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Do You Make These Conversation Mistakes?

We are all accustomed to speaking and reacting in certain ways, depending on the conversation, our history and our emotional state. When we learn to stop using common but unproductive ways of communicating, we open up real possibility for agreement and harmony.

Read the statements below and decide whether these kinds of actions would facilitate a profitable discussion, or bring one to a grinding halt:

Attacking or blaming others?
Being sarcastic?
Being defensive?
Making complaints?
Making assumptions?
Responding to suggestions and ideas with “yes-but”

When these interactions occur it’s easy to find yourself feeling a consistent level of frustration with discussion.

Talk smarter. Get conversation SAVI
SAVI®, the abbreviation for the System for Analyzing Verbal Interaction, can help you move from frustration to satisfaction. Using SAVI® you can quickly train yourself to notice when the conversation is not heading towards a useful outcome. You would be able to listen to a conversation and know a lot of what a participant is feeling and thinking while they are actually interacting. SAVI® was co-developed by Dr. Anita Simon and Dr. Yvonne Agazarian.

The SAVI® model has language zones. Green zone language are things that are going to help communication move well. Yellow zone is for caution, and Red zone language suggests you stop—just like a stop light.

SAVI® is a wonderful system for helping people become aware of how their language contributes to getting stuck, not achieving useful outcomes and getting beyond old and more difficult patterns of relating. Whether the goal is the family working together, family members in the business working together, or the interrelationship between the two, SAVI® helps you move forward so that people feel satisfied with their communication and satisfied that the work gets done. SAVI® gives you an understanding of how everyone is working in the interpersonal realm within the family and the business.

SAVI® particularly looks at language. Most theories of communication have a lot of protocols, opinions, case studies, or examples, but they don’t really have a lot of research behind them. SAVI® does have research behind it, so it is more evidence based. The research has been done in organizational settings and work groups.

Learn to see communication in a whole new light
SAVI® helps us see how family members operate in their various roles in the family, whether working on something in the family, working on something in the business, or something that overlaps, we can tell how they operate by how they communicate. How individuals take leadership within their role, whether they are working in the business or are not working in the business, is revealed through language.

When you engage in the kind of communication listed at the start of the article, you are in the Red Zone.

SAVI worked for this CEO. It can work for you
One time I introduced SAVI® to a family business and gave them the model of this system both on paper and on a small DVD. These illustrated what happens when conversations don’t go well and what happens when you utilize the model. The CEO owner liked it so much that he wanted to practice it in meetings with the family. In a meeting that had a lot of intensity the CEO was about to say something, stopped himself, turned to me, and said, “I am going to say something that is in the red zone. Help me because that will not contribute to a good outcome for this meeting.” I said, “Well, you could ask a question about what other people’s opinions are, or about what is going on rather than putting your stamp on it.” He did and the meeting turned because he was getting more information into the discussion rather than driving it forward in the way he thought it should be. He caught that he could be part of the problem and he would have been. He would have created more reactivity rather than actually being interested in how other people saw the issue.

SAVI® is very easy to learn and there is a whole level of refinement and depth to it if people want to go further with it. Just getting started with it gives you an image to work with and lets you know that if you stay with this kind of language things will go better. Working with a facilitator can speed up the learning process.

Ian Macnaughton Recognized for Outstanding Achievement

Communication Problems -- and Solutions -- in a Nutshell