[RING OF PHIRE: The Ring of Phire is a team of undergraduate fraternity and sorority members dedicated to delivering the messages of Phired Up Productions to their peers around the country.]
by Amelia Mieth (Phired Up Intern and Ring of Phire member)
Back in January, I was fortunate enough to share a weekend with Matt Mattson & Colleen Coffey. Over dinner, we were having a great discussion about Phired Up, sorority and fraternity recruitment, and just life in general. In the middle of our conversation, Colleen said, “Your job during recruitment is to listen.” I forget the exact context of the quote, but it was inspiring enough for me to write on a post it note I just happened to find in my purse. And, unfortunately, that’s where it stayed. I would take it out every once in a while, read it, and find some way to be inspired. Finally, my moment came this weekend when I came home for spring break.
There is a framed quote in my house that reads, “Everyone has a story… have the patience to listen, the wisdom to learn.” Ah ha! The bright pink post it note immediately popped into my head, and I felt that I was on to something.
During recruitment, at least in the sorority world, we spend a ton of time practicing how to sell our chapters to potential members. We discuss our philanthropy, our sisterhood, cute t-shirts we have, and the lifelong memories we will all share. Don’t get me wrong, these are all important, but let’s look at the other side of things.
“Um, what other side?” you may be asking.
The really important other side. The side where we listen.
The side where we listen to not only what a woman’s major and hometown is, but about what she wants from her college experience. We learn about her roommate, but we also learn about what truly makes her happy. There is so much to be learned if we just take the time to pause and truthfully listen to what women are saying to us. Instead of clouding our minds trying to remember if she is saying exactly what it is we want to hear or focusing on what our next killer selling point will be, let’s sit back and relax.
Make a new friend and establish a genuine connection without any ulterior motives. A good way to think of how to act in this situation is, “If I were sitting next to her in class, how would I interact with her?” Use this as a standard. (And if you are saying that you wouldn’t talk to her at all, we’ve got some more work to do.)
Whether we admit it or not, there is a difference between listening and hearing. Make the choice to be an active listener in all parts of life. Open your ears, open your mind, and open the possibilities.