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Tips For Enhancing Your Social Media Connection With ProspectsMonday, May 25th, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Connecting with today’s prospective student has become a new and more complicated adventure for college admissions departments nationwide. Social media is a big reason why. It has changed the way that high school students approach the college selection process.

According to a new study from Pew Research Center, 71% of teens use more than one social media network site. Those same teenagers are using the various channels to not only gather information on colleges but also to help them make their decisions. Not fully convinced? Here’s how both Twitter and Instagram have helped students find that “right fit.”

Most colleges and universities are active across multiple social media platforms. Your admissions office and/or staff likely have Facebook and Twitter accounts, and possibly are on Instagram. My question is, “Are each of those platforms being used effectively?” While social media is unlikely to make or break your college in the minds of your prospects, it can help deepen your connection and allow you to stand out from your competition.

Today I want to provide you with some basic tips on how to use social media to your advantage with this next class of prospects.

  • Remember that it’s only one part. To start with, let me be clear that social media is only one part of an effective recruiting communication strategy. Just because a large portion of your target audience is constantly on their smartphones doesn’t mean that you can substitute social media contact in place of hand-written letters and phone calls. Your prospects continue to tell us that a regular flow of mail, email, phone calls, personal contact and social media is what they’re looking for.
  • Don’t forget our golden rule. Our expanding research on social media has produced one very important rule that this generation seems to gravitate around: There are different rules and comfort levels for different prospects. Here’s what that means. Some of your recruits will have no problem with the admissions staff communicating with them by following them or sending a direct message on social media. Others however have a greater need for privacy and don’t want you to venture into this part of their world. My advice: Ask each prospect what they’d be okay with. Keep it simple and let them know why you’re asking that question. Explain that you want to communicate with them the way they want to be communicated with. You might be surprised how much they will appreciate that.
  • Less news, facts, and figures. We continue to see colleges and admissions departments use their Facebook feeds and Twitter timelines to primarily post school press releases. There’s also a group that relies heavily on facts, figures, and statistics. If your school falls into either of these categories you should know that you run the risk of boring your recruits early on. A mix of these with more personalized posts is fine, but using social media to pass along news or brag about rankings won’t consistently sell your prospects on your school.
  • More visual behind the scenes content. The social media content that we see working best is visual, normal everyday stuff that you probably take for granted. By visual I’m referring to pictures and videos. These capture the attention of your prospects and their short attention span better than text. Go ahead and showcase the personality of your campus and the student body. The more relaxed and uncut the better. Encourage student-generated content, especially around school traditions. Those genuine interactions and images are powerful and can help create an emotional connection that is hard to accomplish over the phone or through a letter with your recruits.
  • Come up with creative and attention getting headlines. Remember that short attention span I referenced? If your headline or post isn’t east to read visually or worded the way that your prospects want it, they’ll just tune you out. Create a headline that makes a statement and offers the reader an idea of where you’re going and what’s in it for them.
  • Post consistently. The worst thing you can do is create social media accounts and then post randomly. What message do you think it conveys to a prospect or his or her parents if they search for you or your school on social media only to discover there hasn’t been a post in over a month? If social media content is to aid in your recruitment it’s important to post consistently. That consistency will build recognition and memorability. (If you want to know how often the research says you should post on the various social media platforms, click here)

Social media should be an important part of any effective recruiting communication plan for admissions. It’s free, simple, and it’s the future of communicating effectively with your prospects in conjunction with the right mix of letters, emails, and phone calls.

If you have questions about any of this feel free to email me directly at jeremy@dantudor.com

Recruiting Calls: How to Make Sure Your Prospects Remember YouMonday, May 18th, 2015

by Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services

Spring yard work. That’s what I’ve spent the past two weekends doing. Trimming, planting, burying my down spouts, and mulch…lots of mulch. Does this sound familiar?

I’m clearly a bad judge when it comes to mulch because I ended up making not one, not two, but three trips to the local garden center in the same weekend. As I was checking out with the last round of mulch, the cashier (same one as the previous two times) asked to see my card so she could verify the signature. Upon doing so she says, “Oh I remember you…you’re the guy with that ugly signature.”

I’ll be the first to admit that my signature is a little messy and hard to read. Truth be told this isn’t the first time either that a store employee somewhere has pointed those facts out. The point I’m trying to make is simple. My ugly signature gets me remembered.

In this age of smartphones and social media, it’s amazing that so much of the recruiting relationship with prospective students still hinges on making a great old-fashioned phone call.

Making effective phone calls is a challenge for many admissions professionals, particularly those early recruiting calls. Instead of trying to cultivate a meaningful relationship with the nervous teenager on the other end, many counselors end up focusing on one thing – selling their school. As I’ve touched on before, that’s the wrong approach. You risk your prospect becoming annoyed, bored, or even worse, both.

Your goal during those early recruiting phone calls should be to “plant the seed,” grow the relationship and find ways to be memorable. When you accomplish that your prospects will look forward to that next recruiting communication. If you do it over time your school will be the one on their mind when they’re ready to make a decision.

Here are 5 strategies that will get your prospects to remember you:

  1. Eliminate their fears early in the conversation. One of the things we discuss during our on-campus training workshops is just how present your prospect’s “fear” is throughout the recruiting process. As a result, you should expect them to have their guard up during the onset of any initial conversation. One of the easiest ways to remove that fear is to demonstrate right out of the gate that you’re a passionate recruiter. Passion is both hard to fake and contagious. Tell your prospects why you think they’ll be a good fit at your school. Ask him or her questions that will reveal things that excite them. You can then use those in future recruiting communications. Demonstrating passion will remove any doubts and provide a level of comfort for your prospects.
  1. Be authentic. I know it can be tempting to list every single reason why your institution is the “right fit” during those early conversations with prospects. The problem is most of your prospects tell us that method of selling comes across as pushy and doesn’t make for an enjoyable conversation. What resonates with today’s recruit is an authentic discussion where you let them get to know the real you, and you really listen to what they have to say. Be honest, open and direct about the recruitment process. It sounds easy enough, but the reality is few counselors have completely mastered this skill.
  1. Stay current. Pop quiz. Do you know who Calvin Harris is? Are you familiar with ‘Pitch Perfect 2’? (If you answered “no” to either I recommend you click on the links after you’re done with this article) Effective recruiters who want to be remembered are “students of the game.” They keep up on trends and what’s popular with their target demographic. That knowledge then allows them to engage in and develop deeper connections with their prospects, who by the way love to talk about movies, music and celebrities. Make a statement or ask a question about something from the current pop culture landscape. You might be surprised by the response you get.
  1. Listen and then prove that you were listening. Your prospects have a lot of questions they want answered. Will you allow them to have control of the conversation? (Hint: It’s okay to do so). Assuming that you’re on board with me, sit back, listen, and take notes…lots of notes. You can then use that information in future letters and emails. For example let’s say your prospect shares who their favorite music artist is. Why not take one of that artists’ current songs and change a verse or two to contain lyrics about your prospect and your college. Cheesy, right? You’re exactly right, and it works! The lyrics you come up with are insignificant. The fact that you took time to listen to your prospect and come up with something unique about them immediately differentiates you and will be remembered.
  1. End your conversation with something impactful. Pick your favorite television drama. There’s a reason at the end of every episode something big happens or a question is left unanswered. It causes you the viewer to feel something and/or create anticipation for next week’s episode. That same rule can and should be applied to your recruiting contacts. You should always set up your next communication. Ask yourself, “What can I get them to anticipate next?” If you’re a client of ours you know how important it is to have the flow of the recruiting process move as efficiently as possible toward securing a campus visit. What about telling them a story or making an impactful statement. Those are the kinds of things that are committed to memory.

Try putting one or all of these strategies into practice with this next class of recruits during those early communications. Doing so will make your prospects take notice and achieve more positive results for your recruiting efforts moving forward!

Need help formulating a strategy and putting proven ideas to work for you and your admissions team?  Become a client of ours. We work with you one-on-one to create and execute a recruiting plan that will get results.   Email me directly for more information.

5 Tips for Recruiting Freshman and Sophomore ProspectsMonday, May 18th, 2015

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Your Prospect’s 3 Biggest FearsMonday, May 18th, 2015

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Why You Want Repetition in Your Recruiting MessageMonday, May 18th, 2015

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4 Recruiting Strategy Questions To Ask Your StaffMonday, May 18th, 2015

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Your Visual Recruiting MessageMonday, May 18th, 2015

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How the Nation’s Top Prospects Chose Their CollegeMonday, May 18th, 2015

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Miracle On Ice Team: Where Are They Now?Monday, May 18th, 2015

by Charlie Adams, StokeTheFireWithin.com

As college coaches, you are not only recruiting talent but also helping to develop these young people to have success in life. Of the twenty players on Herb Brooks Miracle on Ice team, all of them have gone on to be successful. While over half played professionally, including several with long NHL careers, what is most important is that because of their upbringing, their inner fire, and the drive from Herb, they have done well in all walks of life. Here is an update on this special group  that galvanized America. Their average age today would be 57.

Steve Janaszak: Steve is an investment manager in New York. Even though he was 1st team All America at the University of Minnesota, Herb told him he was going to ride Jim Craig all the way as goalie in Lake Placid. Steve never played, but never was a disruptive force. He was such a team player that he even sharpened skates of teammates in intermissions. After retiring from mainly minor league hockey, he went on to work as a bond salesman for an investment banking firm on the 89th floor of the South Tower in the World Trade Center until March 2001, leaving the company six months before 9/11. He says the company lost 67 people when the towers collapsed, including most of the people on the trading desk where he had worked.

Ken Morrow: Ken is director of scouting for the New York Islanders. The 6’4″ defenseman was so talented that the Islanders signed him right after Lake Placid and he was a part of four straight Stanley Cup title teams.

Mike Ramsey: Mike is retired and lives in Minnesota. He was a four-time NHL All-Star in a 14-year career with the Sabres. Also played for the Penguins and Red Wings. Was an assistant coach with the Sabres and North Stars.

Bill Baker: Bill is an oral surgeon in Minnesota with multiple offices. He excelled academically at prestigious Washington University’s dental program in St. Louis in the years after the Miracle on Ice. He played for four NHL teams. At Lake Placid, Bill scored the tying goal vs Sweden in the opening game, salvaging a critical 2-2 tie. It would be his only goal. Herb built his team on players that would step up when needed most.

Dave Silk: Dave is an investment manager in Boston. He played for several NHL teams and was an assistant coach at Boston University. Herb knew how to trust verified resources when researching potential players for his 1980 team. Initially skeptical of Silk, one of Silk’s coaches told him that Dave would be the guy out their in crunch time for him. To realize that turned out to be true, all you have to do is hear what Al Michaels said: “Eleven seconds, you’ve got 10 seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow up to Silk. Do you believe in miracles? YES!” Yep, he was out
there.

Neal Broten: Neal is a horse farm operator in River Falls, Wisconsin. He played 17 NHL seasons for four teams. A believer in identifying talent early, Herb targeted him as an 8th grader and made sure someone on his University of Minnesota staff saw him in person regularly through his high school career.

Mark Johnson: Mark, who scored two of the four goals in the 4-3 win over the Soviets, is head coach of the University of Wisconsin women”s hockey team, and has been head coach of Team USA women in the Olympics. He had an
illustrious NHL career, and says he became a Christian when playing, ironically, for the New Jersey Devils.

Steve Christoff: Steve is a pilot for Endeavor Air, based in Minneapolis. He played for three NHL teams from 1979-84.

Mark Wells: After playing some minor league hockey and moving into the restaurant management industry, Mark was diagnosed with a degenerative spinal disease that has led to over ten operations and left him bed ridden for an extended time. Always a fighter, he is still battling and is working on a book named ‘Last Man In.’ Mark was the final player chosen by Herb for his roster.

Mark Pavelich: Mark is a land developer. The Minnesota-Duluth alum made the assist to Mike Eruzine’s historic winning goal vs the Soviets. Passed over by the NHL because they felt he was too short, Mark played overseas for a year. When Herb became head coach of the NY Rangers, he signed Mark, who promptly proved the so-called NHL talent experts wrong, and even became the first American to score five goals in a NHL game. When Herb left, Mark lost interest in playing for coaches without Herb’s creativity, and retired from tne NHL in his prime.

Jack O’Callahan: Jack is a high ranking part of Beanpot Financial in Chicago. He played in the NHL from 1982 to 1989, primarilly for the Blackhawks. A top academic student at Latin High in Boston, he turned down Harvard to play for Boston University where he would lose ten teeth and have around one hundred facial stitches during his days there. Herb loved that tenacity and kept him on the Lake Placid roster even though he hurt his knee pretty bad in the final exhibition before the Games. Mike Eruzione would later say that was a huge move, as it inspired the team.

Eric Strobel: Eric had part ownership of a golf club in Fifty Lakes, Minnesota, before retiring. His pro career ended early when he suffered a broken ankle while playing for Rochester. He then became a telephone sales executive in Apple Valley, Minnesota. Herb motivated him by telling the media that Eric had a million dollar pair of legs but a fifty cent fart for a brain.

Bob Suter: ‘Bam Bam’ became the first of the twenty players to die, when he had a heart attack last September at age 57. He was at the rink where he had inspired countless young people over the years in hockey and life. Bob never played pro after Lake Placid, focusing on returning to Madison, Wisconsin and teaching youth hockey. His life motto was “It’s all about the kids.” There was no church big enough to handle mourners, so his service was moved to a local arena. Bob’s son Ryan is a NHL All Star with Minnesota.

Mike Eruzione: Mike is director of special outreach at Boston University and is still in demand as a motivational speaker. Overlooked by D1’s in high school, he was going to go D2 until the new Boston University coach saw him the summer before his freshman year, and signed him. New Hampshire was one of the D1’s that felt he didn’t have what it took. Eruzione torched them for four years, leading their staff to develop a new recruiting world. They said they never could be “Eruzioned” again in recruiting, meaning they could not overlook a recruit that maybe did not have their measureables. Even though he could have played pro, Mike never did after Lake Placid, saying nothing could top that experience. He received thousands of letters after the Games, including eight from people that said they were going to kill themselves, but did not after watching Team USA.

Dave Christian: Dave works for a residential glass manufacturer in Minnesota. Dave played 16 years with five teams in the NHL. Experts say the best coaching move Herb made was asking Dave to move from center ice to defenseman, as injuries had taken their toll on defensemen. Ever the team player, Dave totally bought into the move. This was a young man who gave up the more glamorous offensive position to help  get the puck out of the zone on defense. He was so talented on offense that he later set an NHL record by scoring seven seconds into his career with the Winnipeg Jets.

Rob McClanahan: Rob is managing director and head of institutional trading at ThinkEquity Partners in Minnesota. Rob played for the Rangers coached by Herb in 1984. Rob and Herb had the famous heated exchange in the locker
room after the first period of the Sweden game, leading them to be separated out in the hall. Rob would later score in the winning goal in the gold medal game vs Finland, and today is on the board of directors for the Herb Brooks Foundation. He says no other coach could have taken that team to the gold except Herb.

Buzz Schneider: Buzz is a successful real estate agen in Minnesota. He played professionally overseas and in the minor leagues. He was the only player on the 1980 team that had played on the 1976 team, and he scored the first goal vs the Soviets in the 4-3 win. Emphasizing speed, Herb loved how fast Buzz was, as he had run the 40 in just under 4.3 seconds.

Phil Verchota: Phil is senior vice president of First American Bank in Willmar, Minnesota. He played in Finland after the Olympics but returned to the U.S. team in 1984.

John Harrington: John recently was named head coach of the University of Minnesota-Mankato women’s hockey team. He was the men’s coach at the University of Saint John’s in Minnesota for a long time, often calling Herb for coaching advice. He also was a scout for the Colorado Avalanche. After Lake Placid, he played minor-league hockey and on the 1984 Olympic team.

Jim Craig: Jim is an in demand speaker and team builder as owner of Gold Medal Strategies. The goalie stopped 36 of 39 Soviet shots in what has been called the greatest performance under pressure in the annals of the Olympics summer and winter Games. Even though experts had other college goalies rated ahead of him, Herb went with him as he wasn’t looking for the best players, but the right players. After a standout career at Boston University, he played briefly for the Flames, Bruins and North Stars.

All of these men were picked by Herb not only because of their skills and speed, but because of their intelligence, family backgrounds, and inner fire. All of them have been successful in life, thanks in part to Herb telling them things like this during their seven months together in 1970 and 1980, things that you could tell your athletes today:

“Set goals in life or forever work for those that do.”

“Form good habits and become slaves to them.”

“When we come together we can do the improbable and perhaps the impossible!”

“Work so hard and become so good that you make it impossible for me to cut you.”

“Give 99% and make my job easy to cut you.”

“We should be dreamers. We grew up as kids having dreams, but as adults become too sophisticated. We stop dreaming. We should always have dreams.”

“Motivation is the energy that makes everything work. It is clearly the single most critical part of performance.”

“Risk something, or forever sit with your dreams.”

“Don’t be common. The common person goes nowhere. Be uncommon.”

“The name on the front of the shirt is a lot more important than the one on the back.”

“You don’t put greatness into people. You pull it out of them.”

Charlie Adams is a motivational speaker with 35 years of experience. For more information on his workshops and how to book one for your program, please visit his website or email him at: Charlie@stokethefirewithin.com

7 Sly Skills Of Wicked Good CoachesMonday, May 18th, 2015

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

Have you been trying to improve your coaching, but it’s not working well?

Do you know the simple skills that can make a big difference?

I’ve not been in many Cracker Barrel restaurants, but I will remember this one.

We were traveling to Boston and stopped to grab a bite. Sitting in the booth behind us was a family of four. Mom and Dad were talking to their daughter about her lacrosse experience.

Mom: “Your coach, she’s a wicked good coach. I like her.
Daughter: “Aw Mom, she’s good but not w-i-c-k-e-d good!
Mom: “Yeah she is, she is wicked good. I know wicked and she is it!”

That conversation rolled on for a few minutes.

Finally, I had to ask. I spun around, “Excuse me, folks, when you say “wicked”, like in “wicked good coach” what does the “wicked” mean.

Yes, it was awkward. Yes, it was weird. But if you know me, you know it’s what I do.

Being Wicked

Growing up in Boston, I used “wicked” all the time. It was our sentence enhancer. Slap “wicked” before something, and whatever it was became special.

This: that was a wicked slice
Means: a mighty fine piece of pizza

This: he’s got a wicked beetha
Means: that person’s car is a piece of junk

This: that bubbler is wicked ice
Means: the water fountain water is darn cold

Y’see, wicked means extra-ordinary. So what is a wicked good coach?

I guess that depends … but my definition is this: a coach who excels in all aspects of her or his job. Not just good, and more than special. Better than outstanding.

If we can agree on that, then the important part of this entire article is how do you get to be a wicked good coach?

Sly Skills

What I’ve learned, from hanging around coaches for the past 50 years, is that wicked good coaches use a certain set of skills most other coaches don’t. I call them “sly” skills because the skills are so simple, so subtle, that many coaches either dismiss them as trivial or ignore them altogether.

But not the wicked good coaches — they use these skills just beneath the surface of their day-to-day coaching to great affect. Following are the skills I’m on about.

Sly Skill #1: Instigating

The status quo is the one thing most difficult for coaches to overcome, especially the status quo in athlete’s minds:

I’ve never been able to run that speed for a mile
We always lose to them
I can’t make foul shots

Wicked good coaches are instigators. They determine the status quo, and then cause small rebellions to bring it down.

Maybe you can’t run that speed for a mile, yet, but I bet you could for 30 yards!
Maybe they’ll beat us in the final score, but let’s pick a stat we will beat them in!
Don’t worry about foul shots now, let’s see how well you can shoot from low post!

Sly Skill #2: Listening

The Universe sends us messages. Weekly. Daily. Hourly. Unfortunately, we are usually too busy/distracted to listen.

The athlete who comes to you with a complaint, has a message for you. As does the athlete struggling in practice, and your superstar, your family member, your sig-other.

Wicked good coaches listen to those messages, and they know which messages to ignore or to file, and which are important.

Sly Skill #3: Empathizing

Understanding what another person is feeling is a skill some are born with. Others have to develop it. Some never get it.

Being empathic to others can change your coaching game. I worked with a truly empathic coach and I heard one of her athletes say, “It’s like she reads my mind—she knows exactly what I’m thinking.”

Sly Skill #4: Assuming Nothing

I’ve noticed teachers (and coaches) assume everyone “knows” much more than they “know.” This is especially true with jargon. I am so guilty of this.

But wicked good coaches don’t make those assumption. They slyly explain what we often assume everyone knows.

Sly Skill #5: Asking

Getting what you want is so much easier when you ask for it. Wicked good coaches ask their athletes what is holding them back, then use that information to help. Asking, when combined with listening, can make you appear to be a genius.

Sly Skill #6: Ideating

Wicked good coaches are idea machines. It’s a sly skill and consists of producing ideas each day. Claudia Altucher, in her book Become An Idea Machine, notes that she cranks out a list of 10 ideas every day. According to Altucher, and I agree, the first 3 – 4 ideas are easy. The rest get harder, but that’s where the gold is.

Sly Skill #7: Gratitude

Coaches need help. Lots of help. Wicked good coaches thank that help. A lot. They bring gratitude into their daily routine, and truly mean it when they say it.

Actions You Can (and should) Take

Ben Franklin was a wise man. Part of his wisdom was focusing on one of his specific skill each day, to improve it. I try to do the same with each of these sly skills. It’s not easy, but few things worth doing are.

What if you tried that for a month? Take one sly skill and make it a focus of your day. For instance, every Tuesday invest in listening to the messages you are sent. Wednesday you focus on using your empathy skills. And so forth. Give it a month.

I’m also going to suggest 3 books as resources. I’ve read each, use them, and wouldn’t recommend them if I didn’t believe in them:

1: Become An Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency Of The 21st Century – Claudia Altucher
2: The Freaks Shall Inherit The Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits and World Dominators – Chris Brogan
3: InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives – Joe Ehrmann

That’s A Wrap

There are a lot of ways to be a wicked good coach. These are just a few of them — others certainly exist. Working on these 7 could go a long way towards making a significant difference in your coaching.

It’s been a long week, as we train to compete at the NCAA championships, work through finals exams, and balance family life. Other than that, can I request a share of this week’s issue? Thank you!

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