Conversation Tips


Short Description

There are certain ways that you need to approach perspective members when they attend recruitment events. The following are tips to help you in your interaction with them:

Target Audience

General Membership in recruitment

Borradaile Challenge or Area of Focus


Best Practices

  • Be yourself. Do not assume that you know what they want to hear. Also, do not try to be someone that you are not. Potential members will see right through this. Just relax, get to know them and field any questions that they may have. Then talk Phi Tau when the time is right. They will generally begin to ask specific questions about the fraternity when they are ready. That is if you have done a good job making them feel comfortable.
  • Listen. Most people’s major weakness regarding communication skills are that they do not listen to what others are saying. Instead they are thinking of what they are going to say next or are zoned out. Take advantage of initial conversations to really get to know these potential members. This will allow you and the chapter to more effectively evaluate if this individual is right for the chapter.
  • Be assertive. You must initiate the conversation. Remember how you felt when you arrived on campus and maybe knew a couple of people. These men will appreciate the fact that you walked up and introduced yourself. Make them feel comfortable. Often times, especially freshmen, can be overwhelmed or intimidated by huge events.
  • Don’t use stock questions. Be interesting and not bland when talking to potential members. Make certain that you ask questions that dig a little deeper to find out who they are and what their interests are. Ask about their experiences and deviate from common questions such as hometown, year, etc.
  • Find some common ground. As you are trying to find out what his interests are, try to find something that you both know something about. This will help break the ice and put you both at ease.
  • Remember names and background information. Make an effort to remember their, names and background information. Also, make sure you remember the content of the conversation. Make them feel important and begin to build that friendship.
  • Give your full attention. There is nothing worse than talking to someone who is not paying attention; it is impossible to hide the fact that you are not paying attention. Avoid saying hello to others as they pass by, looking away if someone else in the room is trying to get your attention, etc. Make sure they have your attention and make continuous eye contact as you speak with the individual.
  • Be positive. No one likes to talk to someone that is being negative or seems to be complaining. If the potential member begins to talk negative about other fraternities that he may have heard things about simply redirect the conversation back to what Phi Tau does and the positive experience that you have had. Make sure you are always positive and excited when talking about Phi Kappa Tau. If you are not excited and you are a brother then why would I want to join?

Dealing with Tough Conversations

There are several concerns, issues, or tough questions that potential members may need to deal with or have answered before they will allow themselves to commit. It is very important that the chapter brothers are ready to be honest and answer any and all questions. In addition, you must make certain that the entire chapter is on the same page when it comes to these types of concerns and issues. More than likely the individual that has a question that he wants answered will ask more than just one member. Therefore, he better get the same response or answer or you will just further confuse and increase uncertainty for the individual. The following are some tough questions and concerns.
Tough Questions

  • How much does it cost? The chapter needs to have a firm handle on this subject. To eliminate chance of error have a handout available that breaks down the exact cost of joining.
  • Are you really close to every brother in the fraternity?
  • My parents do not like the idea of me joining a fraternity. How do I convince them otherwise? It is especially important that you have the parents’ support. Therefore, you should have the chapter president, and more importantly the chapter advisor, BOG chairman, faculty advisor, parent of a current member, or other impressive alum that is prepared to call or meet with the parents of a potential member.
  • I heard the XYZ fraternity sucks. What do think? Remember to redirect. This type of question and do not talk negative about other fraternities.
  • What type of service projects do you do? Do they make you guys do so many per year?
  • What do I have to do to be initiated? Be honest. If you fail to be honest with this question you have already tarnished their experience in Phi Tau if they join. Remember our cardinal principles!
  • I have a sister that is in ABC sorority. What do you think of them?
  • I am worried about my grades. What do you guys do to make sure the fraternity doesn’t interfere with school?
  • Have things changed since you joined?
  • What role do alumni play in the fraternity?
  • What does the chapter or “national” do with all the money?
  • I am a legacy. That means I get in for sure…right?
  • I don’t drink. Will I be pressured to drink if I join?
  • I have to work and go to school. Will I have the time? What happens if I have to miss something?
  • Isn’t this like buying my friends?
  • Do you guys haze?
  • I am already in two other student organizations. What can you offer me that they cannot?
  • I am a senior. What’s in it for me at this point?
  • I don’t want to be stereotyped. Are you guys all the same?
  • My girlfriend doesn’t want me to join. What can I tell her to convince her otherwise?


If you are able to answer most of these questions and you should be able to you are in pretty good shape. However, spend a good amount of time thinking of other tough questions that brothers have had asked in the past. Make sure that you cover everything and make sure everyone knows how to answer. Think about when you are uncertain about something. Would it be more convincing to have your question or concern answered the same way by three or five different guys…of course.

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