President's Reflections

President’s Reflections – February 2024

Welcome to a new year. Here we are in February, and we’ve no doubt already had numerous conversations with a lot of people. Do you have any specific plans for what you hope to achieve this year? Have you “talked” about these, or “conversed” with someone about your ideas/plans?

What is the difference between talking and conversation?

“Talking” generally refers to the act of speaking with someone, while “having a conversation” implies a back-and-forth exchange of thoughts and ideas between two or more people, usually with the goal of gaining understanding or building a relationship.

Conversation skills are about being able to talk and listen well. This involves starting conversations, for example, by saying “hello” or asking a question; getting attention in a respectful way, for example, by saying “excuse me” and using eye contact. Go with the flow … if you don’t know, say you don’t know … don’t equate your experience with theirs … try not to repeat yourself …

In the New Testament, there are conversations recorded between Jesus and various people he met along the way, and this year we are going to look at these conversations with the help of our study presenters.

So, what is conversation in communication?

Conversation is an exchange of words, while communication is the transformation of thoughts and words into meaningful action. Conversation typically involves what you wish to share with another; communication focuses more on what you wish to accomplish. To communicate effectively, we must listen actively.

Quite some years ago, I chose to attend a course on assertiveness. Someone asked me why. We are asked many questions from day to day. Do we stop and think before we answer, whether our response is sufficient, concise, or what might be expected. I often find myself taking time to give an answer, thinking things through and as to what the next question might be in relation to my initial response.

Assertiveness can help you control stress and anger and improve coping skills, and communication. Being assertive is a core communication skill. Assertiveness can help you express yourself effectively and stand up for your point of view. It can also help you to do this while respecting the rights and beliefs of others. It can boost your self-confidence and earn others’ respect. This can help with stress management. It may especially help you reduce stress if you tend to take on too many responsibilities because you have a hard time saying “no”.

My prayer for the year is that, in all our conversations, as we listen and learn, we share and care and ask ourselves – What would Jesus say and/or what would Jesus do?

Every blessing to you.

About the Author

Grace Kroehn

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