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Conversation Transformation

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Conversation Transformation

Recognize and Overcome the 6 Most Destructive Communication Patterns


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

Often, it’s not what you say but how you say it that makes all the difference.

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Breakdowns in communication affect your personal and professional lives. Communication professionals Ben E. Benjamin, Amy Yeager and Anita Simon identify six major behavioral patterns that undermine constructive conversations: “yes-buts, mind-reads, negative predictions, leading questions, complaints and attacks.” Each chapter of their insightful manual contains valuable advice, as well as exercises to help you avoid falling into these patterns. getAbstract recommends the authors’ methods to anyone seeking better communication skills in any setting and in any field, and to everyone in business – from the receptionist to the CEO.


Communication Breakdowns

Failure to communicate leads to conflict and damaged relationships. Often, people blame each other or the subject under discussion for such communication breakdowns. But no matter with whom you’re trying to speak or what you’re trying to discuss, behavior is the true culprit behind these failures. You have to learn how to talk to people, because avoiding difficult conversations won’t make your problems disappear. You can claim that someone’s “bad attitude” or “emotional response” ruined your conversation, or you can improve how you communicate by learning how to undo your own negative patterns. What you say and how you say it affect how well your interactions work.

Wanting to change is not enough. Back up your intentions with action. Use “awareness, action and practice” to understand and recognize your communication patterns and rethink how you speak. Six common patterns cause most communication problems:

1. “Yes-Buts”

Yes-but phrases lead to problems because they send mixed messages and create conflict. Many people use a yes-but to soften a negative comment, but listeners hear only the second half of the statement – the phrase...

About the Authors

Anita Simon co-developed the System for Analyzing Verbal Interaction, called SAVI. Ben E. Benjamin and Amy Yeager are certified senior SAVI trainers.

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    G. A. 8 years ago
    Provides the basis on how to communicate effectively. Good summary. It would be great to include in the summary the SAVY framework or model for good and bad practices.
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    K. H. 1 decade ago
    I think this is a good summary and one that will interest anyone wanting a reminder about communicating effectively.