Today we’re back with round two of my Sorority Recruitment Series and we’re discussing conversation! Believe it or not, values based recruitment and conversation are basically synonymous. Gone are the days of glitter, skits and outlandish costumes used in trying to recruit best friends. Yay! After all, friendships founded on shallow premises are not friendships that last. If you are looking to find your lifelong sorority home, you’re going to have to get awkward. You’re going to have to
scream in a random girl’s ear look another human being straight in the eye and have meaningful conversations in unnatural settings. Don’t get me wrong. Meaningful doesn’t mean you spill your life dreams and fears to a stranger. Meaningful can be sharing a laugh over a random subject or bonding over your love for running. Only you can determine what is meaningful for you, and sororities that want to know what you value are the sororities that you want to come back to round after round. Maybe you’ll even end up there on Bid Day! I did.
So PNMs, check out these conversation tips below and take a breath…You’re going to kill it!!
- At the beginning, let the sorority woman lead the conversation: I’ve rushed girls that rattle off their resume to me before I even ask how they’re doing. It’s awesome to hear PNMs that want to share (because many don’t and that’s hard to work with), but take a breath when you first get settled and let her guide you into the conversation. I always thought, as a chapter member, it was my responsibility to make the PNM feel comfortable and ask the right questions to get her to open up. The longer you start talking the more natural the conversation becomes and then you may be able to drop in some of your stats. You’re not selling a car. You’re trying to make a genuine connection. I guarantee you didn’t fool your BFF into being your friend by telling her how many community service hours you did last summer.
- Answering with one word tells chapters you are not interested: The recruitment horror stories that members have told me never have to do with the video not working or the drinks being warm. Instead, they have to do with a PNM not talking to the member. Nothing (NOTHING) is harder than trying to get to know someone who only answers a word back at you. I’ve heard of PNMs saying, “I don’t know” when asked a great open-ended question by fantastic rushers. Silence, in our minds, means you don’t want to be here and we’re looking for girls who are happy to be at our chapter. If you think you’ll get stage fright during parties, I would start practicing now at your conversation skills with strangers. Grocery store cashiers…people at church…find opportunities to make small talk with strangers to get yourself over that initial stage fright.
- It’s a two-way street: Once the conversation hits a comfortable groove, feel free to ask your own questions. If you just want to get to know the member, ask her personal questions. If you want the details about dues, study hours and the food, go for it!
- Ask questions about the dues, study hours and food: Yes, you’re looking for BFFs during rush. You also want to consider that the chapter house you are choosing may be your future place of living. Questions I think you should ask are questions about dues, if they offer payment plans, who lives in the house, when you can live in the house, if there is a sleeping porch, study hours, if they do requirements for date parties, how good the food at the house is, if freshmen can eat at the house, are there any cool perks about being in this chapter (workout room, workout classes, trolley system, academic support, etc.). Now you can have an idea of the sisterhood side and the more administrative side of a chapter.
- Give everyone a fair shot and try to get know the chapter: Nothing saddens me more than PNMs who don’t give everyone a fair chance because they think they are too good for some chapters or they already made their minds up. These are the girls that intentionally give one word answers because they know they don’t want that chapter. At every chapter, you are their guest and at the very least you can have cordial conversation for 30 minutes. You never know…the one chapter you think is not for you could end up being the one. If you don’t give everyone a fair shot, you might miss out on something great. A wise person once said, “people join people.” I created my own version that I told my chapter when I was recruitment chair: people don’t join letters; people join people.
- Be YOURSELF: I’m not married or anything, so the closest I’ve ever come to “you know when you know” is with my chapter. By letting members see the real you, you will find those people that click with the real you. Your sisters! Don’t give them the answer you think they want to hear because by doing that you’re only hurting yourself. If you’re passionate about jump roping, share it. If you are looking for a community of women who will be there in the bad and the good, share it! If you are yourself throughout the entire process, I guarantee you’ll end up crying, laughing or laughing so hard you’re crying at the chapter meant for you. When I was a PNM I straight up cried on the porch when I saw who was rushing me one day at my soon-to-be chapter. I had talked to her earlier in the week and knew she wanted to get to know me for me because I found a common interest with her and let her in.
Holly Hoehner has her bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oklahoma. She considers herself more of a Russell Westbrook than a Kevin Durant and enjoys learning about and participating in the digital age, blogging about anything that comes to her mind and creating witty Instagram captions. Holly was raised a die-hard Sooner fan in Edmond, OK.