By Saleem Rana

Interview by Allen Cardoza
November 26, 2012

Ben Benjamin, Ph.D., and Amy Yeager Jeffrey spoke to Allen Cardoza from Answers for the Family on L.A. Talk Radio about their newly released book, “Conversation Transformation.”  The discussion focused on understanding why any conversation succeeds or fails. Mastering communication skills can help a person transform the challenging conversations in their family life, their social world and their work.  The communication techniques taught in the book are grounded in the latest neuropsychology research and the communication principles of SAVI (the System for Analyzing Verbal Interaction).


About Ben Benjamin and Amy Yeager

Ben E. Benjamin, Ph.D., is a consultant, coach, writer, and entrepreneur who has taught communication skills for more than thirty years.  He is a certified Senior SAVI Trainer and much of his recent communication workshops and writings focus on teaching the principles of SAVI.

Amy Yeager is a writer and editor.  She is also a certified Senior SAVI Trainer who has designed and led communications trainings for organizations.  In addition, she offers personal coaching programs and online seminars.

Can This Conversation Be Saved?

Communication breakdowns are bad news for our lives and work.  They can be a source of irritation and frustration, and in some cases they can threaten our jobs, families, and friendships.  Cardoza asked questions about the common factors in all communication breakdowns – from family crisis to electoral debates.  He wanted to know how we can go about improving our conversations.

The guests pointed out that the first thing we need to get clear about is exactly what’s going wrong. We can’t solve a problem if we don’t know what’s causing it. Unfortunately, when it comes to communication problems, the cause is often tricky to spot. When a conversation fails, it’s easy to blame difficult personalities, motivations, or emotional states or to blame touchy issues and irreconcilable differences, but all communication breakdowns can be explained in terms of the specific combinations of words and voice tones people are using.  The book teaches how to recognize the six patterns of behaviors that most frequently cause breakdowns in communication—“yes-buts,” “mind-reads,” “negative predictions,” “leading suggestions,” “complaints,” and “attacks.”

The discussion also covered communication training, including the latest research in neuropsychology for rewiring the brain through learning a new set of strategies.  An intensive training program helps master communication skills and transforms challenging conversations.

What Is SAVI?

Toward the close of the show, Cardoza asked about the communication system known as SAVI  (the System for Analyzing Verbal Interaction) whose concepts and skills featured in “Conversation Transformation.”   Yeager described how the system originated in research on why some classrooms functioned well while others were more challenging.  SAVI provides a systematic, objective analysis of what makes conversations succeed or fail.


To get the answers to questions about improving communication habits and applying the principles of SAVI, go to  If you want to hear more powerful interviews on how to bring more love and happiness to your family, go to our archives of shows at

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