Communication, negotiation and seduction

© 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 any other language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com or www.danieletrevisani.it 

Negotiating requires the ability to seduce.

A seduction not at all sexual, but in fact comparable to courtship: the proposal must contain “appeal“, must respond to the impulses and needs of the interlocutor. A forced proposal is not negotiation in the strict sense but imposition. A poorly digested condition, moreover, lends itself much more to being refused a posteriori, disregarded, or not applied.

For thousands of years, theorists of each discipline have encouraged people to adapt their art to the different situations in which they will have to operate, recognizing the need to calibrate the strategy towards the interlocutor, creating a communication centered on the recipients. Aristotle, in Rhetoric, deals with public seduction and persuasion. He invites the politician to dynamically use ethos (credibility), logos (dialectical art) and pathos (ability to arouse emotions), centering the audience in being more intimate than him.

There is a seduction component in every negotiation In the Kamasutra of Vatsyayana – a classic Indian treatise on seduction – a sequence of different types of bite is listed, designed to cause pleasure: the hidden bite, the swollen bite, the point, the line of points, the coral and the jewel, the of jewels, the unbroken cloud, and finally the bite of the wild boar. The good seducer will have to adapt the type of bite to the situation. Western managers often use the “boar bite” (whatever action it is) a priori, perhaps receiving sound slaps in response, where perhaps the “hidden bite” would have given the desired effects. We are using a joking metaphor to express a message that is nevertheless strong: the communication strategy must take into account the cultural traits of the counterpart.

Let’s see an example of a micro-conversation between the Italian area manager and a possible Russian importer:

Area Manager: What guarantees can you give us?

Importer: What guarantees do you need?

Area Manager: Well, you need to learn how to sell our products, however don’t worry because we will give you courses, if you can’t pay them we discount them from commissions.

The Russian interlocutor perceives a latent message (“you are incapable”, “you are poor”, “you need”) linked to the course offer. The sentence touches the interlocutor’s entire cultic system, stirs a wounded “Russian pride” and the memories of suffering of an entire people. The Italian area manager has been able to destroy the corporate ethos in a few moves (giving the image of a company completely unprepared to negotiate with foreign interlocutors), using a dialectic based on “a priori” conflict (humiliate them), thus arousing emotions of revenge and revenge (at a minimum) in the interlocutor. A strategy of total ineffectiveness, based on wrong assumptions.

The offer of a course, presented in this way, does not create added value and aims solely at the disqualification of the interlocutor. Both Aristotle and Vatsyayana would have rejected this area manager. In this micro-negotiation there have been several “judgment biases” or errors of judgment, and neither of them have achieved any results. As research on the accuracy of intercultural assessments shows, the error of judgment (misunderstanding who you are dealing with, or badly decoding a message) – an error already present at an intra-cultural level – is enhanced by cultural distances, and it is one of the most destructive factors in negotiation.

To overcome the judgment biases it is necessary to take action, to prepare. Intercultural communication requires commitment, at the level of:

  • understanding of the cultural system with which one interacts;
  • knowledge of the underlying values ​​and beliefs of the interlocutor;
  • social identification: what status does the interlocutor have in his membership system;
  • methods of non-verbal communication;
  • analysis and resolution of conflicts. Every intercultural negotiator should have strong expertise on these matters in their curriculum.

Principle 9 – Training in intercultural communication

The success of negotiation communication depends on:

  • from the depth of communication training;
  • the ability to put into practice communicative skills of trans-cultural value;
  • the ability to identify communicative characteristics and specific cultural traits of the interlocutor to pay attention to.

© 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 any other language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

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