Advice about rush week conversations—questions you might be asked, questions you should be asking, topics that are safe to bring up, topics you definitely shouldn't mention—is all over Pinterest. We already touched briefly on the five "B Words" in the first installment of Rush Advice You Shouldn't Be Taking, and today, we're continuing that conversation by sharing our take on small talk mistakes...and how to avoid them!
DON'T MAKE THESE SMALL TALK MISTAKES
1. You fielded a TON of questions and shared a lot about yourself...but you can't remember the name of the person you just spent the last fifteen minutes talking to.
You know what almost everyone's favorite talking point is? Themselves. And that includes the sorority women you'll be meeting this fall during rush week! We all want to be seen, heard, and really listened to. We want to know that what we're saying has value; that it matters. So YES, share your heart out. Respond to all the questions you're asked. But practice the art of active listening, too. Do you want to know what drew a chapter member to the house she ended up pledging? Ask her! Did she mention having an interest in something—dance, art, travel—that you're into as well? Find out more about why she's passionate about those things. You're going to make a better impression AND form deeper connections if you give as much as you take from rush week conversations. In other words: Treat the experience less like an interview (they do all the asking, you do all the answering) and more like a conversation with a friend (after all, that's exactly the kind of relationship you're trying to form).
BONUS TIP: Take notes in between parties to help you keep track of conversations, general impressions, and still-lingering questions. Write down the names of any woman you really connect with so that if you see her again, you can greet her by name. Personal connections really do make a big difference!
2. Two words: Fact Dropping.
So you did a little advance research and you found out that Delta Gamma's philanthropy is Service For Sight. If you genuinely have some sort of connection to this fact—maybe a member of your family is aided by a seeing eye dog, or your pageant platform had something to do with visual impairment—it's okay to mention this. But don't just fact drop for the sake of fact dropping. Trust us, sorority members are looking forward to sharing what THEY know and love about their sorority. Acting like you already know everything is bound to cause a little disappointment on their end...and probably some annoyance, too.
3. You're frustrated by all the repetition...and it shows.
Basically, recruitment is speed dating. Meaning you're going to have the same introductory/get-to-know-you conversations over and over again (especially during the first round of parties). Try not to be frustrated by this. Bring a few snack bars in your bag in case you need a little reboot in between rounds, and do your best to remain engaged and energetic...no matter how many times you've shared what you're planning to major in.
4. You've memorized a script and you're not budging from it.
There are a lot of blog posts out there that will tell you to memorize a few "key facts" or "interesting highlights" before going into recruitment week—shiny talking points about your resume and accomplishments that you don't want a sorority woman to miss. We know we're going a little against the tide here, but we consider this practice to be similar to fact dropping. We're big advocates of following the natural flow of conversation rather than abruptly inserting factoids from your resume at every opportunity.
5. It's Round Four and you're still talking about the same things you covered during Round One
Every brand new relationship begins with small talk...and that's okay! But as your relationships begin to grow, your conversations should start to deepen, too. What are you passionate about? What's your biggest hope for the next four years? How about your biggest fear? These are the kinds of conversations you can expect to engage in as Bid Day draws near. As always, answer—and ask!—from the heart, and you're sure to form friendships wherever you go.
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