Fraternity communication basics, when mastered, can help you run your chapter like a well-oiled machine.
We know . . . robotic efficiency isn’t exactly the first thing you think of when you look at your ragtag band of brothers. That isn’t to say they don’t get things done. They always pull through and do the job when it counts.
But getting everyone marching in lockstep? That’s no easy task. It takes strong connections between every member, from the stalwart upperclassman to the greenest new member.
For that, you need an effective and consistent communication strategy. You need leaders to step into their roles, and younger members to be inspired to reach inside and become their best selves.
Of course, every officer has read his handbook, and every new member has read his educational guide. But what about when situations require brothers to reach beyond what’s on the page? What does it take to succeed in the face of new and unexpected challenges?
There are some basic questions you need to answer to succeed:
Who needs this information?
What needs to be communicated?
When should the information be conveyed, and how often?
Where should brothers be at any given moment?
How do you get them there?
Going through this list every time may seem easier said than done. But with practice and determination, you can master Fraternity Communication Basics.
Who Needs This Information?
Some information needs to get to the chapter in general and, if it isn’t super immediate, can be discussed at the next chapter meeting. Sometimes you need to get a message to a specific group of brothers, like a committee or those involved in a specific project or event. Yet other times you need to brainstorm with your exec board and come up with effective solutions to chapter management challenges.
Here are a few tips to getting information to the right people:
- If you’re an executive officer, always start with your exec board when hashing out how to convey information. Make a plan that gets top officers on the same page to keep the message clear and consistent.
- Keep your members on a need-to-know basis. Connect with specific groups of brothers about information that pertains directly to them. Don’t overwhelm the whole chapter when talking to a select group is more efficient.
- Maintain your lifeline to advisors. Your alumni chapter advisors, as well as fraternity/sorority life advisors and other higher-ups, can be a crucial resource. Needless to say, don’t bother them with every little update. However, if you have a problem that can’t be solved at the chapter level or it’d be better to touch base with them—with recruitment planning, for instance—keep them in the loop and weigh their advice carefully.
What Needs to Be Communicated?
Think about what information needs to be conveyed for brothers to digest what you’re telling them and remember it.
Keep in mind they’re getting overloaded with a million thoughts from their studies, as well as the busy life of running a fraternity chapter, their social lives and work schedules, etc.
Be the voice of reason. Here are a few basic tips:
- Be concise and consistent.
- Provide it in writing when possible (email, printout, etc.).
- Personalize it. What is each brother’s role?
- Keep it professional.
- Speak as a leader. Know what you’re saying and why.
You may want to vary how you communicate, depending on who you’re talking to. For instance, laying out the plans of a major event for brothers may require you to take your time and give lots of details.
Yet communicating with alumni who’re busy and don’t have a lot of spare time on their hands may require brevity and precision. If you’re going to consult with them on basic chapter business, they may want the Cliff’s notes rather than the full novel version.
For executive officers and upperclassmen, you can go through things quickly and omit the basic knowledge you already share. New members may need you to spend more time going over the aspects of chapter life they’re still learning.
When and How Often Should You Share Info with Your Fraternity Brothers?
The trickiest part of basic fraternity communication is sharing information at the right time—and often enough.
Tell brothers about your big Greek Week idea too early and no one will remember when the time comes. Tell them too late about the dates you need philanthropy volunteers, and all but 2 or 3 brothers will come down with a mysterious bout of the “flu” and miss out.
- Give brothers the pertinent details early, at least weeks in advance.
- Remind them at least once a week or so out, and again just before an event or activity.
- Remind them in person, such as at chapter or other meetings.
- Try to answer questions promptly and succinctly.
- Send reminders in various forms—email, text, etc.
Try to space your reminders in big enough intervals that you’re not fatiguing members with too much information, causing them to zone out on what you’re telling them.
Getting Brothers Where They Need to Go
Really, the main purpose of fraternity communication is to drive engagement to meet your chapter goals.
Without a consistent team effort toward success, it’s all for naught. And for that, you need members to show up at the right place at the right time.
Here are a few tips for using communication to drive engagement:
- Clarify dates, times, and member expectations.
- Remind brothers of positive or punitive rules for participation.
- Keep a transparent chapter budget, so brothers know what they’re paying for and feel more connected.
- Promote chapter events and activities with pictures, videos, and social media posts, to encourage brothers to take part.
- Use fraternity communication software to keep brothers on schedule.
OmegaOne communication software is designed specifically for chapters like yours, with a shared chapter calendar, event and attendance management, as well as personalized alerts, emails, texts, file sharing, and more.
OmegaOne connects brothers and drives them to achieve your goals together.
OmegaFi offers software solutions for Greek chapters for recruitment, budgeting, communication, and more. Learn more about our services or call direct at 800.276.6342.
What are some of your chapter’s top communication goals? How do you go about achieving them? Let us know in the comments below!