Posted At: September 17, 2012 2:15 P.M.
by Leighton Brown
“GET IN LINE!” “LOOK YOUR BEST!” “PALE PINK POLISH ONLY!” “LOUDER!” “WE HAVE TO BE BETTER THAN THE HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET!”
Those phrases above are forever ingrained in my mind. It wasn’t until recently that those phrases reminded me of forever-long hours inside the sorority house and weeks when I would never see the light of day.
During rush, you are always doing something wrong or getting yelled at. You clapped your hands too early or bopped your head the wrong way, and you might as well just go dig yourself a grave because you have potentially just ruined the most important two weeks of the year for your sorority.
Sound dramatic? It is. However, I bet the majority of girls who are actively involved in sororities have felt this way a time or two before about the inevitable . . . Rush Week.
During rush, you have to look your best at all times, carry on multiple conversations and prowl around the room searching for your next target. The most important thing you have to do is appeal to the girl you are speaking to: Make her feel wanted, make her feel special, be interested and, most importantly, be polite.
When I say rush has profoundly impacted my professional career, I mean it in a positive way. Who would have ever thought that I would have come to this conclusion! Last week, I attended the PRSA meeting in Birmingham, Ala., and when I walked into that conference room for the first time, I was experiencing deja vu like I never had before.
Everyone looked great, was putting their best foot forward and there was a circle of young professionals prowling around the room seeking their next target, hoping for a meaningful conversation. I couldn’t help but think about rush in this environment. The only thing that was different was there were no door songs or loud chats being screamed at me as I walked in. It was a nicer and more pleasant rush environment. After all, as aspiring young professionals, we are kind of “rushing” ourselves into the professional PR world.
As I thought more about it, I realized that I am once again the girl going through rush. How I present myself and how I can carry on a conversation really matters. This is the first time these professionals will see me; this is their first impression. How am I going to be memorable? What am I going to say to them? Despite the fact that they will speak to probably 20 other PR students today, how are they going to specifically remember me?
All this comes to mind at once and a light bulb goes off. A young professional does have to look great from head to toe (even the nail polish ladies . . . I don’t think it would be too impressive to walk into a professional function with lime green nails on). You have to be better than your competition. Most importantly, you have to be confident. Your confidence, mannerisms and personality will shine through your speech.
Ron Culp recently told me that he knows within five seconds if you are the employee for him. He knows this because it’s the students that walk right up to him, shake his hand and introduce themselves that stand out.
Confidence, from rush to the real world, is essential. Just like confidence during rush will get you a bid card, confidence will also reward you with a bid card for a real job!