Minnesota instructors give tips, tricks for effective communication

PHOENIX — Three Minnesota Legionnaires gave classes on Monday, Aug. 30, at the 102nd National Convention.

Past 6th District Commander Paul Edwards gave one on writing resolutions. Past 8th District Commander Jennifer Havlick gave one on mentorship and Department Chaplain Kelley Adelsman spoke about volunteering and membership.

Paul Edwards

Paul Edwards of Nisswa Post 627 teaches resolution-writing on Monday, Aug. 30.

One way to improve resolution writing is to think of addressing any common problem in terms of resolutions. For his class, Edwards uses spilled coffee.

The title is a short description of what the resolution hopes to accomplish, who wrote it and when. The preamble, among other things, is a statement of the problem, with each statement starting with “WHEREAS” and with supporting statements. The resolved clause has who will accomplish each action, when and where. Edwards also goes through the punctuation and style.

He asked the class members to provide input on each of those things regarding the spilled coffee. In his own resolution example, it wraps up with: “RESOLVED, that after ensuring that it is safe to do so, I will go to the coffee pot and pour myself a fresh cup of coffee.”

Jennifer Havlick

Mentorship, she told her class, is a relationship built through an ongoing conversation.

Jennifer Havlick of Duluth Post 28 listens to a participant in her class on Monday, Aug. 30, at the National Convention.

“Be who you are. Be authentic,” Havlick said.

She said many times she has asked Legion leaders to modify invites that say “suit and tie” to include women’s clothing. She isn’t afraid to be herself in the Legion, and people respect her more for that than if she shies away from speaking her mind.

When bringing in new members, help them find their passion, then help them with what they want to do, she said.

She encouraged class members to praise other Legion members in public. If there is criticism, talk to that person in private. Public criticism embarrasses and alienates.

She also spoke about avoiding the vertical pronoun. A person who says “I this, I that, I, I, I,” comes off as self-centered and perhaps even selfish.

“Remove the I. Make it ‘we.’”

Kelley Adelsman

Eligibility for joining The American Legion is one day of federal active service.

Kelley Adelsman of Pine Island Post 184 speaks while participants take notes on Monday, Aug. 30, at the 102nd National Convention in Phoenix.

Legionnaires choose to belong. They have the right to vote, right to participate in post meetings and activities and the right to participate in the organization’s governance.

“I love that The American Legion is grass-roots,” Adelsman said.

She said the No. 1 way we lose members is lack of engagement.

“Let them know that you appreciate them,” she said.

And she added that posts have a responsibility to our members. It’s good to manage expectations, provide awards, recognize achievements and to perform training. That includes making sure everyone has access to the post constitution and bylaws.