What HURTS Recruitment Results?

Before I start this post, Phired Up Productions would like to recognize our colleagues at Campuspeak for their leadership on the issue of hazing on college campuses. Their creation of National Hazing Prevention Week (Sept. 24-28, 2007) is a clear exemplification of fraternity/sorority values in action, and we are grateful for their hard work on this topic. Visit the NHPW website for some incredible resources to revolutionize your organization.

by Matt Mattson 

You want recruitment results, right? What do you think is one of the major concerns/fears of potential new members? Yep, you guessed it… they don't want to get hazed. They assume that joining a fraternity or sorority requires at least a week, if not a full semester, of humiliation, hard work, embarrassment, alcohol abuse, illegalities, and other things that they're not interested in. 

So, they don't join. 

I'm not talking about a few people on your campus that aren't joining because of a fear of hazing. I'm suggesting that on most of your campuses there is about 80-90% of the campus that isn't Greek. I'm suggesting that most of them are smarter than to put themselves in a position where hazing MIGHT happen.

You're saying, “our chapter is different, we don't haze.” Great! It is important to understand however, that your potential members don't know that. And they aren't joining because other chapters on your campus, in your inter/national organization, around your state, and around the country DO HAZE. They haze and you pay the price — the vast majority of your campus is afraid of what you MIGHT do to them.

Are you angry yet? You should be. I know I am. I know that many of you don't haze, would never allow yourself to be hazed, and think that chapters that do haze are just stupid — never mind the “it's against our values” stuff. You know, just like I do that they're missing out on the best guys on campus (who avoid them altogether), and they lose many of their best members during their new member period (because they're smart enough to get out during pledging).

Anytime I think or talk about hazing a couple of memories come up for me…

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How to Talk with Strangers

by Matt Mattson

Your parents always told you, NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS… But recruitment depends on your ability to do so! Yikes! 

One of the most intimidating things to do (for someone who hasn't practiced much) is to strike up a conversation with a stranger. It can be utterly frightening to reach out your right hand and introduce yourself. And then…

What do you talk about? 

How do you make it not seem creepy? 

How can you get started off on the right foot?

One of the core recommendations that Phired Up makes in its publications and training programs is to MEET AS MANY NEW PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE so that you can get their name and contact information — which at least gives you a chance to recruit them. Because, as you all know, YOU CAN't RECRUIT WHO YOU DON't KNOW.

Well, for those of you who have read some of our stuff or seen some of our training, you know about “SCREWING” people (or the Venus Hand Trap), you know about the 5 F*n Ways to Master Conversation, and you know about bridging, but still it can be hard to go up to someone cold and start that conversation — especially if you're just walking around campus and see someone, or if you're stuck in an elevator with someone, or if you're at a party and you see someone new, or if you're at the library, in line at the bookstore, at a pep rally, lifting weights, at the mall, etc. etc. etc. 

Imagine yourself in one of those situations now… you see someone who could be a potential new member for your organization, but how do you approach them? What do you lead off with? Like I said, YIKES!

Here's a simple tip to make it a little easier to start a conversation off cold with a stranger. 

OFFER THEM SOMETHING OF VALUE.

I don't mean give them your expensive watch, or hand them a $20 bill. I do mean, approach them with the intention of telling them about something that might interest them.

Here's an example… Joey, a member of Alpha Beta Gamma Fraternity, is walking across the quad between classes and he see's Frank walking past. Frank is the president of the student government, the football team captain, and an all around good guy.

Joey: “Excuse me… um, my name's Joey” [handshake]

Frank: “Hi Joey, I'm Frank.”

Joey: “Hi Frank. I thought that was your name, but to be honest I wasn't sure. Sorry to stop you like this, but I recognized you from the student government meeting, and I wanted to let you know that my organization is doing a raffle this week — we're giving away an iPod.”

Frank: “Oh, that's cool. How do I get a raffle ticket, are you asking for money or something?”

Joey: “No, actually they're free. We recommend a $3 donation that goes directly to a charity, but all you really need to do is put your name and contact information on the back of this raffle ticket.”

Frank: “Oh, alright… I don't have any cash right now, but I’ll fill out a raffle ticket.”

Joey: “Thanks Frank. We’ll enter you to win. So where you headed?”

Frank: “To the gym to play some basketball.”

Joey: “That's cool. Hey, me and some buddies are putting together a weekly basketball game. Could I call you and let you know when we're playing?”

Frank: “Sure. Thanks. Talk with you then.”

Joey: “Alright, nice to meet you Frank. Have fun.”

Joey had something of value to offer to Frank. A raffle ticket. But what if you don't want to do a raffle? Then what. Well, here are several ideas to get your mind going… Think about approaching strangers with something of value to them, like these things:

  • Helping your group with a service event
  • Your group's giving away a small scholarship
  • Inviting them to a party/social event
  • Free information about an important cause
  • Information about campus events (not just your organization's events)
  • You are starting an intramural sports team
  • You are starting a new organization
  • Information about a study group that is going on
  • Let them know their backback zipper is unzipped
  • Tell them you like their shirt, hat, hair-do
  • Etc. Etc. (brainstorm your own)

The important thing about this tip is that you don't stop there. USE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO START A NORMAL CONVERSATION. For those of you who have seen our stuff, use the 5 F*n Ways to Master Conversation here. Your goal isn't just to give out valuable information, but instead, use that valuable information to open the door to a full conversation.

Go get ‘em

99 Small Activities for Recruitment

by Josh Orendi and Jessica Gendron 

We know that Big Events are fun … but they're typically ineffective when it comes to building new relationships with potential members. Therefore, small activities should be the primary strategy for getting to know PNM's throughout the year. 

How many people should be at your small activities? Answer: 3-7. Sociologists confirm what most of us already know as common sense. Friendships are best facilitated in small groups. Using the Plus One strategy (see Good Guys or I Heart Recruitment for details), we know it's ideal to have no less than 3 people in a conversation pocket. From experience, you know that when a group of 6-7 people are talking and an 8th person enters the circle … the group naturally splits into 2 separate groups. Thus becoming TWO small activities. 

Do you ever find your chapter falling into a rut … doing the same small activities all the time? As we like to remind ‘frat dudes,’ If all you're offering are poker nights and BBQ's who are you attracting? Answer: Fat Gamblers. Diversify the small activities you offer so you're appealing to the widest cross section of students. Consider activities in the following categories: Interest Meetings, Social, Scholarship, Service, Leadership, Cultural, Athletic.

The best part about small activities is that most of them can be done at the last minute and take little or no money. That being said, it would be ideal to have a minimum of 2-3 small activities that take place on the same night, at the same time, at the same place. This way you always have something to invite a new friend to the first time you meet that person. 

Phired Up Productions offers you this list of 99 Small Activities Ideas to help get the creative juices flowing. We don't recommend using them all, just the ones that feel right. But, challenge yourself to include a few from each category to make sure your calendar has the diversity you’ll need to let Quantity Drive Quality.

This list is also available in Phired Up's FREE RESOURCES section of its website.