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CIL Communication Workshop

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Introduction to SAVI®

Have you had a conversation that, despite your best intentions, it seemed to suddenly go wrong? Are you curious about what happens? Do you want better ideas about how to turn those conversations around? Or prevent them happening in the first place?

When conversations go badly, it’s not just uncomfortable. It’s also unproductive. Learning suffers. Problems remain unresolved, from the simple (where to go for dinner?), to the complex (what can we do to respond to climate change?). Collaboration and coordination go down as frustration goes up.

This workshop is for anyone who wants better, more satisfying conversations – in the classroom, in group meetings, with your family and friends.



  • How communication works
  • What contributes to the successful transfer of information from one person to another, and what gets in the way
  • What are some common patterns and repetitive unproductive loops that come up in everyday discussions and how to work with them
  • Specific strategies you can use to contribute to more effective conversations
  • Why these strategies work, so they can be adapted to fit your needs

Through discussion and practice you will have the opportunity to connect these ideas to typical conversations you have, to see how the ideas play out in your day-to-day world and what types of breakdowns are most common, and explore what can be done to improve information flow and problem-solving.

The workshop introduces SAVI®, which maps communication behaviors that contribute noise, and those that build clarity. SAVI® was originally developed as an observation tool for research on groups (including classrooms and work groups), and has been used for over 30 years to reduce conflict and increase collaboration.  


  • Thursday March 24, 6:00-9:00pm (Snacks provided)
  • Friday March 25, 4:30-8:00pm (Dinner provided)
  • Saturday March 26, 10:00am-5:00pm (Light breakfast and lunch provided) 

**limited to 36 students**

Facilitator Bios:

Alida Zweidler-McKay ‘92 has worked as a consultant and coach since 1996, helping individuals and teams clarify goals, build skills, improve communications and strengthen working relationships. Her goal is to help people have better lives at work. At Swarthmore she studied Sociology/Anthropology with a concentration in Women’s Studies. She has an MBA in Finance and Organizational Change from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She currently lives in Houston, TX.

Frances Carter, is a SAVI Master Trainer. Fran has been working with SAVI, and its developers, Yvonne Agazarian and Anita Simon, since 1981 leading SAVI® workshops and using SAVI® as a tool for research about group and organizational dynamics. She is one of the developers and senior trainers in the SAVI Certification Program.  Fran is a License Social Worker with a clinical and consulting practice working with individuals, couples, groups and organizations. She is also a founding member of the Systems-Centered Training and Research Institute, and a senior trainer, leading workshops, ongoing training and consultation groups and intensive training blocks throughout the US and Europe. She brings to all her work the energy and creativity of her early background as an artist.