Healthy Monday emphasizes communication

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Elise Nelson/Winonan

Healthy Mondays advised students why in-person communication is important. A small group of students gathered for an intimate lecture and discussion on communication.

Kelly Kirby, a Winona State University counselor, led Communication 101 in the Integrated Wellness Complex on Monday, Sept. 23, as part of the workshop series “Healthy Mondays.”

In the workshop, Kirby said her purpose was to show students how to have a conversation that matters. She outlined a number of tips for enhancing communication: know your environment, respond rather than react, and know how to say it when the conversation topic is difficult.

Kirby made it clear early in the night that audience participation would be required by asking questions of the six students who attended to invite discussion. She said she much preferred if students would ask her questions about what they wanted to know regarding communication.

“It sounds like a cop-out,” Kirby said, “but communication is so wide open.”

Health and wellness promotion assistant Shawnessy Mohawk said the intimacy of the small audience was appropriate for the subject matter.

“It was nice for conversation and engaging with one another,” Mohawk said. “We want it to be relaxed.”

Mohawk said the organizers of Healthy Mondays typically meet with counselors a semester ahead to plan what topics to cover. The themes are usually the result of what counselors see a lot of students struggling with or asking about.

During the event, Kirby told stories about communication blunders to illustrate her discussion. The small group laughed as Kirby explained why some conversations should happen in person.

“It might take more than 140 characters,” Kirby said, clarifying why she believes important conversations shouldn’t happen via technological devices.

Lauren Weber, a Winona State nursing major, said she does see technology being a hindrance to communication.

“Things get misconstrued through non-verbal communication,” Weber said.

Mohawk said that for some students, attending these events is required for a class, while others show up because they are interested in the topic. To keep track of this, they issue evaluation forms at the end of the night to determine where people are coming from and what they thought of the event.

After the event, Weber said she would go to more Healthy Mondays in the future and hoped more people would attend the next event.

“It would be cool to see more people come,” Weber said, “but I did like that it was a small group, because then you can really communicate.”

Next week, Winona State Health and Wellness will hold Healthy Monday: Stop the Stigma: A Conversation on Mental Illness at 7 p.m. on Oct. 7 in IWC Room 138.

 

Contact Elise at [email protected]