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The Three Stone Ring

by Josh Orendi

When a man gives his sweetheart a 3 stone ring, it’s a symbol of their past, present, and future together as a couple. These rings have become popular as engagement rings, anniversary presents, Valentine’s gifts, and occasionally as a way to get out of the dog house when he really screws up.

The 3 stone approach that means so much to many girlfriends and wives, also works as a great way to help people understand your sorority. [Although giving out diamond rings might initially attract more members, this is not what we're talking about.] Does this sound familiar?

Potential New Member: Tell me about your sorority.
Sister: Uh. Umm, like ” oh my god, I would like die for my sisters. This sorority is like totally different than all the other ones. Our girls are so sweet and nice and cute. You would totally love it ” seriously “

It’s embarrassing, we know. These are great members that are stumbling all over themselves to explain the organization that means the world to them. Here’s how you can use the 3 Stones to help your members answer this basic question and others like it.

Potential New Member: Tell me about your sorority.
Sister:

  • (past) We were founded at Eastern Michigan in 1899 and have nearly 80 chapters on campuses across the country.
  • (present) This chapter has 63 members. We pride ourselves in being active, self-reliant, trustworthy women who value service, leadership, and academic excellence.
  • (future) We are focused on identifying the 26 best women on campus for our new member class.
  • (loop) What type of sorority experience are you looking for?

Now that’s a past, present, and future answer that will make a lasting impression. Notice that the “loop” is a question that brings your answer full circle back to her. Take a moment to create a 3 Stone answer for your sorority.

Past:

Present:

Future:

Loop:

The 3 Stone technique can be a real gem (excuse the bad pun) if it’s a natural response for your members. Like most things, a little practice will go a long way. That being said, I think you’ll find that most women will immediately see the value in accepting the 3 stones (wink-wink). Happy Recruiting!

 

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Rush Bong! (Stop Beer Bonging New Members)

by Josh Orendi

If your campus and/or chapter operates on a system that relies entirely on formal RUSH, you may be guilty of a Beer Bonging mentality that has you Rush Bonging New Members. Raise the funnel high, tip your head back, and read on.

The mechanics of a good Beer Bong are essentially as follows:
1. Bad beer. Nobody puts the good stuff in the magic funnel.
2. Dirty beer bong. Let’s be honest, it’s had 372 different mouths on it and the only cleaning it’s had is when Bongo did a reverse bong blow shooting foam into the other room.
3. Crowd of loud friends. If you are beer bonging solo it’s time to get help.
4. Desperate recipient on their knees hoping for something good to result from this ridiculous act. That’s you.
5. Veteran beer bonger who is single handedly redefining the role of Social Services’ and leading the event by holding and filling the funnel.
6. Clogged tube. Tongue, thumb, whatever your favorite body part might be ” the beer bong requires a stoppage that disallows any passage until the point of release.
7. Dramatic pause. Is there no one on this planet that can master a single pour without 9 inches of foam?
8. Release! With eyes the size of watermelons the beer bong victim inhales the liquid.
9. Spillage! The novice bonger takes one swig then wears the remaining 12 ounces, while the master bonger leaves only the token drops of victory left on his chin.
10. Aftermath. Not long after the bonging came the reality check of what happens when a six pack is consumed in 8.3 seconds. It didn’t look pretty before you flushed away the memory.
11. Round #2. The persistent scholar recognizes the folly of his ways and goes back to the bong dragon once more knowing that things will surely be different this time.

Q: What does this have to do with recruitment?
A: Everything ” if you’re a Rush bonging chapter. Keep reading.

1. You are bad beer. Premium chapters never rely on the RUSH bong. Quality recruitment should be consumed and enjoyed slowly over time.
2. You are dirty. Look around.
3. Crowds dominate our recruitment efforts. Nearly everything we do that is recruitment focused is centered around a party or Big Event.
4. Your chapter is on its knees at the mercy of this year’s freshmen class, hopeful that something good will come out the other end of this 2 week masquerade.
5. The veteran Rush Chairman leads the effort, but the only thing he really does is organize the party, pick up chicken wings, and blame you for expecting him to do more than hold the funnel.
6. Bid restrictions created by the school or chapter are the blockage that enables your Rush bong. “We can only recruit during this time.” Cried the dirty bongers.
7. At the end of the Rush period is the dramatic climax of “who did we get” as we wait for the foam to settle.
8. With eyes wide open we are instantly filled with new members.
9. Spillage. But a couple drop out.
10. Aftermath. The chapter’s stomach gurgles. “Retention is a problem and we don’t know why. We can’t seem to get them to stick around or stay involved.”
11. Round #2. No problem, we’d better Rush back to the Recruitment bong next semester to fill up again before our delusional high wears off.

Oh, it’s a sad dependency many of us have on the Rush Bong. As Susan Powter would say, “Stop the insanity!” If you recognize it’s time to move on to something better, help is available. It’s called Dynamic Recruitment.

Dynamic Recruitment is a systematic process of year-round, values-based recruitment. The polar opposite approach is called Static Recruitment and looks a lot like the Rush Bong. That being said, formal recruitment is often a good thing. Dependency on a two week formal rush ” not so much.

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Slam Dunk Recruitment Lessons

by Matt Mattson

March Madness is here! At the time of writing this post, the Sweet Sixteen is decided and we’re heading into the homestretch of what has to be the wildest tournament in all of American sports. But since this isn’t a sports blog, and because we sometimes feel like we can turn anything into a lesson on values-based recruitment techniques, let’s see what the world of college basketball has to teach us, shall we?

Now, I’m not a huge basketball fan, to be honest. That probably has something to do with me being cut from my HS basketball team (just like MJ!). I only passively watch the tourney every spring because I know there are always going to be 1 or 2 games that blow my mind. But I know enough about the game to see that it is clearly just a complex analogy for how to recruit members into your organization. You might have to look closely, but you’ll see what I mean.

Here are…

Four Slam Dunk Recruitment Lessons Taught by the NCAA Basketball Tourney

  1. You can count on a strong system year after year. O.K., so Duke was eliminated in the first round, and they are probably the best example of an elite system in the game. But look how often Duke makes the tournament. Then look at KU, UK, Indiana, UNC, Maryland, UCLA… you get the idea. These schools have solid systems that are built on patterns of behavior that deliver consistent, repeated, world-class results. You’re even seeing schools like Pittsburgh and Gonzaga going from one-time wonders to solid systems that are constantly funneling in top talent and churning out wins. Does your organization have a world-class system? Or are you just hoping to accidentally bring in a superstar and make a cinderella run on long-term success?
  2. Wise coaches prevail. There is a reason you continue to see men like Mike Krzyzewsksi, Bill Self, Tubby Smith and Bobby Knight in the tournament. These men understand the importance of continually learning and improving — and they understand the importance of doing the LITTLE THINGS right. John Wooden said, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” Coach Wooden is probably one of the most quoted individuals in American sports because of these truisms. As an organization, are you constantly reaching out to learn more and more? Are you constantly trying to improve your organization’s ability? Are you working on the little things it takes to be successful with recruitment (practicing your skills, working your plan, meeting people constantly)? These coaches run a tight ship, but it is their ability to learn and to get their players to do the LITTLE THINGS that get them their results.
  3. You need a versatile big man. That Oden kid from Ohio State is something. As a freshman he’s dominating the game. When it comes to recruiting, you need a big man to step up like he does every game. While most organizations have someone that is shackled with the responsibility of recruiting (i.e. recruitment chair, rush director, etc.), often that person is a younger member who gets suckered into taking the position — and then all they do is EVENT planning (they’re one dimensional). You need a real, versatile presence to truly orchestrate the outcome of your recruitment game. The person who steps up to run recruitment doesn’t have to be the most suave or smooth, that person just needs to be a leader, and needs to have vision (like the big man down low). The person in charge of recruitment for your organization should manage your names list, delegate the responsibilities of contacting prospects and interacting with prospects. Your “big man” should NOT be the only person who handles the ball — they should be able to go strong to the hoop (recruit members themselves), and more importantly, dish it back out (empower the other horses of the chapter to play their roles).
  4. The uniforms don’t matter. You can have an ugly T-shirt with the word “Saluki” on the outside of it, and still make it far in the tourney. Just like your “rush t-shirts” and peripheral advertising really don’t make any difference. Real results in basketball come from individuals beating other individuals in the man-on-man game. In recruitment, results don’t come from the uniform, the hype, or the hair-dos… results come from one person helping another person understand the value that your organization has to offer.

I told you we could find recruitment lessons in pretty much anything.

We hope your brackets are still in tact (I’ve got Ohio State winning it all!) Enjoy the rest of the tourney! Happy recruiting.

 

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National Expectations

by Matt Mattson

Often during Phired Up’s Dynamic Recruitment Training programs we’ll get into great discussions with undergraduate fraternity leaders about the importance of sharing clear expectations with potential members before offering them a lifelong invitation for membership. These expectations can nip a lot of future problems in the bud by making it very clear up front what each member is expected to do/be/act like, and just as importantly, making it very clear what will happen if they choose to not meet those expectations of membership.

The North-American Interfraternity Conference has some good recruitment-related resources on its website (www.NICIndy.org). One in particular has to do with the basic expectations of membership in Inter/National collegiate fraternities. These can be found here, and are pasted for your convenience below. Do you clearly communicate these expecations (or some variation thereof) to your potential members before asking them to join?

Basic Expectations
In an effort to lessen the disparity between fraternity ideals and individual behavior and to personalize these ideals in the daily undergraduate experience, the following Basic Expectations of fraternity membership have been established:

  1. I will know and understand the ideals expressed in my fraternity ritual and will strive to incorporate them in my daily life.
  2. I will strive for academic achievement and practice academic integrity.
  3. I will respect the dignity of all persons; therefore, I will not physically, mentally, psychologically or sexually abuse or haze any human being.
  4. I will protect the health and safety of all human beings.
  5. I will respect my property and the property of others; therefore, I will neither abuse nor tolerate the abuse of property.
  6. I will meet my financial obligations in a timely manner.
  7. I will neither use nor support the use of illegal drugs; I will neither misuse nor support the misuse of alcohol.
  8. I acknowledge that a clean and attractive environment is essential to both physical and mental health; therefore, I will do all in my power to see that the chapter property is properly cleaned and maintained.
  9. I will challenge my members to abide by these fraternal expectations and confront those who violate them.
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You Better Ask Somebody!

by Matt Mattson 

“You Better Ask Somebody!” -Yo Yo (1993)

Hip hop music teaches many real life lessons, but who would have thought that a bad rap song from 1993 by a group named Yo Yo would teach you something about membership recruitment?! Sure enough. (Note: If you decide to look up the artist/song/lyrics, you’ll probably be offended by some of the other delightful sayings in that great song….)

It’s Friday afternoon, so I wanted to share a quick, practical, common sense recruitment tip that works for any organization. You might even go, “Duh!” when you read it. I get that a lot. With many of our lessons that we teach in Phired Up educational program, we’ll have people say, “Dude, that’s about as obvious as it gets.” And we’ll say, “Dude, but have you done it?” And they’ll say, “Dude… you’re right.”

So, on that note, here is your practical lesson straight from the hip hop world. Ready? Here it is…

You better ask somebody.

How many people haven’t joined your organization because you’ve never asked them? Oooh… that’s a zen question. The truth is that A LOT of people have been deprived of the life-changing opportunity that your organization offers simply because you’ve lacked the guts to ask them.

Who have you asked today? This week? This month?

Don’t decide for your friends and acquaintances. Give them a chance to decide for themselves whether or not your organization could add value to their lives. You owe it to them and to your organization to ASK!

If there is a big process or lots of policies involved in the way your organization invites someone to be a member, then at least ask the people you know if they’d be interested in having a conversation about joining sometime in the future!

Simple, yes. But also vital to your success. Ask.

To close, I’ll quote Yo Yo again…

“Hey, I’m out this mutha.”

APTOPIX Afghanistan Daily Life

Follow the Leader (But Who’s Leading the Leader?!)

By Matt Mattson

Processional Caterpillars Marching Along BlindlyThere is an old story that you might have heard before about a species of insect called processionary caterpillars. I know that Zig Ziglar (whose books we recommend you read — all of them!) has been heard telling this story, and many others have written about it (as seen here and here).

Anyway, it is far too applicable to the collegiate Greek world, and especially fraternity/sorority recruitment, to not put our own spin on it and see what lessons we can learn. So here goes.

Apparently, back around the turn of the 20th Century, a researcher named Jean-Henri Fabre did an experiment with this fun little species of caterpillars. See, the thing that made these caterpillars unique was that they had an instinctual drive to travel one after the other as they search for food. They basically follow their leader no matter what, in a long processional line.

Well, it turns out our researcher friend, Jean-Henri, was a little sadistic, and to to test out how strong the caterpillar’s following instinct was, he did an experiment. He took a small group of these caterpillars and lined them up in a full circle — head to tail — all the way around a tea cup saucer. And in the middle of the saucer he put some food.

Well, what do you think happened? Sure enough, the little buggers followed one another around and around and around in circles, certain that whoever was leading their little parade was moving toward the food. And they kept going and going and going. Soon, they started to die from exhaustion and starvation. All the while, the food that could have kept them alive was just 6 inches away.

O.K., so how does this apply to the fraternity/sorority recruitment world? Well, I’m guessing it is obvious to most readers, but I’ll happily spell it out for anyone needing a little help. Nearly every chapter I’ve bumped into across the country has at least a little of this processional caterpillar instinct. When it comes to recruitment, they follow the example that has been set for them. Even if it means they keep going in circles with their recruitment results never improving.

If your chapter or community is wandering aimlessly in circles, however, there is good news. The food to feed your membership starvation is only inches from your path. The trick is understanding that if you want a different result, you have to be willing to try different methods.

To be honest, we’ve been frustrated on several occasions by this caterpillar-like behavior from groups that we’ve worked with. Often we’ll have participants approach us after a Dynamic Recruitment Workshop and say, I love these ideas, I’ve read your books, and I really agree with everything you say! We’ll be excited by this, and six weeks later we’ll follow up with an E-mail or phone call to see how the progress is going. Of course, like the caterpillar, the participant will know how to make improvements, have the tools and preparedness to make improvements, but will be too ingrained in the “status quo” to experiment with the new methodology that he/she has learned.

Luckily, we work with a lot of groups that have brave, revolutionary souls hidden within their ranks. Real change in chapters comes from these individuals who choose to step out of the procession and re-direct their group toward excellence. That is real leadership.

Be brave and step off the path paved by your “traditions,” and “status quo.” After all, who knows if you’re being led right direction? Maybe you’re just following other caterpillars in a doomed procession of mediocrity.

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Improving Formal Recruitment

by Matt Mattson

We’ve had a lot of conversations lately with fraternity men that were very interested in creating or improving a formal recruitment process. For some reason, we’re seeing a trend that suggests some fraternity men want their recruitment processes to be more formal. This is, well… interesting.

While we don’t advocate making recruitment processes even more weird than they already seem to the average non-Greek man on campus (making them sign-up for a formal, fake-feeling process of house rotations, themed rounds, or rushed “events”), we are willing to offer some tips to help chapters that are stuck in a formal recruitment system.

Many campuses have some form of formal IFC rush. We don’t necessarily think this to be a bad idea, but if you look at our writings and our programs, you’ll note that it is a VERY small portion of our recommended strategies, and to that end, you should probably only expect a VERY small portion of the men on your campus to engage in formal rush. To be honest, it is an old way of doing business that just doesn’t work with today’s student on most campuses.

Now, many of you may say, “But I’ve seen campuses like Kansas or Indiana that get tons of guys through formal rush.” That’s true, but it is important to realize that those results probably aren’t because of a GREAT formal rush process. Instead, those results are based on some deep cultural norms and expectations that have built over many many years. On those campuses, students know about fraternities (and are interested in them) before they even show up — very much because of messages from alumni, social myths and a complex combination of expectations that are ingrained in the culture of the campus and the high schools from which those students come from. It is hard to explain, but the point is that I wouldn’t think you could just pick up the formal rush systems at those campuses, set them down on your campus, and get the same results. It goes much deeper than that.

So, without further ado, here are…

5 Practical Tips to Improve Formal Rush.

  1. First Understand, You Can’t Recruit Who You Don’t Know.  This isn’t a new concept if you’re a regular reader, but when it comes to formal rush, it is important to remember that FIRST YOU MUST GET A LOT OF PROSPECTS INVOLVED IN FORMAL RUSH, then you can recruit from them. Often, IFC’s, campuses, chapters and councils spend so much time making sure they have the coolest events or smoothest “house rotations” that they forget that if only 20 prospects show up, it doesn’t really matter how cool your events/processes are. Spend more time, energy and MONEY going out and meeting people to get them engaged in the rush process to begin with. You can use Phired Up’s “Six Cylinders” (from Good Guys and the Dynamic Recruitment Workshops) as ways to get prospects involved in the rush process.
  2. Timing Is Everything. Why is it that many campuses insist on having formal recruitment during the first week (sometimes even the week before) classes start? Remember, “Tip #1,” you have to get people involved in the process first. Give yourself time to do that. Consider moving your “rush week” back a couple of weeks at least. Give your community time to blitz the campus and get to know prospects so that they can know them and comfortably invite them into the rush process.
  3. Train Your Members. We know how bad your members are at… a) talking with strangers, b) asking good questions, c) explaining the fraternity’s benefits, d) not talking badly about other chapters, e) remembering the names of prospects, f) handling prospects’ excuses for not joining, and the list goes on. You have to prepare your members with the skills it takes to succeed during rush. These include conversations skills, sales skills, closing skills, etc. Use pieces of Phired Up’s skills training, and have your guys practice a LOT before rush time comes. Learn: “The Screw,” how to use ”FACE” to remember names, 5 F*n Ways to Master Conversation, Bridging, Quality Responses, the Pre-Closing Process, the chapter’s elevator pitch, how to discuss benefits, not just features, etc., etc., etc.
  4. Small Activities. Not Big Events. You know as well as we do that the “big events” that your council or chapter put on during rush week are really bad situations in which to get to know a prospective member. Many campuses give themselves only 4-8 days of rush to begin with, then they spend their time doing formal house rotations or big events at which nobody can really get to know anyone else. Set up activities… SMALL ACTIVITIES… that allow for quality interactions so that you and your chapter members can really get to know the prospects.
  5. Don’t Do These Things. The last tip is a quick set of “Don’ts” that we’d strongly recommend you avoid, if you can. a) Don’t charge a FEE for formal rush. b) Don’t put a banner on your house that says, “RUSH ATO.” (propsects don’t know what “Rush” or “ATO” means, so that is a waste of money). c) Don’t expect formal rush to get more than 10% of your members. d) Don’t expect the best and brightest men on your campus to show up at formal rush — they won’t. e) Don’t overcomplicate the process. Keep it as simple as possible. Remember, all you need to do is create situations in which men can get to know other men comfortably.

We could go on for hours about formal rush, but it is better if we leave it at this. We welcome your comments!

Go get ‘em!