View From the River: Mandy Sliver – Conversations are worth the effort

  • Mandy Sliver —COURTESY PHOTO

Published: 7/19/2022 10:02:56 AM
Modified: 7/19/2022 10:00:02 AM

You may be used to seeing Margaret Nelson’s picture with this column, and I assure you that she will be back next month. As the soon-to-be-retired chair of The River Center’s board of trustees, I was invited to write the column this month.

It is difficult to truly communicate. I have found that efficient communication doesn’t always mean that you are being effective. I have a very hard time communicating with typed words on a page (or on a screen), and I am not saying this as a weakness. It’s not a weakness, it’s just a fact. As human beings, we are complicated and sensitive and most of us can communicate much more effectively with help from body language, tone of voice and facial expressions, but we live in a world where it is so efficient to communicate using technology. It’s easy to type in a question and get an answer, so why would I bother taking the time to talk to someone if it’s going to take longer?

What is the difference between “efficient” and “effective” communication? And what does this have to do with The River Center? I’ll get there, I promise!  I used a quick Google search to get some basic definitions to get us there faster. (I really do love technology, it’s very handy.) The first thing that popped up on my screen was a website called and it describes “efficient” communication as “the ability to deliver a clear message in the shortest amount of time. With this form of communication, the message may or may not be received in the manner intended.”  That sounds about right.

My second search was for “effective” communication. Big difference. The top choice from Google was a website called, and it describes effective communication as “the process of exchanging ideas, thoughts, opinions, knowledge and data so that the message is received and understood with clarity and purpose. When we communicate effectively, both the sender and receiver feel satisfied.” This is where I circle back to The River Center -- they are local, they will listen and they can connect you with the support and information you need.

As a family and community resource center, the staff and volunteers of The River Center provide free access to resources that help people with just about anything, and they do it because they love to do it and actually want to talk to you. But here’s the trick -- you have to put yourself out there to communicate your concern, to admit to someone (yes, a live person) that you don’t know something and you need their help. We all need help sometimes, no matter who we are, and it’s sometimes really hard to admit it to another human.  But I guarantee you that pushing through the hard part, calling 603-924-6800 and engaging in a conversation will be worth the effort and you will probably end up receiving so much more information and support than you expected

Lately, I have been reading about how people are having a hard time meeting people and making connections in our rural community. The River Center has many opportunities to connect with others through parent and caregiver groups, family programs that explore outdoors, groups for folks with babies, music with your toddler or connecting with assistance.

Another great way to connect with others is to do what I did -- volunteer at The River Center. I started as a volunteer tax-preparer and now am finishing up six years on the board. Volunteering is a great way to meet people and feel part of our community. 

Check out for more information about The River Center. Or contact us at 603-924-6800 or They would love to talk with you.

Mandy Sliver is the board chair of The River Center Family and Community Resource Center.

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