The birth of incommunicability as an expressive and empathic block

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Consulting Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for qualified Publishers wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab. If you are interested in publishing or Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

Recognizing and blocking cognitive stiffening

The problem of incommunicability has social origins. In the full development of their expressiveness, children and adolescents learn that to be honest, problems arise, and that dedicating time to others is a waste of resources. Stereotypes are born, pre-packaged rules, fluid mental schemes become rigid and are consolidated in the form of beliefs and dogmas. While formal educational systems support the importance of expressiveness and communication, real educational behaviors instead teach exactly the opposite: to close oneself, to defend oneself, not to let go, to be suspicious, not to make people understand how one feels “otherwise take advantage “.

Companies also teach this (basic rule of “do not trust”) handed down from the experience of the “elderly” of the company to young people. In fact, it happens that in the reality of the company, the honesty of others is absolutely not to be taken for granted, not even the intentions, and a permanent alert condition is created, a climate of suspicion that permeates every start of a relationship and every negotiation. This climate has solid foundations in reality and is not a mere construction.

However, this condition of “alert” must become a conscious tactical choice and not a constant state fixed a priori, an “immovable cast” or cognitive block that prevents a confrontation. Only from an open confrontation and from real behavioral tests it will be possible to understand if the other party has serious intentions or is reliable. Many managers, on the other hand, are in an irremovable plaster of a condition of closure and rigidity (cognitive stiffening) and this prevents them from negotiating effectively. Little by little, the blocking of external expressions becomes the inability to recognize what is happening inside. At the best of his listening and expression abilities, the child knows how to express himself with his whole body, he knows how to externalize, he understands moods even without the need for words.

Having become an adult and a manager, this child transforms – after years of corporate life – into a mummified monolith, selfish, closed, centered only on himself, now unable to understand relational dynamics, sometimes even elementary and banal. We note this in a purchase negotiation, when a buyer cannot understand the difference between buying a “piece of goods” or “finding a serious partner”, a supplier of professionalism even before “pieces”. The reality is full of people who cannot explain their need (if you buy) or their value (if you sell). In these conditions, the plastered monolith finds himself doing business, negotiating, having to communicate, express himself, sometimes he even has to understand others (difficult task) and listen (almost impossible task), and he can’t. As we can easily imagine, he will have problems, and the companies he works for will have problems too.

And if he is also a mother or a father, he will also bring these difficulties within the family, handing down a trans-generational psychic discomfort towards his children. There is therefore a meta-goal for each person and group: the unblocking of cognitive rigidity. It is essential to work to recognize one’s own stereotypes and beliefs (or, as we will address in the volume on advanced techniques, one’s “cognitive prototypes”), to act actively to understand them, to identify one’s own states of incommunicability, to commit oneself to eliminate or reduce it, not to wait until communication improves passively or “by a miracle”, but commit yourself personally, as an absolute priority.

Principle 3 – Breaking of incommunicability as a meta-objective Successful communication depends on:

  • from the awareness of the intercultural dimension of communication;
  • the degree of commitment and awareness of both members of communication to reduce the negative effects of incommunicability.

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for any Publisher wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab whose rights are already sold and published. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or in Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

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