5 Ways to Turn Boring Questions into Amazing Conversations

by Vince Fabra

While presenting with fabulously brilliant Jessica Gendron Williams , she shared this easy conversation tool. Now, I share it with you as a blog.

5 simple ways to turn your boring question into an amazing conversation.

Far too often, our conversations get stuck. We get caught up in a polite information exchange, where we just say and hear about majors, hometowns, years in college, residence hall we live in, etc. (We call this “the middle”. See this blog from 2010). Would you like 5 ways to turn boring questions into amazing questions? Of course you would.

Here they are!

  1. Why…?
  2. How…?
  3. Tell me more about…
  4. Explain to me…
  5. Help me understand…

Watch how this works.

Q: What is your major?
A: Engineering

That’s about all you can do with that. Watch how that changes when you seek information in a better way.

Q: Tell me about your major.
A: Well, I came into college and originally thought I wanted to study biology, but then I dissected a frog, so I changed to engineering… (STORY)

These five question prefixes work for any question. Having a boring conversation? Not anymore when you can add Why, How, Tell me more about, Explain to me, or Help me understand to the front of your questions. You’re welcome.

Surprising Research About Fraternity/Sorority Life (and how you can contribute)


76% of Greek Life campuses have fraternity/sorority housing
34% of Greek Life communities have at least one "local" chapter (unaffiliated with a national organization)

68% of sorority Panhellenic communities use fully structured formal recruitment
68% of IFC fraternity communities use open, year-round recruitment.

$43 = average cost to participate in sorority recruitment.
81% of IFC communities do not charge to go through fraternity recruitment.

71% of campuses include time during orientation to educate students about fraternity and sorority life.
35% of campuses provide names and contact information of incoming students upon request.

When asked if "growth" is a priority for your community, campus professionals responded "YES"
72% of the time for IFC
68% of the time for panhel
51% for NPHC
30% for NALFO
20% for NAPA

96 = Average reported "total" for sorority recruitment in 2012
33 = Average reported "quota" for sorority recruitment in 2012

On average, university professionals dedicated to working with fraternities and sororities spend 78% of their work time advising fraternities and sororities.

Research like this is a critical part of us growing together as an interfraternal community.  Be sure to ask your Greek Life office if they””ve completed the 2013 survey.  Here is the direct link .  DEADLINE = June 25, 2013.

*These statistics based on 2012 responses to the inaugural Campus Growth Survey. More accurate data comes from more participation. Please help us truly KNOW the trends and realities of the growing fraternal movement by sharing the link to the survey with other Greek Life professionals in your network.

Lighting The Fire of Recruitment

by Paul Manly

What’s the driving force for your chapter to grow? Is your chapter conducting recruitment efforts out of fear – that is, fear of closing? Or is your chapter growing because you know you have something to contribute? Are you recruiting to meet quota, or to not have “the smallest chapter on campus”? Or are you recruiting because you want to truly share your organization’s beliefs and principles with others? Does your chapter have a destination or a destiny?

Dynamic Recruitment takes a whole lot more work than static recruitment. At Phired Up, we’re constantly being asked, “how can I motivate my chapter to put in the effort to adopt Dynamic Recruitment principles?” If you ask Woody Woodcock his opinions on education and coaching, he’ll reference William Butler Yeats, credited for preaching: "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

If this is true, let’s examine the properties of fire. Fire requires three things to exist: fuel, heat and oxygen. The science of building a great campfire is knowing how to regulate these specific elements together to get the end result. So what two or three elements must be present to ignite a fire within your chapter?

In a discussion on education, Dr. Timothy Pychyl – a professor of psychology at Carleton University – suggests two elements absolutely vital to lighting a fire in others: will and skill . Excellent recruiters have the will and hunger to grow their organizations to truly reach their density, not their destination. They understand their chapter’s WHY. In addition, excellent recruiters have the skills to connect with others in a meaningful way, and know the appropriate strategies for conducting dynamic recruitment.

Pychyl resolves, “ultimately, the student must be the fuel for the fire, but that doesnt mean that educators dont have a role in lighting this fire. At the very least, we have to spark the students  interest.” Our chapter officers, recruitment chairmen, and other leaders need to spark the fire in their members. But how?

Winston Churchill once said, “The orator is the embodiment of the passions of the multitude. Before he can inspire them with any emotion he must be swayed by it himself, before he can move their tears his own must flow; to convince them he must himself believe.” Before we can sell our chapter on fully supporting Dynamic Recruitment, we must fully support and believe in it. Confidence goes a long way here. Rally support from other chapter members that want the same things as you.

So, before you can ignite the fire within your chapter, you must:

1) Know WHY you’re recruiting, and have the will to grow your organization to reach its destiny
2) Possess and practice the skills associated with Dynamic Recruitment.

For more information, check out Pychyl’s discussion of Will and Skill here . Try substituting in “recruiters” or “officers” for where Pychyl mentions “educators”.

(Wow, I made it the entire blog without a Phired Up pun! I hope I don’t get Phired.)