College-Demos-art - 4/28/12
"Isabella's Entire Recruitment Demo Strategy: Specifically for use on college campuses" by Lady Isabella Caresini.
This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.
While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.
Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous
stefan at florilegium.org
Isabella's Entire Recruitment Demo Strategy:
Specifically for use on college campuses
by Lady Isabella Caresini
I've been Chatelaine of the College of Bellewode (Truman State University) for three years, and this is the system I have developed for my own group. All disclaimers apply. You may have different ideas about how to run a demo and That Is Totally Fine, no offense is intended by anything I say here, anything that sounds like sarcasm probably is, approach this with a sense of humor, Your Mileage May Vary, etc etc. The demos I describe in here are ! at #$%ing CRAZY intense and I have no bloody idea how Bellewode lets me get away with pulling this shit year after year considering how much I ask of them. They may secretly hate me. :D
So I REALLY, REALLY love recruiting. I reallyreallyreally love it. Probably some people lie awake at night thinking about things like Norse embroidery or archery or illumination, but I think about things like How Can I Trick People Into Coming To Meetings Long Enough For the SCA to Get Its Claws Into Their Souls? I firmly believe that there are two kinds of people in this world: People who are in the SCA and people who apparently haven't met the SCA yet. I know people who say things like, "Oh, recruiting is so HARD and so TEDIOUS and I hate it!" and clearly those people are crazy because recruiting is the most fun thing to do EVER.
So I have a lot to say about it. Here we go.
INTRODUCTION, or SO YOU WANT TO RUN A DEMO:
Running a demo is quite a bit like running an event. There's lots of practical niggly details to consider, such as Location and Staff and such things.
The first thing to do is start to think of everything in terms of tactics and strategy. If you don't know the campus like the back of your hand, find someone who does. Current students for preference, since things may have changed since an alum attended. Select an area of the campus that gets a lot of traffic (as in: Crowds and crowds of people walking by every hour). For us here at Bellewode, that place is a spot on the quad that is on the path of students going to or from Baldwin and McClain Halls. It's also quite close to the library, which means even more traffic and a convenient place for us to print out more flyers if/when we run out. THINK about the strengths and weaknesses of each potential location. Come up with actual reasons why it is a good place and why it is a poor place. One feature of our location is that Baldwin and McClain are where most of the English, Political Science, Foreign Language, and Religions classes are; we don't see huge concentrations of Computer Science, "Hard" Science (Biology, Physics, Agricultural Science, Astronomy, etc), Communications, and similar majors.
This is a sword that cuts both ways: One upside to this is that, being a liberal arts institution, ALL students are required to take a couple basic English classes, at least one year of a foreign language, an "Intercultural Thinking" class (such as Exploring World Religions, which is what I took). On our spot on the quad, we get generally younger students and experience a slightly higher concentration of freshman on their way to Constitutional Government or Writing as Critical Thinking or Spanish 101.
Know your location. THINK about your location.
I mentioned younger students. Why?
During my freshman year, I joined about three clubs: SCA, Ceilidh (the Irish dance club), and a 1600-1800 recreation group called Rendezvous. I know others who joined eight or ten. But now I am graduating in two weeks and I am only in SCA, and for the past three years, I've thought of joining a new club maybe once and then immediately dismissed the idea. At least at Truman, UPPERCLASSMEN DON'T JOIN NEW CLUBS. There are outliers and exceptions of course, but generally, the big gains come from that year's freshman class.
Imagine the freshmen as being a large herd of particularly naive gazelles with enormous guileless eyes and absolutely zero cynicism. Their spirits have not yet been pummeled to goo. They don't know what they're doing. Some of them haven't even declared a major, bless them. Your SCA group, as well as EVERY OTHER CLUB ON CAMPUS, is looking at them and salivating. Now how do you catch them? There are several ways and you should do all of them:
1. Be fast and get to them before any other club does. Schedule your demo the first day of class (or the first two days, since Tuesday-Thursday classes and M-W-F classes go on different schedules and get different groups of people)
2. Does your college have an Activities Fair, or something else wherein all the campus clubs set up booths and students who are in the market for a new club go window-shopping? Go to it! Be the most charming and charismatic club there.
3. Word of mouth. This is by far the most effective recruitment strategy there is in the ENTIRE SCA (citation: the Society Chatelaine told me so!). Befriend a freshman (I know, I know...) and drag them to a meeting, by their hair if necessary.
More than anything, you cannot be the only person to be thinking in terms of Tactics and Strategy. Once you have picked an ideal spot and an ideal time, you must make sure that your Staff is up to the job.
YOUR STAFF, or PEOPLE MADE OF SOLID GOLD WHO YOU SHOULD VALUE ABOVE ALL ELSE:
Pro tip: Try really hard not to refer to them as your minions. Some people take issue with it, no matter how affectionately you mean it, and if they are going to all this trouble for you, they deserve to be treated well.
I am assuming that you already know who your staff is and they've already told you they'd be happy to help and you've gotten approval from anyone you need to get approval from.
If not: Do all the official stuff and then start seducing helpers. Call them at home and have a prepared arsenal of increasingly pleading voices to use if they seem to be on the fence. Compliment them. Flatter them. Stroke those egos. Use other tricks for managing people and making them do what you want them to do, and if you don't know what those tricks are... Well, you might be a little out of your depth in the rest of this essay.
When you've seduced, wiled, cajoled, bargained, or otherwise persuaded up a stable of helpers, then ask for their available schedules. Since I'm working with a group of mostly students, we are able to cover the booth from 7:30 in the morning to about 6:00 in the evening because we have so much free time between classes. I like to have at least two people at the booth at all times: They keep each other company, they can tag-team the potentials, you can work out some actual strategies that I'll talk about later... Also if someone needs to run off to the bathroom or to print off more flyers, they can do so without leaving the booth unattended. I write up a schedule that looks something like this, and I have it in the booth so everyone can reference it throughout the day.
9:00-10:00 Isabella, Dragomir, Eira
10:30-11:00 Isabella, Dragomir
11:00-11:30 Isabella, Dragomir
11:30-12:00 Eira, Rhiannon, Aleidis, Eva
And so on. It also has phone numbers written on the back, in case someone's shift is over and their relief staff hasn't arrived yet. Be sure to tell your staff that they are welcome to show up and help whenever they like, and that they need not restrict themselves to ONLY their scheduled hours.
(Tangent for Bragging: Members of my staff have proven themselves to be amazingly good at keeping their commitments and none of them has ever been late to their shift or not shown up. *smug* You WISH yours were as brilliant and cool as mine. As they say here on the internets, u jelly bro?)
This last year, I had a pre-demo meeting the day before to discuss questions like "Do you think recruitment is or should be a priority? Why or why not?" and "When you were new, what attracted you most?" and "What are some practical techniques you can think of to make the demo a success?" (The answers to the first is: "Yes, it ought to be if it isn't now, because recruitment should always be a priority, else all our members will graduate and we WILL die.") Having a discussion like this helps get your members to think about things that may not have occurred to them before. THINKING about what you're doing is, again, the key. The more you think, the more you'll think OF, the more ideas you'll have, the more GOOD ideas you'll have.
Accept all offers of help, and where possible arrange your staff according to their passions. Even if someone is charismatic, they might hate being on the front lines, so don't push people to do something they don't really want to do. It's okay if they're not polished as long as they are having fun! The potentials can always tell when your staff is sincere. Also, have FAITH in people and give them a chance to shine and exceed your expectations. For my first demo, Lady Eira volunteered to help a LOT, and I worried because I had only seen the shy, soft-spoken side of her. Oh man, was I wrong. Let me tell you, she turned out to be a total rock-star. She was out in the crowd for hours and hours being charming and engaging and smiling at people and taking the initiative to approach them -- I was blown away. People can surprise you! Nevertheless, don't be shy of Laying Down The Law.
THE LAWS OF RECRUITMENT DEMOS ACCORDING TO ISABELLA
1. Before all else, don't be creepy.
3. Stand, don't sit. Standing shows you care and helps you keep your energy going. Sitting is for when there are no passers-by. Everyone interacting with the crowd should be standing.
4. Practice good hygiene. Be well groomed, with your teeth brushed and your hair washed and combed. Make sure your nails are clean and your clothes tidy. Keep the booth tidy too; have your personal effects out of sight under the table (that's what the tablecloth is for), throw trash away, don't litter the table with your lunch things. It's all in the details, guys. Look and act like professionals -- but professionals who are having fun.
5. Sample-carriers should be in front of the booth where their food is easily seen. Staff in general should stand in front of the table, not behind it; try not to have that psychological barrier.
6. If someone is giving you I-Need-to-Leave signals, LET THEM LEAVE. See Rule 1.
7. Be generally aware of body language.
8. Seriously, smile.
9. Go read Rule 1 again.
10. And again. Okay, now one more time. Good.
PRE-DEMO SETUP, or THINGS I LIKE TO HAVE:
Let's just get all the practical stuff out of the way: Table. Tablecloth. Tent or shadefly? Pair of scissors. Duct tape (I mean, OBVIOUSLY). Sunscreen or tarps, depending on the weather. You know what, you're a sensible person.
The more senses you can engage, the better. Don't just have A&S and Fighting stuff to *look* at -- have things they can pick up, or try on, or experiment with. Things they can feel, activities they can try out. Have music or musicians! Have dancers! Have fighting demos or at least someone in armor!
That is all pretty standard. Remember also that you are just as much exhibits as the stuff on the table; WEAR your most stunning garb (epic Tudor? Pearl-encrusted Byzantine? Your shiniest Norse brooches with all the glass beads you've ever owned draped across your chest and fantastic embroidery on all your hems?) and have the simpler stuff on the table where it can be handled and turned inside out (entirely hand-sewn period-pattern T-tunic?).
You should also have things for them to smell and taste. I have said it before and I will say it again: University students are entirely food-oriented. The gazelles may be young and naive, but unfortunately they have also been socialized into running away from anyone trying to give them a flyer or evangelize at them. The way to solve this?
We'll get into the precise methods of how to incorporate samples into your strategy in a moment.
I generally like to have between three and five things for the crowd to choose from, in a variety of different flavors -- something bland, something sweet, something savory, something strong-flavored. This helps account for the different taste preferences. Also, go with unthreatening food. Don't try to challenge their palates during the demo -- there is a time and a place. Go with food that doesn't use strange combinations of spices, preferably recognizable. Homemade cheese always gets a great reaction ("Oh wow, you MADE cheese??"). Bread is always safe. Pear tarts get devoured. I've never tried sekanjabin at a demo, but I think I will at the next one if I can find a really well-balanced recipe. If you absolutely cannot help but include those oddball recipes just because you think they are terribly cool, OKAY FINE. But you may have only ONE out of your selection of four, and if you give it to someone and they make a face, you must immediately offer them a second try on something safer. One time we had meat pies seasoned with raisins and spices that belong in pumpkin pie, and we all SORT OF liked them, but the potentials did not at ALL. (There was one guy who said it was good, but I think he was trying to impress his girlfriend.)
Make a good impression by using foods that are safe and not difficult to like. Select foods that can be eaten with your fingers. Provide napkins. Be mindful of the weather (no spun sugar subtleties if the forecast says it's going to be damp, no easily-spoiled foods if it's going to be deathly hot).
There's plenty of medieval recipe references available online. Check those out or bat your eyes at your local cooks.
You should also bring your 10-second spiel. This is a synopsis of What The SCA Is that you can rattle off in your sleep. Take a moment right now to imagine someone has just asked you, "So what is all this about?" How do you answer that?
In Bellewode, we answer it thusly: "*extra-bright smile* This is the Society for Creative Anachronism! We're the local chapter of an international non-profit historical recreation group. We focus on the years 600 to 1600 and we do basically everything that they would have done in the Middle Ages, such as..." and then name three or four of the A&S things on the table whilst gesturing. Then we invite them to check things out more closely.
You also need flyers. Make sure that any papers you're handing out are approved by the Kingdom Media Relations officer. At my demos, I have a set of three different flyers and I train my staff to triage the potentials accordingly. Here are the three kinds:
1. 1/6th or 1/8th of a page (wallet-sized!). I usually try to get it down to 1/8. Here's what mine say: "The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) invites you to attend their weekly meetings! The SCA is a medieval recreation group focusing on the years 600 to 1600; for more information, check out: www.sca.org
We meet in Baldwin 232 on
Thursdays at 6:00!
First Thursday of the month: Business meeting.
Other Thursdays: Arts and Science nights, focusing on a specific activity or skill.
Facebook: College of Bellewode - SCA
Call Isabella, recruitment coordinator, at (###)-###-####
This Saturday, we'll be hosting an informational meeting and Medieval Ball in the SUB Down Under at 6:00. We'd love to have you join us!"
EVERYONE gets one of these flyers. EVERYONE. If they stop to take a sample, they get one. If they say "No thanks, but could you tell me why you're dressed like that?" they get one. This is basically the business card for your group.
2. Half-page flyer. I'm not going to provide the full text here, but it has more of a description of what the SCA is and the sorts of A&S things we do. These are for people who stop and talk for a little bit or show some vague passing interest.
3. Full-page trifold, as available on the SCA website. It has pretty art on it! This is for people who seem actively interested, ask intelligent questions, and seem sincerely ready to go on the interwebs and find more information. I LOVE getting the chance to bestow one of these flyers upon a potential. After we've given one and the potential has gone away, we all turn to each other and share excited smiles.
Finally, you need a notebook in which to keep the Venerable Email List.
OKAY, ISABELLA, BUT HOW DOES AN ACTUAL RECRUITMENT INTERACTION GO? (ALSO YOU'VE BEEN TALKING FOR HOURS NOW.)
I'm so glad you asked! What a great question, Rhetorical Man! Also, I can and will talk for several hours more! (*groans from the audience*)
Right. So. There you are. It's the middle of the day, and you've hit your groove. You're part of a great team. You are all Olympic-grade recruiters. If Bruce Springsteen had ever recorded "Born to Recruit", you guys would be on the album cover. You've been recruiting for hours now, but you've been pacing yourselves and you can recruit for the rest of the day if necessary, with still enough manic energy for a final burst of evangelizing around evening.
You look at the time. It is 1:15, which means this period's classes let out officially in five minutes, but you know how the world works and you expect this hour's wave to begin in three. Alert the rest of your team, wrap up your conversations, and haul yourselves out of your chairs.
Check your sample tray. Is it full? Is it attractively arranged?
Check your flyers. Do you have a number of Type 1 in-hand? Are the others attractively arranged with something heavy sitting on top of them?
Check each other's teeth, if you are that kind of friends. Check your own teeth if you're not.
Arrange yourselves in formation, put on your brightest smiles, prepare to work your ass off for the next fifteen minutes, and wait.
Now, this can be done with only two people at the booth, but it's a little chaotic and it takes more energy. The ideal team has about four. More than that and there are people sitting around in the back of the booth looking bored. If there are more, try to encourage them to be DOING something, like practicing their A&S, or at least standing up watching to see if they're needed to rotate into a position. This is Work, people! Have fun, but keep your eyes on the prize and don't lounge! It's about life and death! Either you get new members to carry on the legacy of your group or YOUR GROUP GRADUATES AND DIES. No one wants that! This is the driving motivation of the college-group recruitment demo.
Here's how staffing breaks down:
If there's one person at the booth, they're standing at the front of the booth holding the tray, giving the spiel, explaining the A&S and F, and offering the email list for them to sign. They can get it done, especially during the early early morning and the late afternoon when there are fewer people going to classes, but they will be sad and lonely and run out of energy faster.
If there are two people at the booth, one of them is at the front luring potentials into stopping, and one of them is at the table talking about Stuff in more depth. If they are both veterans or naturally talented, this can work, but again, the one on the front-line is going to get lost in the crowd during peak hours.
If there are three people at the booth, one is on the front lines, and two generally end up talking at the A&S table. If there are three, encourage one to be more flexible and to go back and forth between the table and the front-lines. This should be the person who can adapt and shift their style most easily.
If there are four people at the booth, two are rotating from way out in the crowd to closer to the booth (one goes out as the other comes in) as they escort people closer, and two are at the table.
The fifth person at the booth is sent on errands and sits at the back cutting the Type 1 and 2 flyers into their proper sizes, or is ready to pounce and jump in to fill a position if necessary. Here's what I mean by that:
Most of these people should be prepared to rotate, just in case -- if you're part of the vanguard, you should be able to hand off the tray in order to keep talking to someone if the two of you are having a Moment.
HOWEVER, if you are close to the booth and you can lure the potentials towards you, the vanguard and the A&S and F person/s should be working as a team. Let the vanguard draw them in and give the spiel, and then let the A&S and F person deftly jump into the conversation with the offer to show them more if they seem like they're not going to flee at the first available opportunity. With practice and a good team, you can get damn good at this.
OKAY SO. You start by saying something like, "Would you like to try some samples of medieval food?" and the MOMENT their fingers touch a piece of food, you recite your 10-second spiel while handing them a Type 1 flyer.
Pause to see if they want to immediately run away; have a vaguely expectant look on your face like you're waiting for them to say something about the food.
This is where the script gets unpredictable. You can try to entice them to look more closely at the table, you can talk to them about the food. They might ask about your garb. You might hand them off to someone else to talk about A&S. If they happen to say the words, "Oh, I've always wanted to do _____!" and there is an expert working anywhere at the booth, call them over and have them talk about it. By expert I mean, "someone who practices that particular thing, or whoever has the most knowledge of it."
If you can get them into small-talk, do so. Ask what their major is and then try to link it to something in the SCA or connect with them personally ("You're an English major? *I'M* an English major! Have you had a class with Dr. So-and-so?").
Here's an exercise -- try to think of what you might say to someone if they answered the following for their major: Physics. Art. Music. Computer Science. Biology. English. Undeclared. Psychology. Health Science.
Those last three are REALLY hard. If you can't think of something, say "Oh, that's cool. What about hobbies?" You're basically fishing to find something that they're already interested in so you can point to the SCA and say, "We have that too, BUT WITH STYLE." Remember: Treating them like human beings that you're actively interested in getting to know is a better way to do this than the clinical way I'm making it sound. Let it be as natural as possible.
Now about the Venerable Email List I mentioned before. If their flyer-triage is ALMOST a Type 2 or any higher than that, offer them the email list to sign. Tell them you will send them only two emails (or only three, or whatever) because you don't want to spam them; they'll just be reminders of the first couple meetings. This is key to your follow-up plan. It's also a good way to wrap up an interaction. This is also the time to tell them about the free pizza at the Informational Meeting.
Never be in a rush to shoo someone away. It can be unsettling to shift out of recruitment mode into Human Interaction mode, especially after several hours, but always make them feel welcome. The most beloved potentials at our recruitment demos are the one or two per year we get who hang out for five minutes, go to class, and then COME BACK an hour later and sit at the booth for the rest of the day. (Lady Aleidis was one of these people. As I recall, she was even helping recruit after a couple hours; someone asked her how long she'd been a member and she said, "Oh, only since this morning..." We were all grinning at each other behind her back. "Look at this girl," we said to each other, telepathically, "She's brilliant.")
Pro tips: Make sure to stay hydrated! You'll be doing a *LOT* of talking. Also, wear comfortable shoes; the first year, I wore flip-flops and my knees were in SO much pain by the end of the day because I hadn't sat down for more than five minutes. And then I did the same thing on the second day of the demo and it was worse. So don't overextend yourself! Take care of each other!
THE INFORMATIONAL NIGHT or PIZZA REALLY DOES GET BUTTS IN CHAIRS
Little known fact! I am actually an introvert! I know, isn't it shocking? But I am. My energy source is internal rather than external. By this point in the recruitment demo process, I'm starting to be worn down. I've had two full days of interacting with people nonstop (Thursday and Friday of the demo), and then 24 hours to rest (during which time I try my damnedest not to speak to ANYONE -- like that ever works, because there's still last-minute stuff to organize), and then Saturday night is the Info Meeting.
More food. Always food. Encourage your members to bring their own edible contributions if they want to. Usually I ask for volunteers to spend their meal plan on a 12-pack of soda or a bag of chips; some people also bring cake or brownies. Lady Gillian brings healthy things like vegetables because she's a mom and therefore thinks about sensible things like, "How can I keep these college students from dying of scurvy?"
The main bait, though, is free pizza. Your group can decide for themselves whether or not they want to go for this, since it will be the biggest financial expenditure for the demo. Our Exchequer and I have this debate annually:
Me: Exchequer, exchequer, may I have pizza at the info night?
Gillian [our seneschal] said it was okay with her if it was okay with you!
Rhiannon: How many are you wanting?
Me: TWENTY! We'll probably have a million people there -- the whole campus will come -- and we MUST FEED ALL OF THEMS.
Rhiannon: No. You may not have twenty pizzas.
Rhiannon: You may have three.
Me: WHAT! Three will feed just Bellewode with none for the newcomers! No, I need at least fifteen.
Rhiannon: Seven it is. I'll confirm with Gillian and get the populace to approve the expenditure.
Me: Fine! But we're going to starve!
And we never starve, because our exchequer is very wise.
At info meetings, do not wear garb. This is a deliberate strategic move. Remember how I told you to think of everything in terms of strategy?
The demo proper is about attracting attention and generating interest. The Info Night should be much more low-key and should focus on making personal connections. They've decided that you are worth listening to, or that the free food is worth listening to you, so you and your group have about half an hour to show them a good time. Wearing mundane clothes helps to put you psychologically on the same level as them; as normal college students trying to make friends, rather than as teachers to students. When I was a freshman, part of the reason I stayed in SCA was because all my friends were in it. I met people, they were welcoming, they filled up my social circle as fast as they could. Try to do the same here, particularly with the freshmen since they aren't socially established yet. Talk about things besides SCA, but also ask them if they have any questions about it.
Here's how your Info Night should be structured:
The first fifteen to thirty minutes should be mingling and eating (don't keep them waiting for their food). Your entire group (or as many of them as possible) should be there. Get into small groups and try to self-sort a little. Gather your guests slowly, find out what they're interested in, and then find someone in the group who does that and introduce them. This way, you end up with Rhiannon talking to three people about music, and Eira talking to two people about dance, and Barnaby talking to four people about archery, etc. Not everyone needs to be sorted; not everyone is going to know what they're interested in. It's just as important to have general-knowledge groups going.
At some point, you (the person in charge of the demo) should make a speech thanking them for coming and introducing yourself and any officers of the group who are present. I like to take this opportunity to hand out packets of information with a glossary of Common Terminology (like "event" and "garb" and "crash space" and the titles of the officers), the URLs of helpful resources (names, personas, garb), and tips on basic etiquette (turn off your cellphone, use "milord/milady" rather than "sir/ma'am", etc).
Pro tip: Publicly thank your staff. Preferably do it several times. Do it at the Info Night, do it at a populace meeting... Talk them and their accomplishments up, make them feel good about themselves. It's amazing how well a little public glory can make people come back to work for you again. Be sure to thank them individually, and find specific things they did to talk about when you do (ie: "Rhiannon, thank you so much for all your help at the demo. It really meant a lot to me that you were there for so much of the day, and thank you for taking care of that crisis for me when I was about to have a nervous breakdown. Don't know what I would do without you! High five!") Remember – you CANNOT do this without help. Seriously. It's impossible. You Will Die Trying. (Also? Remember to write award recs!)
This is a good place to turn towards your Participatory Activity of Choice. For us, this is a ball. Dancing is easy, it's fun (for many people), it's quick to teach to a lot of people, and a lot of people can do it at once. They can get involved and active and learn to do something as a group rather than being individually put on the spot in front of an audience.
Pro tip: A musician will hate you if she has to play the ball by herself. Expect canned music at least part of the time. If you do have musicians, encourage them to bring along extra sheet music in case some of the musically-inclined newcomers want to jump into the pit and pick up an instrument.
Throughout the info night, your group should remember that you are STILL working! Even though the point is to be socializing and having fun, you may need to remind them that they're supposed to be socializing with the newcomers, not with each other. Do so gently: "There's some newcomers sitting alone over there; want to come talk to them with me?"
At the end of the night, be sure to thank the newcomers you're talking to for coming, and say how excited you are to hopefully be seeing them at meetings.
Send out those two/three emails to the Venerable Email List. Do not send out more than you said you would! In it, say a general thank you to everyone who showed to the Info Night and emphasize how fun it was and what a great time everyone had, EVEN IF IT ACTUALLY CRASHED AND BURNED. Remind them about this week's meeting (I like to send out the emails on Wednesday, since our meeting is on Thursday), give them a run down of what's going to be going on ("It's a business meeting, so we'll be planning what arts and science nights we want to do this month. Have something in mind?"), etc.
If you managed to be really savvy and acquire phone numbers from anyone during the Info Night, give them personal calls an hour or two before the meeting and find out if they're coming.
THE FIRST COUPLE MEETINGS
If you're recruiting on a college campus, I DEARLY hope you're having your meetings on that campus too. Do you know how far away "off campus" can sound, even if it's just across the street from campus?? Also, remember that freshmen don't necessarily know the geography of the surrounding area, but they can wrangle out the locations of the campus buildings pretty easily. Remember too that not all college students have cars. If you ARE meeting off campus, arrange a meeting point ON campus from which to walk to the meeting (or carpool if it's far away).
But the easier it is for them to get to the meeting, the more likely they are to come. Make the cost-benefit as much in their favor as possible. Ask them to go out of their way later once they are more personally invested.
Remember that you are STILL working. Just because they're at one meeting doesn't mean they're recruited yet. Don't clique up with your friends. Sit with a new person instead of your bestie. I know, I know, it's a wrench, but think of how it'll look to the newcomer. Years later when they're getting their Peerage, maybe they'll remember you and think, "Wow, I wouldn't have stuck around to be here today if that person hadn't been so awesome."
You rock star, you.
I don't really consider anyone to be 100% recruited until they come back to meetings on their own after Christmas break.
Do what you can. Get them involved. Get them in garb and get them to an event.
Remember what it was like for you when you were new. Who helped you? What made you stay? Who did you look up to? What were you scared of doing? What did you wish you knew? What did you want most? How did you feel when you made a mistake?
Remember what it was like, and remember how *magical* it was back then: The first event you went to, the first time you were called into court, the first time someone wearing a shiny hat remembered your name.
Always remember that.
Go forth. Make it magical for someone else.
Yours in Service,
Lady Isabella Caresini
Copyright 2012 by Alexandera Rowland. <Alexandrarowland at gmail.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.
If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.