE: Undergraduate Perspective

* Blog post 4 in a series of 6 on Social Excellence *

by Branden Stewart, Phired Up Undergraduate Intern 

Wouldn’t it be amazing to consider yourself excellent everyday? We can’t all be as excellent as the college football quarterback, the student body president, or the smartest kid in class. Being surrounded by thousands of other students each day, it might seem hard to feel excellent all the time”

But what is excellence anyway? I looked it up, and all it really means is to be really, really good at something. Guess what everyone: if you’re Greek, then you’ve probably got the advantage to become excellent”socially excellent, that is. All of the networking opportunities, mixers, service days, philanthropy events, and educational programs we provide members would be nothing if they weren’t backed up by the social bonds that we make among our brothers and sisters. Yet with all the opportunities that we provide ourselves to sharpen our social skills, we rarely employ them outside of recruitment.

In becoming social in the Greek community, we’ve closed ourselves off from a large majority of our campus in the process. While we might consider ourselves socially excellent in the Greek world, that doesn’t really matter if you’re not meeting new people to bring into your community. Can anyone answer why so many of us learn how to be socially excellent in the Greek community, and socially horrible in the campus community?

It’s easy to do for one thing. When you walk into a class on the first day and see a Greek student, its natural to want to sit next to them and catch up about their summer break. When you’re tabling in your student center for recruitment, it’s also natural to strike up a conversation with Greek friends who are passing by. Maybe what that means is that for us to become socially excellent, we need to develop a new type of natural.

The point that I’m trying to make is that we have no problem talking to people wearing Greek letters, but many of us find it impossible to branch out after recruitment and talk to potentials. Don’t forget that everyone who isn’t Greek is a potential member, and that the more excellent you become socially, the more excellent the Greek community will become.

We all want to be excellent at something, and as a Greek student you have the advantage to use your resources to get you to an excellent social level. Make your social excellence contagious, challenge your friends to do the same things you’re doing, and let your excellence become part of your lifestyle. Keep reminding yourself that if you’re passionate about the continued growth and excellence of your fraternity or sorority, then you’ve got to become excellent every day”socially excellent. After all, who doesn’t want to be excellent?

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Social Excellence: It's More Than Just a Conversation

* Blog post 3 in a series of 6 on Social Excellence * 

by Jessica Gendron Williams

We've established that "social excellence" isn't the number of frat dudes you know or the number of seconds you can hang upside-down sucking from a dirty beer keg tapper, but social excellence also isn't just about your ability to converse with people with ease. Good conversation skill is an important component in the social excellence equation, but it's only part. Here's a list of some other things to consider:

1. Be Willing.

Socially excellent individuals have to be willing to have conversations with others. Not only that, they seek them out. How many times have you sat next to someone on a plane, train, or bus and didn't even bother to look at them? How many times have you ridden in an elevator with one stranger and watched the numbers tick by waiting for the awkward silence to end? Socially excellent people aren't satisfied with their current social network, they are always looking to expand it. They welcome opportunities to interact with new people.

2. Be Genuinely Curious.

You can be a conversation pro, have a great handshake, remember their name, use open body language, active listening, and talk to a person about themselves all day long, but that doesn't make you "socially excellent". Most people can see straight through a disingenuous "un hunh" or head nod, no matter how well placed it is. The only way all those conversation skills work (body language, active listening, etc) is if you are genuinely curious. Meaning ‐ you actually care about the conversation, are interested in what the other person is saying, and legitimately want to know more. I don't know how to teach someone to care about other people, but I do know that when you do, you open yourself up to social excellence. Be curious.

3. Be a Lady. Be a Gentleman.

Classy ladies and true gentlemen have certain characteristics. They stand to greet each person with a handshake and they leave each conversation with a handshake. They offer their chair to someone or open the door. We all know that is what they do, but for socially excellent individuals, it goes much deeper than that. Classy ladies and true gentlemen are gracious. They look at every conversation, every relationship, as an opportunity to learn and be impacted in some way (good or bad). They treat every person they meet with respect. They are warm and welcoming to everyone and they engage in meaningful dialogue each time they have the opportunity. Classy ladies and true gentleman don't just sit a certain way and open doors, they value relationships, knowledge and respect. They don't meet strangers just so they can recruit them. They believe that each person they meet will change their life in some small or big way and they seek those opportunities out regularly.

4. Be Open.

Social excellence means being open: Open to different ideas, different people, and different viewpoints. The socially excellent don't judge based on looks, stereotypes, perceptions, or what they think the person will be like. They are open to everyone. They also don't have to agree with a person about a topic to have a good conversation with them. They are open to a healthy debate and hearing different viewpoints and ideas. They respect other people, their values, beliefs, and ideals regardless of if they align with their own. 

Ultimately, "social excellence" means being the best version of yourself. Our founders wanted us to be better than the average student. They wanted us to be the type of fraternity men or sorority women that strangers naturally gravitate to because we make them feel welcome. Social excellence isn't just about a conversation. Social excellence is wanting to interact with all types of people all they time because you are genuinely curious about them and the world.

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Social Excellence: The Key to Greek Relevance

* Blog post 2 in a series of 6 on Social Excellence * 

by Josh Orendi

“Social organizations have a golden opportunity to redefine fraternal relevance within the modern collegiate environment. As important as risk management became in the 1980's, leadership development became in the 1990's, and values education became in the new century … social excellence is the issue of this next decade!”

We proudly call ourselves “social” fraternities and sororities….

Social Experiment #1: Ask your average undergraduate member if he/she is proud to be a member of a “social” organization. You’ll likely hear a Hell Yeah! (at least that's what the guys say) Then, ask them what the word “social” means. With a confused look, you’ll likely hear him/her say something along the lines of “party, girls/boys, beer, fun.” Interesting.

Social Experiment #2: Walk into a fraternity/sorority house unannounced on any random day. Begin counting the number of people that walk past you without making eye contact, let alone approaching you with a smile, shaking your hand, and welcoming you to their home (especially if you are a stranger/alumnus). After the fifth person ignores you, walk over and steal their composite and/or television — chances are they still won't stop to ask your name (we're kind of kidding about that whole theft part).

Social Experiment #3: Gather the senior members together for dinner off campus. Invite some alumni, parents, and/or faculty as guests of the chapter. Watch and enjoy the awkward behaviors, conversations, and body language. At the end of the meal, separate your guests from the members and ask them to evaluate the men/women from the chapter in terms of their social skills/etiquette. Ask: “Would you hire them? Would you trust them with your daughter/son? Were you impressed?”

Here's the hard truth that nobody is talking about: If a member is slurring his/her speech after the 5th beer we are taught and expected to cut that person off and get them home safely. They have become a social liability … a social embarrassment. HOWEVER, the pendulum swings both ways! We have members that creep out potential new members during recruitment, brothers/sisters that refuse to come out of their rooms for several days because they're upgrading their avatar on World of Warcraft, and men/women that haven't figured out that hygiene and appearance really do matter. Somehow these choices of social isolation have become acceptable!?! In a SOCIAL organization?!? 

Social Experiment #4: Go to or pick up a copy of Webster's dictionary and look up the word “social.” Read all the definitions and get a historic, complete picture of the word. Then, look at the list of synonyms. “friendly companionship, community, a gregarious person that avoids solitude….”

We've been “social” fraternities/sororities for a LONG time. Speaking of my own organization's history (Alpha Sigma Phi), I'm guessing that Horace, Steven, and Louis (our founders) weren't plotting at the first Yale College meeting in 1845 of getting the pledges together and throwing a raging kegger with strippers at the annual beach party in the basement of the Tomb. Furthermore, I'm guessing that Musgrave and the boys (some more of our founders) wouldn't have tolerated a brother that came to class in sweat pants smelling like a moldy loaf of bread. 

I'm not anti-party (far from it). And, I'm not anti-video games (far from that, too). Though I am deeply curious how we came to redefine our “social” history to meet our selfish desires and all the while mask the fact that more than 1/2 of our membership is socially inept. Seriously!?! How is it we have members that graduate from SOCIAL fraternities/sororities who can't hold a 30 second conversation with a stranger? How is it that we've allowed our “values-based” organizations to redefine our ritual/purpose to become the center of the campus party scene?

I’d like to cut off my already-too-long rant and offer a plea that address this “social emergency” with an optimistic solution.

Social organizations have a golden opportunity to redefine fraternal relevance within the modern collegiate environment. As important as risk management became in the 1980's, leadership development became in the 1990's, and values education became in the new century … social excellence is the issue of this next decade! We are uniquely positioned to address a major need and do what cannot be taught in the classroom. Universities actually NEED US again. If we accept the challenge, we can become the model for developing a generation of socially aware, socially responsible, socially excellent men and women with the interpersonal social skills to succeed and enjoy a fulfilling life.

Fraternities and sororities are designed to empower peer education and common experiences in a low-risk, high-reward laboratory of life with a support network of mentors (alumni, HQ, greek life office, etc). If we we will embrace our traditional definition of “social” excellence, we can become THE case study for training a socially awkward, facebook generation.

Social Experiment #5: Write down the names of every undergraduate non-Greek student of the same sex that you know from your campus. After 3-5 minutes stop. Look at the paper and ask yourself what that list reveals about your “social network.” Is knowing less than 15 non-greek men/women how you define social excellence? Do those names on your list represent the best of your campus community? How would your brothers/sisters score doing this same experiment? Are you part of a socially excellent organization or is it time to get to work making some changes?

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What it Means to Belong: Why Greek Membership Matters

by Colleen Coffey, co-author of I Heart Recruitment

As some of you may know, my full time job is not/ was not authoring I Heart Recruitment with Jessica. I work full time as a mental health advocate and speaker. As coincidence would have it, before Matt joined PUP full time he was also a mental health advocate. How do mental health and fraternity/sorority recruitment have anything in common? Josh Orendi and I were pondering this very question over dinner last week. The answer? Quite a bit, actually.

When I think about the purpose of Greek life, I often find myself wondering, "why does this matter?" I mean, at the end of the day fraternity and sorority life are important. Being a member is a lot of fun and we do a lot for our campus and local communities. I especially enjoy the mentorship I get as a young alumna from more established women in my organization. These things are cool and should not be discounted, but really- could I not find this purpose elsewhere? What is it that makes fraternal membership different than anything else? The obvious answer for me is that I am able to subscribe to a common set of values, shared by every other Alpha Sigma Tau in the country but the other, less obvious answer, is BELONGING.

Recent research by Joiner (2005) and earlier research by Baumeister and Leary (1995) documented the need to belong as a fundamental component of mental health. In fact, these scholars contend that a lack of belonging puts individuals at a greater risk for suicide. Mental health concerns have reached endemic proportions for University students. Furr, Westefeld, McConnell, and Jenkins (2001) revealed, through a multi- institutional study, that 50% of college students experience depression. The 2006 National College Health Assessment supported these findings, indicating that 42 percent of college students feel so depressed at times that it is difficult to function. That same study showed nine percent of students reported seriously considering suicide during the previous 12 months. I would argue that the sense of belonging that comes from Greek membership is like nothing else in the world. Belonging to one of these groups, in turn, has the potential to strongly positively impact the mental health of its members. Further, both the recruitment and new member processes have been studied and shown to significantly positively affect self-esteem (Brand & Dodd, 1998; Hirt & Spruill, 2008).

The very core of who we are and what we do in fraternity and sorority life is about belonging. It may be optimistic, but I would say that most of you are in healthy chapters that care about your members and work to make the Greek experience the best it can be for everyone. If that is true, you are doing something remarkable for the self-esteem of your members but also for their mental health. By giving people a place to belong, I think (and I have data to support it) you are doing a lot to positively influence the quality of life for every person in your organization.

The next time you are describing the benefit of your organization to a potential new member- tell them this "we give people a place to belong." It may sound cheesey, but deep down it is what people need to hear.

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