by Vince Fabra
I love being on stage. I have a the pleasure of spreading the messages of Dynamic Recruitment and Social Excellence. Also, as a hobby, I regularly perform stand-up comedy. Presenting for Phired Up makes me a better stand-up comedian, and performing stand-up comedy makes me a better presenter for Phired Up.
Recruitment and comedy are two huge parts of my life. I always thought it would be cool to write a recruitment blog with a lesson learned from stand-up comedy, but a strong connection has only recently revealed itself.
Before I begin, let me quickly share two pieces of comedy vernacular:
Stand-Up comedy is full of highs and lows. When first starting out, the lows are more frequent. Then, after some growth, it is a “win some, lose some” type racket. Once a comedian finds his or her style, the highs become the norm, but no matter how seasoned or talented the comedian, there will always be those lows; those BOMBS.
Every comedian does the same thing after he or she bombs. We place blame on circumstance. – It was a late show and the audience was tired. The guy before me really brought the energy down. The TV’s at the bar were really distracting. The host was terrible. It was really hot in the room. It was a bad crowd. – We are always quick to place the blame of bombing on the circumstances we were given. Sometimes those complaints are valid. Sometimes a late show or a distracting TV or a terrible host can put us in a hole, but we have to go on stage, overcome and be undeniably funny. If we crush, we are willing to accept the praise, but if we bomb, we immediately list reasons why it was out of our control.
Having worked in the fraternal world for the last six years, I’ve heard a lot of chapters blame circumstances for “bombing” in recruitment. – The university doesn’t like fraternities/sororities. Greek Life has a bad reputation on campus. We’re a commuter school. The IFC/CPC/NPHC/MGC did a bad job promoting recruitment. Our cookout got rained out. Not a lot of people signed up for recruitment. – The comedian that just bombed and the chapter that just bombed are guilty of placing the blame elsewhere.
I am learning a lesson as a stand-up comedian that I feel is relevant to fraternity and sorority recruiters – A true professional accepts responsibility for crushing and bombing. A true professional doesn’t look outward at circumstances but rather looks inward to sharpen their own act. A true professional uses failure to improve instead of passing it off as “There was nothing I could do.”
How do you avoid bombing at comedy? Preparation, commitment to the material, repetition, and a complete ownership over your successes and failures.
How do you avoid bombing at recruitment? The same exact answers to the previous question.
Preparation – Create a recruitment plan.
Commitment to the material – Stick to the plan. Create benchmarks to track your progress.
Repetition – Avoid “recruitment week” and continuously make friends all year long.
Ownership over successes and failures – When there is no one to blame except yourself, you’ll work hard to avoid that pride swallowing moment.
Have I ever bombed? YES. Does it suck? YES. Do you sometimes question why you would subject yourself to attempting to make strangers laugh? YES. But I go back up, because nothing feels better than crushing.
by Taylor Deer
How do I motivate my brothers/sisters to go out and recruit? I’m so sick of that question. So I came up with the answers you are all looking for.
Here they are:
These are all things that I sincerely wished that I had thought of while I was recruitment chair as an undergraduate. Some of them I have tried. Chuck Norris never returned my emails.
Here’s the truth though, we ask that question because we sincerely believe that there is some magical system or model out there that will inspire our sisters and brothers to action. Something that will cause members to forget their crippling fear of meeting first year students. There are a million and two different motivational theories out there, ranging from incredibly complex to extremely philosophical to overly simplistic.
Let me make something very clear, you do not have the time or energy to implement most of these models. Frankly, its tough for some of your members to get up in the morning and go to a class that they are paying thousands of dollars for. How the heck are you supposed to convince them to use up their free time to go half way across campus, walk into an area they haven’t been in years, and start talking to people they have never met before.
The answer is… They wont do it. If you somehow pull out all the tricks in the book and get everyone out to an event on the other side of campus, congratulations, you’ve probably exhausted yourself to the point where the last thing you want to do is go out and recruit someone yourself. Also, as a bonus prize, they will lean on their attendance at that one event to get themselves out of every other event for the rest of the year.
There is only one answer to the question. The answer will save you exponential amount of time money and effort.
The answer is: Lead. By. Example.
Go out and recruit people by yourself. Take 3-4 brothers/sisters that have the time and passion to recruit the entire next pledge class. Let the chapter know exactly what you are doing and how they can help support you, but that’s it. Leave the door open for them, roll up your sleeves and do it by yourselves.
As one former recruitment chair to another, take these words of wisdom and run with it. You will thank yourself when you get the exact new member class you want, because you recruited all of them.
Yes, it’s hard work, but what would you rather work hard for? To spend all day yelling at members or going out and making a name for yourself and your chapter by building powerful relationships in your community.
The choice is yours.