happysmilingpeopleSocially Excellent people smile a lot.

Great recruiters smile a lot.

Smiles attract people.  Frowns do not.  Want to be more attractive?  Smile more.   Want to be more successful in social situations?  Smile.  Want to recruit more people.  Smile at more people today.

How much do you smile?  Are you smiling right now?  Try it.  Smile right now.  Hold it.  Hold it.  Hold it… Great!

Now, find a partner, tell them not to smile at you.  Stare at them and smile for 30 full seconds.  They smiled, didn’t they?

Do you know people who should smile more? Maybe they need the Happiness Hat created by a person named Lauren McCarthy (see the video below).


happiness hat from Lauren McCarthy on Vimeo.

Smiling is a powerful thing.  While researching smiling, I learned the following things (from here and here)…

  • There are over 18 different types of smiles that are used in a variety of social situations. For instance, people can use a smile to say a hello, and they can also use a different type of smile to show their understanding of a  particular situation.
  • Smiling releases endorphins and makes us feel better, even when you fake a smile you can feel better.
  • Women smile more often (62/day) than men (8/day).
  • A person that smiles is deemed to be more pleasant, sincere, attractive and more sociable than a non-smiling person.

It may seems simple and silly.  But I’m going to smile more this week.  I hope you do too.  Try it out to see what happens.  Record how many people you can get to smile at you this week in response to your smiling at them.  Don’t be fake about it… Smile because smiling makes you happy.  Smile because you have the chance to make a new friend today.  Smile for any reason.  Just smile more.

Do You Have Questions?

by Matt Mattson?

What is the best question you’ve asked someone so far today?  Is there anything that can affect change more than a well-timed, well thought-out, well-delivered question?  Don’t you think you should ask more and better questions?

Would you like to know some questions that can help you start conversations and be socially excellent?  What’s your story?  How’s your day been so far?  This is great, don’t you think?  Am I in the right place?  Do you understand this stuff?  Can I help you with that?  Do we know each other?  Are you as excited about this as I am?  Did you see that show last night?  Are you a fan of this stuff?  What’s the deal with that?  Would you mind if I borrowed that for a second? Do you have any recommendations for fun things to do around here?  Do you mind if I sit here?  Is it really this time of year already?  Would it be o.k. if I complimented you on something?  Could you help me with something really quick?    Could I ask you a question?

How would you like to also have some questions to help coach, lead, and advise the organizations you work with?  First, have you seen  this and this?  What is your organization trying to accomplish this year?  What are you about?  How are you changing the world?  What are you working on today?  If you were advising your group, what would you recommend?  What will you commit to today?  When will that be completed, exactly?  How will I know when you’ve fulfilled your commitment?  How are you measuring your progress?  What do you have control over in this situation?  Does this match up with the person you want to be?  How are you going beyond the call of duty today?  How proud are you of your organization today?  How do you want to be remembered?  What is the legacy you’re leaving?  If your organization was perfect, how would it look different?  What are the questions you should be asking your members?

Are you going to the AFA Annual Meeting?  Would you like know about a pretty cool program we’ll be doing called, “Do You Have Questions”?  What if an entire educational session was delivered in question format?  What could you learn about the power of questions?  What percentage of sentences that you speak each day are questions?  How would increasing the amount and quality of questions you ask every day impact your effectiveness at work?  What role do questions play in coaching our students?  Would your students respond more to questions or advice?  Will you come to this session prepared with at least 25 of your most effective questions for use in advising and coaching students?  Did you notice anything strange about this program description?


by Josh Orendi

What would you do if the 100 highest quality, freshmen/sophomore students from your school sat in front of you at the request of the President/Dean to be recruited into your organization(s)?

Crazy?  Nope.  All you need to do is ask.

Fraternity/Sorority life represents a significant percentage of your school’s undergraduate leadership.  We are a partner (not a parasite) to our host institutions.  Top students come together to better the community, campus, and each others lives through a mission of friendship, service, leadership, scholarships, and integrity.  We’re the training ground for social excellence that compliments scholastic excellence.  It’s time for you to present that argument and ask the partner institution for their support.

Leverage the support of alumni and/or the fraternity/sorority life office to approach the Dean, university president, or an administrator of similar status.  This is a perfect responsibility for a high functioning Council.  Ask for his/her direct support contacting the top 100 leaders from the freshmen/sophomore class.  Ask for a letter and an email sent directly from him/her requesting that student’s attendance at a meeting, luncheon, etc.

How to define the top 100 students?
- consider the top 100 GPA’s, or
- consider non-greek students in positions of “president, vp, or treasurer” of any recognized student group, or
- consider recommendations from the faculty, or
- consider scholarship/honors recipients, or
- consider letting the students self-select themselves as being in the top 100

Require/request an RSVP and manage the entire process for the Dean.  If you don’t get to 100 confirmed guests, send out a new batch to the next 50 in line…

The top 100 non-greek students are about to show up, now what?
- it’s time to practice social excellence.
- don’t talk fraternity, be genuinely curious about them and establish a relationship
- introduce them to others in the room that they might enjoy and/or benefit from knowing
- be a great host

The Dean/President might attend to make a few comments about leadership, excellence, and the school’s endorsement of student organizations that embrace and advance the university’s mission.  That’s the segway we’re looking for to introducing the next generation of fraternity/sorority life.  A movement that redefines all the stereotypes and targets unlikely joiners … like them.  You get the picture.

A follow up meeting is a good idea, but the real magic happened when they walked in the room.  Your best greek leaders were mixing, mingling, networking, and flexing their “social excellence” muscles as they built new relationships.  It’s time for personal invitations for coffee, lunch, a study group, small social function, etc.  Now you’re recruiting the best of the best!

If you’re feeling like you need more content in your meeting, ask for their help.  Literally.  Ask them to complete a survey reflecting their opinions of greek life.  Or, ask them openly (think focus group) for their thoughts.  This does not need to be a sales pitch.  Remember that part of social excellence is being genuinely curious and even vulnerable.

PS.  There’s no particular reason why this has to be the “top 100.”  You could focus on the top 1000 or the top 10.  Your choice.

PPS.  Thank the Dean/president with a nice card signed by each member/chapter and maybe a small gift.  Be sure to include a line that says, “we can’t wait to do this with you again next year.”

Recruit By Teaching Social Excellence


by Matt Mattson

[To learn about Social Excellence, visit]

Fraternities and sororities are supposed to be social organizations, right?  Okay. 

First-year students, in order to be successful, often need to a) connect with other students, b) learn social skills, and c) have their comfort zones expanded, right?  Okay.

What if fraternities and sororities hosted a major program for first-year students that prepared them with the social networking skills and connections with other students that they need to be successful (potentially during “Welcome Week” or orientation)?  What if fraternities and sororities provided that service to first-year students as a favor to the university?  What if that program was mostly an opportunity to learn about social skills through practicing them (and both Greeks and non-Greeks participated)?  Think of how quickly and effectively your fraternity/sorority members could connect with non-Greek students, and how everyone would win!

Now is a great time of year to call the residence life and/or orientation departments on campus to see if Greek Life could help them out.  Propose that Greek Life, as the social center of campus, provide a SOCIAL EXCELLENCE program for non-Greek students that would teach those students how to have great conversations, how to build a large network of student leaders, and how to master the most important trait of any high-performing student — Social Excellence.

Phired Up Productions could provide that program for your campus, by the way.  E-mail to inquire.  We can teach your members how to recruit for a portion of the day, then teach all non-Greek students or all freshmen about Social Excellence… that Social Excellence program could be hosted by Greeks, and everyone gets to connect together, have meaningful conversations throughout the program, and learn together.  What an incredible recruitment opportunity!

Or you could build your own networking reception, social skills educational program, or conversation workshop.  The key is to have fraternities and sororities serve as the hosts of this opportunity.  This will give your fraternities and sororities access to and influence over these studnets, while providing a truly valuable program for them and for your university.  A win/win/win!

Great Posts from Phi Delta Theta

phi_delta_theta_crest2The team at Phired Up Productions has been highly impressed with the way that Phi Delta Theta Fraternity has been leading the fraternity/sorority movement in the usage of technology to educate, recruit for, and organize their organization.  Their website and social media usage is something for many of us to learn from. 

Check out a couple of recent blog posts that are particularly applicable to recruitment…


Using Technology in Your Recruitment Efforts by Steve Good

In today’s world, those who do not adapt to technological change will be left behind.  Companies who do not embrace new technologies to reach their customers will eventually fall behind tech-savvy companies determined to acquire market share through today’s technological platforms.

You know what these platforms are – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, iPhone applications, wikis for solving issues, etc.

It seems like everywhere we go now, companies, organizations, politicians, athletes, and many other entities are promoting their presence on these platforms.  Some do it well but others seem to just do it because everyone else is doing it.  Those doing it well have a distinct strategy behind why they spend time developing content to share through these platforms. 



Recruit Smarter, Not Harder by Dustin Struble

Let me just throw this out there:  Rush sucks.

It is exhausting, expensive and time-consuming.  Most importantly it is used as a crutch by many chapters, relying on potential new members to come to us rather than seeking out the top men on campus.  Should we do away with rush?  Of course not.  Rush is a great opportunity to introduce potential new members that you have been year-round recruiting as well as showcase the fraternity to men that are first considering fraternity membership.  However, rush should be the icing on the cake, not the end all be all.  Similarly, the amount of time the chapter spends focused on rush should proportionate to other methods of recruitment.

Unquestionably, every campus and Greek community is different.  However, here are some time-tested recruitment tactics that if used will yield positive results:



by Matt Mattson

Occassionally we get the chance to brag about our home chapters… We try not to do it too much, but my guys are making me proud right now.  I’ve talked about them before here and here – the Delta Phi Chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi at Grand Valley State University.  This time I’d like to share some of their success and a simple concept they employed (2 on 1′s) to get a lot of their success this fall… There are a couple of other pretty cool lessons in here too.

Coming into the fall 2008 semester, the chapter had 18 guys and were in a pretty bad situation.  They had a high need for recruitment success.  We did a little work with them, and they nailed it.  Fall 2008 they recruited 19 guys (more than doubling in size).  Spring 2009 they recruited another 11 guys to take them to 48 total.  They continued their success this fall (2009) by taking the largest new member class in the chapter’s history – 21.  But it gets even better.  For the first time ever, the chapter is taking a second fall pledge class!  These guys are giving out bids right now and expect another 7 men to become new members of the fraternity. 


Phired Up teaches the concept of the “+1 Ratio.”  This is the idea that instead of overwhelming potential members with piles of brothers/sisters all at once, in order to help your prospects feel comfortable, we should engage them in small groups… ideally never more than +1 members when compared the amount of potential members.  So if there is 1 prospect, no more than 2 members.  Two prospects… no more than three members so that the prospects feel comfortable and not overwhelmed.

Well this chapter took this concept and made it a centerpiece of their fall recrutiment.  Early this fall they made the core of their relationship building strategy 2-on-1′s.  They built a solid Names List, and then engaged the people on that Names List not only in recruitment events, barbecues, and traditional rush events, but mostly in simple 2-on-1 lunches.  2 brothers. 1 potential member.  Doing normal things together (lunch, coffee, dinner, gym, etc.).  They built most of their relationships through this simple process of small, 2-on-1 activities.  It was cheap, easy to plan, easy to manage, and easy to build into their already busy lives.

One of the other reasons this was so important to the chapter was because “easy to plan, easy to manage” were vital for this group.  For a number of complicated reasons, the chapter came into the fall without a recruitment chairman!  A lot of chapters might have scrambled to fill the position with anyone.  This chapter decided that it would be better to “gather their horses and get to work.”  And they did.  They built a recruitment team, and executed the best recruitment period in the history of the chapter (and the best recruitment results of all chapters on campus) without a clear recruitment leader.  They did it as a team.  They gathered together and focused on recruitment behaviors, not on recruitment plans.  They just did the work that was necessary.

Three huge lessons can be drawn from this chapter’s continually evolving story of success…

1. Why aren’t you taking a second class of new members this semester?  Instead of hoping you’ll get those members next semester during your Spring recruitment, what if you built your class right NOW?  Will it complicate things and make it difficult to figure out your new member process, etc.?  Probably, but is it worth it?  It was for these guys.

2. 2-on-1′s is a simple idea that works.  Maybe we don’t have to overcomplicate things.  Maybe we could just focus on doing this one simple thing really well.  A lot of 2-on-1 meetings.  Maybe that would be smart, efficient, effective, simple, and easy for your members.

3. Gather your horses and get to work.  High performing recruitment chapters understand that it shouldn’t be about the skill and motivation of one or two members.  Even if challenges happen like your recruitment chair doesn’t perform or doesn’t exist… you can still gather your recruitment horses, and get to work.

Keep making me proud brothers.  And I hope this story inspires other chapters out there…

YOU! Do Work!

[Editor's Note: This is a recurring theme.  It must be important. See here and here and probably other places]

by Jessica Gendron Williams

finger-pointingWe’re rounding the hump of the middle of the semester and your are either coming off of a big recruitment push or gearing up for next semester’s big push. Either way you might be experiencing a lack of motivation in your chapter when it comes to recruitment. You’re likely frustrated, overwhelmed, and a little burnt out. You might be asking yourself, “Why can’t I get anyone in the chapter to do any recruitment?” There is only one solution to this problem – Do Work!

It starts with you. It starts with one.

You can’t motivate your chapter to do work. You can’t even motivate five people to do work. The only thing you can do is motivate yourself. Do Work! You have the power to recruit and be successful. You may not be able to single-handedly double your chapter in size within the next four to six weeks of the semester, but you DO have the power to bring men or women into your organization – one, two, five or more highly qualified and highly motivated members. However, you aren’t going to get there by complaining or by pushing members of your chapter to do it. The only way it will happen is if you – Do Work!

You have to model the way. You have to – Do Work! If you are in charge of recruitment for your chapter and don’t actually do any recruitment, how can you expect any of your members to do any work? You have to be the role model. You have to set the standard. You have to be the best recruiter in the chapter. You have to be the most motivated member of the group. You have to – Do Work! Stop worrying about what people aren’t doing and get busy. Make friends, attend events, hang out, be visible, and be around. Do the things you wish your members would do. As you start to bring people to the organization or into the organization, others will notice and want to help, but if you aren’t doing the work – who will?

YOU have to meet people. You have to get their contact information. You have to add their name to the Names List. You have to hang out with them doing small activities. You have to talk to them about the sorority/fraternity. You have to – Do Work! Be the model of Social Excellence within your chapter. Be the model of good recruitment. Set the standard. Do Work!

Here are five things you can do in the next seven days:

  1. Sit somewhere different in class or next to someone you don’t typically sit near (you may have to show up a little late or a little early to do that) and turn them and introduce yourself and ask them to study with you.
  2. Go to a campus event on campus (blood drive, speaker, late-night event, student government meeting) and work the room. Meet the people who are there.
  3. Call, email or facebook someone you met earlier in the semester and reconnect. Find a reason to hang out, study, or find something that they are doing for a student group they are in and go.
  4. Ask one of your new members to introduce you to the people on their floor. Have them take you into their dorm door-to-door to meet them, say hi, and try to strike up a conversation with them (asking about future plans, classes, etc.)
  5. Sign up for a service event on campus and go. Make friends with the other people there.

Recruitment success starts with you. It starts with one. Stop complaining about everyone else. Stop making excuses. Suck it up and – Do Work! You may be the only one, but if you don’t, who will? Do Work!

Powerful Recruitment Story/Video: The Struggle

by Doug Sweeney (Guest Blogger, Friend of Phired Up, Current Expansion Professional for Delta Sigma Phi)

Doug Sweeney, Delta Sigma Phi

Two types of guys join fraternities.  Guys who want to gain value from a fraternity and guys who add value to it.  I looked at all the fraternities my freshman year on campus.  All but one told me I would gain value by being their brother.  I rushed Delta Sigma Phi, the newest and smallest fraternity on Stetson University’s campus, simply because a few good men needed me to add value to their fraternity.  Together, that small group of us had this dream that we would be the men that put our chapter from last place to first place. 

From day 1 as a “pledge”, myself and others went out and told men on campus exactly what we dreamed and asked them if they would be willing to help us bring that dream into fruition.  My fondest memories in the fraternity came from the outcomes that followed recruiting men like this.  There’s a real natural high that comes from doubling a fraternity and bringing in a new class of men who want to add value to your organization.  And for us… It didn’t take rush shirts, big events, flyers, tabling, trophies, reputation, parties, girls or our house.  All it came down to was a dream, me and like 3 other guys… check it out.

If you dream it, they will join it…

by Matt Mattson

The best student leaders aren’t interested in helping you maintain the status quo.  They might, however, be highly interested in co-creating a wild, bold, spectacular dream with you.  If you can inspire them with what is to be, if you can dream a remarkable dream… then they might be interested.  What do you want your fraternity/sorority to become?  Watch the video and we dare you to make a two sentence statement on Facebook  and Twitter stating what you want to create…


So, what do you want to create?  Tell the world in your Tweets and Facebook Status, and tell us at!