Active listening exercise and analysis of the interlocutor’s interest

Article translated by dott. Tommaso Pasqualini, CIELS Advanced Degree in Strategic Communication (“Laurea Magistrale in Comunicazione Strategica”), extracted with the author’s permission from the book “Intercultural Negotiation. Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers” (original title: “Negoziazione interculturale. Comunicare oltre le barriere culturali. Dalle relazioni interne sino alle trattative internazionali”), written by Daniele Trevisani, published by Franco Angeli, Milan.

Once again, these attitudes are valuable and determine the quality of the listening phase, but they should not be confused with the objectives of the entire negotiation (which includes both listening and proposing phases).

In a negotiation, it is possible (and is in fact one of the strategic objectives) to modify what others think (cognitive and persuasive restructuring) or how others feel (emotional action), but this objective will be pursued only and exclusively if the negotiator has first succeeded in establishing active listening, activating the empathy necessary to understand the framework in which he is moving.

Active listening exercise and analysis of the interlocutor’s interest

The following exercise aims to sensitize the participant to explore the reactions of others to persuasive proposals or negotiation options.

The theoretical concept used is that of latitude of acceptance: the attitudinal position of the subject that emerges when a specific proposal referring to a product, an idea or a persuasive activity is made. In the words of Trevisani (2002)

Among the individuals present within a target or heterogeneous sample of companies, there are varieties and differentiations regarding the nature of pre-existing attitude. Within a large population, the distribution of pre-existing attitudes often takes the form of a normal curve (Gaussian curve, in statistical terms), which sees the presence of an area of strongly positive individuals, a mass of “uncertain” or individuals who hold weak attitudes, and an area of individuals with negative attitudes. It is therefore necessary for the salesperson to understand this scenario of pre-existing attitudes, as he will have to deal with this scenario.

The term “attitude” in Anglo-Saxon psychological and marketing terminology corresponds to the Italian equivalent of “atteggiamento” (attitude). With a little linguistic translation, we will use this term to define the concept of “attitudinal segmentation”, understood as the stratification of the market according to pre-existing attitudes.

Our technique identifies five macro-groups, differentiated in terms of latent attitudes toward the product:

Group A: open and willing subjects who have strongly positive attitudes; the beliefs held are all positive and relevant.

Group B: subjects have weak or moderate positive attitudes. These subjects can be placed in B even when positive beliefs (prevalent) are combined with negative beliefs (minority). Group C: subjects who do not have a clear orientation, due to unavailability of previous experience or difficulty in evaluating, or lack of knowledge on the matter;

Article translated by dott. Tommaso Pasqualini, CIELS Advanced Degree in Strategic Communication (“Laurea Magistrale in Comunicazione Strategica”), extracted with the author’s permission from the book “Intercultural Negotiation. Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers” (original title: “Negoziazione interculturale. Comunicare oltre le barriere culturali. Dalle relazioni interne sino alle trattative internazionali”), written by Daniele Trevisani, published by Franco Angeli, Milan.

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CIELS Institutional Website: https://www.ciels.it/

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