Status and Status Anxiety (Part 1)

© 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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Today’s topic is about status, which is difficult to achieve, but even more difficult to maintain. This feeling of uncertainty related to these difficulties in negotiation gives rise to status anxiety, which can negatively affect the outcome of a meeting.

Here are some definitions that Alain De Botton (2004) provides with respect to status anxiety. 

Status 

– The position of a person in society; the word derives from the supine statum of the Latin verb stare. 

 – Strictly speaking, the term refers to the legal or professional position that a person has within a group, for example to his marital status (married) or to his rank (lieutenant). In a broad sense, it indicates the value and importance that this person assumes in the eyes of others: and this is the meaning that interests us most. 

– In the transition from one society to another, the categories that possess greater social prestige change … from 1776 until today (vague but indicative term…) status has been increasingly associated with economic success. 

– The effects of a high social position are gratifying; we have money, freedom, space, time, comfort, and, last, but not least, the feeling of being loved and esteemed when others invite and flatter us, laugh at our jokes (even those without humor) and show us deference and consideration. 

– For many people a high social position represents one of the most coveted assets, even if there are only a few that would be willing to openly confess it. 

Status anxiety 

– The fear – sometimes so nagging as to compromise entire existential phases – of not corresponding to the models of success proposed by society and, consequently, of losing all dignity and respect; The suffering induced by the fear of occupying very low rank in the social scale or of being downgraded. 

– This anxiety is caused by various factors such as periods of economic recession, redundancy, promotions, retirement, conversations with colleagues in the same sector; but also, by successful people who attract the interest of the press or by friends who have had better luck than us. It is often associated with feelings of envy, even if it is usually not confessedand can lead to unpleasant social consequences; therefore, the signs of this inner drama are scarcely evident and are generally limited to the thoughtful gaze, the stunted smile and the unwarranted silence with which we welcome news of other people’s successes. 

– If the place we occupy in the social ladder makes us feel concerned, it means that the consideration we have of ourselves largely depends on the idea that others have of us. Unlike a few exceptional characters, such as Socrates or Jesus, we need to know that the world respects us to be able to accept ourselves. 

– The fact that the status, already difficult to conquer, is even more difficult to maintain over the course of a lifetime is very unfortunate. If we exclude those societies in which status is established at birth – for example for reasons of noble descent – one’s status usually depends on what one manages to achieve in life. Moreover, there are many possible causes of failure, such as the lack of self-knowledge, macroeconomic factors and others’ cruelty. 

– Moreover, this failure originates humiliationdevastating awareness of not being able to convince the world of our worthwhich condemns us, on one hand, to consider with bitterness those who are successful, and, on the other hand, to be ashamed of ourselves. 

Thesis 

– Status anxiety can generate suffering. 

– The desire to reach a higher status can have, like all desires, its usefulness: it can lead us to value our talents, to improve ourselves, to avoid extravagant and harmful behaviours and to favour social aggregation based on a common system of values. But, like all desires, if exasperated, it can kill. 

– Understanding this anxious condition and talking about it can be the most effective therapeutic approach. 

Therefore, we should not be surprised if in a negotiation both sides try to assert their status and suffer from status anxiety. However, we must ask ourselves which mechanisms are useful for negotiation, and which ones are destructive. We must ask ourselves – and know how to recognize – others’ mechanisms of climbing to status and conquering power in negotiation, and the defensive counter-moves. We must consciously avoid making status anxiety predominate and strive to seek a negotiating solution that is useful for both parties. 

The main questions of intercultural negotiation are therefore: 

  • Starting from my interlocutor’s culture point of view, what are the avoidable statements that can hit his/her status? 
  • How can I re-balance the situation when my interlocutor puts himself in a superior position
  • How can I produce a positive image of myself and my company, without giving the feeling of superiority, consequently unleashing resentments and vengeful mechanisms? 
  • How does my interlocutor’s culture evaluate status; what confers status in that culture? 
  • How much of the negotiation time should you dedicate to negotiate status and how much should you dedicate to evaluate the topics for discussion? 
  • Besides the mutual acquaintance phase, when do status issues arise in the negotiation? While negotiating conditions? While fixing prices or logistics? in legal practices? Or in contract statements? 

To be continued…

"Intercultural Negotiation" by Daniele Trevisani

© 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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  • Status
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Dr. Daniele Trevisani, Operational Communication and Negotiation Coach, Trainer and Consultant

Web sites

Skype: dr.daniele.trevisani

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/danieletrevisani

Languages

  1. Italian (trains in Italian)
  2. English (trains in English)
  3. French (trains in French with minimal local assistance)
  4. Spanish (trains in Spanish with minimal local assistance)
  5. German (trains in German with minimal local assistance)

Profile

Daniele Trevisani, Fulbright Scholar, born in 1965, has 30+ years of direct experience as Educator, Communication Trainer and Professor, Human Resources Expert, Human Factor Analyst, Researcher, Consultant and International Trainer, Trainer in Communication and Negotiation, and Special Coach for Commanders Communications, Leaders and Teams.

His expertise encompasses all the fields of Effective Public Speaking, Listening and Speaking Skills, Human Resources and Human Factor, including Interpersonal Communication, Effective Communication, Communication Skills Development, Motivation, Team Building, Talent Management, Coaching and Counseling for Personal Development. For his International and Holistic expertise, he has also become a selected Trainer & Coach for United Nations Blue Helmets  and strategic negotiation training.

He is a researcher and coach for Intercultural Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Perception Skills, Semiotics (Analysis of Communication), including Mental Training for Communication & Performance.

His status of Fulbright Scholar was achieved for his studies on effective communication and international/intercultural communication research, producing a model (The “4 Distance Model”) nowadays used as training method for special training projects in business and social fields. He obtained the Fulbright Scholarship Award in 1990 (USA Government Fulbright Commission). Under the Fulbright Program he attended Fulbright courses in Intercultural and International Communication at the American University of Washington D.C and obtained the Master of Arts in Mass Communication (with “Academic Distinction”) at the University of Florida (USA) in 1992.

As a Senior trainer and Coach, he holds a distinctive ability in enthusiastically and creatively combining and merging several training approaches, multiple disciplines, from psychology to strategic management and communication skills, with a focus on generating action and change, increasing awareness and focusing.

Beyond front line training and coaching, he is active in the production of new models and concepts in the field of strategic communication, psychology and human potential, providing published contributions to frontier research areas in communication and management sciences.

Training programs have been conducted  in

  • Psyops (Psychological Operations), Humint (Human Intelligence), Info-ops (Information Operations)
  • Train-the-Trainers programs,
  • Intercultural Team Building
  • Train-the-Mentor Programs for UN Forces.
  • Full-immersion experiential courses on “Phenomenology of Communication” and “Methodology of Intercultural Communication and Negotiation”, “Key Leader Engagement”, “Local Leader Engagement”, and several other topics, using experiential training.

Writer of several books in psychology of marketing, communication, human potential and HR, he combines a strong academic background with practical business experience, focus on contribution, and passion for active training.

His Academic Study Curriculum includes.

  • Training in Communication, Drama and Theatre (University of Hull, UK), with European Union study grant obtained for high academic achievements.
  • Professional Master in International Marketing (IFOA Institute, Italy), 1200 training hours in residential full-immersion Program (equivalent to MBA degree).
  • La Sorbonne University (Paris), summer course in Philosophy and French Culture and Civilization (with European Union Study Grant)
  • University of Utrecht, personal research project on Intercultural Communication, with European Union Study Grant
  • Laurea Degree (equivalent to BA+Master of Arts) in DAMS – Performing Arts and Communication Science (University of Bologna, Italy), 5 years program, Graduation With Honors (110/110 “Cum Laude”), and advanced research thesis on Intercultural and International Communication
  • Fulbright Training Program in Intercultural Communication and International Communication (American University of Washington DC, USA)
  • Achieved the Master of Arts in Mass Communication (Master in Communication) at the University of Florida, USA), obtaining the “Graduation with Distinction”.
  • Summer School Specialization in Psychology and Psychometrics (Italian Association of Psychology and University of Bologna and Padua, Italy).
  • Master Diploma in “Coaching. Bodily and Relational Approaches” by UP STEP (STEP Popular University, Ferrara)
  • Achievement of the Degree of Counselor (5 years study program and teaching, at UP STEP (STEP Popular University, Ferrara).
  • Achievement of the degree of “Professor of Communication & Counseling Supervisor” (7 years overall program of study and teaching = PhD equivalent) at UP STEP (STEP Popular University, Ferrara), including 4 years’ experience as Counseling and Coaching educator specialized in Communication. Obtained Dec 29th 2019. Thesis: “Holistic Communication Processes: The 4 Distances Model of Communication and the modeling of Relational Distance”

Current activities range between:

  • Top-Level Education, Coaching and Training in Communication and related areas
  • Business Coaching (one-to-one) and Business Coaching for Business Teams
  • Mental Coaching for Communication, Negotiation and Leadership
  • Training in Intercultural Negotiation and Communication
  • Project management of training programs
  • Research on specific areas of:
    • Semiotics and change,
    • Active Training Techniques, with focus on cross-disciplinary integration
    • Human Potential Research, applied to personal development, management and team performance
    • Coaching and consulting for CEO and senior management level
  • Analysis and improvement of performance and communication of individuals and crews working and in extreme environments and intercultural environments
  • Human Factor and Performance (athletes, managers, educators)

Other professional interests include:

  • Intercultural Communication Theories and Practices
  • Negotiation and Influence
  • Persuasion Research
  • Culture and Leadership
  • Management Methods
  • Active Training Methods
  • Appraising Competencies
  • Effective Communication
  • Presentation Skills & Public Speaking
  • Negotiation Skills with Active Training Methods
  • Communication and Persuasion
  • Psychology of Motivation
  • Team Development, Building Engagement and Motivation
  • Coaching for High Performance Teams
  • Human Factor
  • Human Potential
  • Team Effectiveness
  • Marketing Semiotics
  • Information and communication technologies

Special fields of training

Intercultural Communication Areas

  • Intercultural Teamwork
  • Intercultural Team Leadership
  • Cross-Cultural Training
  • Intercultural Key Leader Engagement
  • Local Leader Engagement in Intercultural Environments
  • Intercultural Team working
  • Intercultural Communication Management
  • Diversity Analysis
  • Team Building for International Organizations
  • Intercultural Management and Project Management
  • Cross Cultural Communication Campaigns,
  • Crisis Management in Intercultural Environments
  • Cross-cultural analysis

Special areas in Human Factor

  • Human Potential, Human Factor in Organizations,
  • Crew Management in Challenging Environments and Intercultural Environments
  • Human Performance & Intergroup Communications
  • Optimal Functioning when Working Under Pressure
  • Personal Development Models

Further Areas

  • EBO (Effects Based Operations)
  • Psyops – Psychological Operations & Persuasive Communication
  • Humint (Human Intelligence)
  • Information Management and Information-based operations
  • Problem Solving Skills and Psychology
  • Management Areas
  • Team and Organizational Development
  • Team Building
  • Change Management
  • People Management
  • Strategy & Leadership
  • Personal Coaching for Management Development
  • Marketing and Psychology of Marketing
  • Relationship Management
  • Sales & Strategic Selling
  • Information Management & Communication Technology
  • Train-the-Trainers programs
  • Psychology and Crisis-Communication
  • Local Leader Engagement
  • Key Leader Engagement

Special Research Areas

  • Holistic Communication (integrating Semiotics, Verbal & Nonverbal communication)
  • Holistic Personal Development Programs
  • Human Performance
  • Barriers to Effective Interpersonal Communication
  • Personal Resources Assessment
  • Psyops – Psychological Operations
  • Mental Training and Mental Readiness for Negotiation
  • Intercultural Communication in Negotiation
  • Intercultural Negotiation Skills
  • Communication Skills Training
  • Phenomenology of Communication (analysis of communication from a holistic standpoint)
  • Key Leader Engagement
  • Local Leader Engagement
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Advanced Listening Skills
  • Effective Intercultural Public Speaking
  • Preparation of complex role-playing
  • Train-the-Trainers courses in Intercultural Communication and Negotiation
  • Observation and Enhanced Perception Skills
  • Communications in Crisis Management
  • Team Communications: Coordination, Information Flows and Cooperation
  • Leadership and Communication
  • Mental Training for Communication and Relationship Tasks

Special Areas in Psyops and Info-Ops Training

  • Psychological Operations Planning using Semiotic Models
  • Change Management Modeling and Focusing: the X-Y Change Model
  • Mission Success, Mission Analysis and Focusing

Details of Published Books (Italian titles translated)

Corporate, Personal and Organizational CompetitivenessTools for the Development and Creation of Value.Franco Angeli Publisher, Milan, 2000. 224 pagesMarketing & Communication PsychologyBuyer’s Drives, Persuasion Tools, New Strategies for Communication and Management. Franco Angeli Publisher, Milan, 2001. 256 pages.Buying Behavior & Strategic CommunicationFrom the Analysis of Consumer Behavior to Communication Management.Franco Angeli Publisher, Milan, 2003. 288 pages.
Intercultural Negotiation: Communication beyond cultural barriersFrom internal Relations to International Negotiations.Franco Angeli Publisher, Milan. 2005. 172 pages.The Direction of ChangeIntegrated Approaches in Human Resources, Organizational Development and Coaching.Franco Angeli Publisher, Milan. 2007. 240 pages.Human PotentialMethods for Training, Coaching and Performance Development.Franco Angeli Publisher, Milan. 2009. 240 pages.
Strategic SellingPsychology and Communication in Consultative Selling and Complex Sales.Franco Angeli Publisher, Milan. 2011.280 pages.Personal Energy. A Map to Empower Mental EnergiesFranco Angeli Publisher, Milan, 2013. 100 pages.Team Leadership and Operational CommunicationPrinciples and Practices for Continuous Individual and Team Improvement.Franco Angeli Publisher, Milan, 2016. 244 pages.
Communication & Marketing Strategies.A 12 steps Method for Persuasive Communication Campaigns.Franco Angeli Publisher, 2017.  123 pages.Psychology of freedom.Unleashing People’s PotentialMediterranee Publisher, 2018. 261 pages.Active Listening and Empathy.The Secrets of Effective CommunicationFranco Angeli Publisher, 2019. 196 pages.
Let’s be clear.The Four Distances Model for Effective and Constructive Communication.Gribaudo-Feltrinelli Publisher, 2019. 250 pag.Sales Direction & Leadership.How to Coordinate and Train Salespeople to Create an Effective Team.Franco Angeli Publisher, 2020. 126 pages.The Soul Box.From Ancient Wisdom to Human Potential Research.Medialab Research Publishing, upcoming.90 pages.
Semiotics for Leaders.The Exa-Leadership Model for Leadership and Human Potential Development.Medialab Research Publishing, upcoming.197 pages.Communication for Leadership.Coaching Leadership Skills.Medialab Research Publishing, upcoming.213 pages.The Change Directors(Russian Edition, 2008)Akvilon Publishing, Kiev. 286 pages.

Companies whose managers participated to dr. Daniele Trevisani’s Training and Educational Events include:

  • Siemens Healthcare, Intel Corporation (Germany Division), UN (United Nations), Carnival Corporation (Costa Cruises), National Institute of Nuclear Phisics (INFN), Italian Institute of Metrology (INRIM), Area Science Park (Sincrotrone), Ricoh Europe, Frost & Sullivan (London), LRA (Learning Resources Associates, Reed Business Group London), Barilla, Coop Italia, IIR (Institute of International Research, Milano), Arch-Chemicals, Panini Modena, Fedon, Zhermack, Roche, Johnson Wax, Sanofi Synthelabo Otc, Abb Sace Spa, Esseco, Fip, Banca Carige, Volksbank, Chiesi Farmaceutici, Enel, Centrum Pensplan, Solvay-Benvic, Solvin, Vinyloop, Digital, IBM, FS, Alitalia, Società Autostrade, Deutsche Bank, Banca Di Roma, Merloni, Nobel Biocare, Hewlett Packard, Ajilon Gruppo Adecco, Dade Behring, Marazzi Ceramiche, A.M.A., Arag, Bcs, Bell, Bondioli e Pavesi, Caffini, Cbm, Cnh Italia, Comer Industries, Dana Italia, Demac, Falc, Gallignani, Gamberini, Gnk Waltersheid Gmbh, Goldoni, Grillo, Honda, Italtractor Itm, Kuhn Italia, Landini, Laverda, Malesani, Mutti, Negrisolo Costruzioni, O.M.B, O.R.M.A, Peruzzo, Rinieri, Roc, S.A.E., Same Deutz Fahr Group, Sgariboldi, Sicma, Sider Man, Slam, Storti International, Tecnoagri, Tifone, Trelleborg Wheel System, Ceres, Normann Copenhagen, GLS Logistics, Norfolkline, Gasa, Uffefrank, Eise, Publicitas, DMA, Scavangegt, Tulip Food, Eise Gug, Ambu, SagaFood, Holger Christiansen, Blue Water Shipping, Danish Crown, Atahotels, ETF, Rulli Rulmeca, Polar Seafood, Pharma Nord, Syddansk Universitet, Bang & Olufsen, IFOA (Istituto di Alta Formazione per Operatori Aziendali), Zeuna Starker P.I Industria Attrezzature Elettroniche, Petroltecnica, Electra, Associazione Industriali Reggio Emilia, Associazione Industriali Rimini, Assopiastrelle, Royal Consulate of Danmark (Milano), Associazione Industriali Modena, Enetworks, ADM Associati.
  • Cooperatives: Coop National School, Coop Italia, Coop Adriatica, Coop Tirreno, Unicoop Firenze, Coop Estense, Novacoop, Coop Emilia-Veneto, Coop Toscana-Lazio, SAIT, DICO. Coop Nordest. Aziende Cooperative in altri settori: Lega Coop Ravenna, Coop Zerocento, Coop Atlantide, Cesvip (Centro di Sviluppo Manageriale).
  • Industrial Associations: Confindustria, Lions Club, Rotary, Ass. Albergatori, Confcommercio, CNA, Ascom, Casse Rurali, ANDAF National Association of CFO and Administrative Directors.
  • Foreign Consulting represented in Italy: Commax Consulting AG (Munich), Frost & Sullivan Training Division (London), Akvilon (Kiev), Pareto UK (Wilmslow, UK).
  • Research on Communication has been conducted on behalf of the European Union in top-companies including: Ferrari Cars, Ducati Motor, Giglio, Barilla, System Ceramics, Guaber, Sacmi, Maserati, Cognetex, Apofruit, Enichem, Castelli, Baltur, IMA, Centro Computer, Lamborghini, Panini.
  • As expert in communication and management, he has been involved by the European Commission in several Development projects in Eastern Europe, including Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic and Russia. Some of his books are currently translated in Russian and Romanian Languages, with ongoing translation projects also in English, Arabic, and Spanish.

 

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Personal Image Management and Superiority-Inferiority Conflict

© 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 

__________

In this article I will examine 2 important topics of intercultural negotiation communication: the first concerns the personal image management, while the second one is related to the superiority-inferiority conflict.

In every negotiation comparing respective statuses becomes inevitable. However, statuses are considered intra-cultural and not cross-cultural elements. We cannot assume that a person belonging to an “other” culture recognizes a status that comes from an unknown system.

Let’s observe this real dialogue between two colleagues at a restaurant, the first is Italian and the second one is American.

US negotiator: “In America my family is in the upper-middle class, we have a thousand square meter apartment in New York, but my neighbours built a mezzanine, doubling the airspace, if business goes well next season I can enter the upper class, and build a mezzanine too. My children have two PlayStations each, and I’m giving them a good education: for each hour of study I multiply x 2 their possibility of using the PlayStation, so if they study an hour I let them use the PlayStation for 2 hours, if they study 15 minutes I let them use it for only half an hour, timed.”

Italian’s response: “But do you listen to your children or do you time them?” (unspoken thought: you can also have a mezzanine of a square kilometre, but for me you are always an asshole)

We are not interested here in discussing who is wrong and if someone is wrong, but it is clear that the American interlocutor is exposing a particular image of himself. He is expressing a “face” and he is indirectly exposing which are the status rules he believes in, and his convictions on the most appropriate pedagogical methods. For this person having a mezzanine and two PlayStations is an indicator of status. It is also clear that the Italian interlocutor does not accept these rules and that he measures personal value differently.

A more or less conscious management of one’s “social face” is part of every negotiation. However, on an intercultural level, sending out unconscious messages and producing damages during negotiations can be very easy.

Principle 20 – Managing one’s own status and the interlocutor’s status; “face” games and intercultural impressions management

The success of intercultural negotiation depends on:

  • the ability to create an adequate status perception within the interlocutor’s judgment system;
  • the ability to create positive impressions (identity management and impression management);
  • the ability to acquire status and “face” without resorting to undue attack mechanisms, that can damage others’ “faces” (“face” aggression or personal image reduction, absolute avoidance of top-down approaches);

Alain de Botton reports this passage which shows us how even at the highest diplomatic and negotiating levels one can be very ignorant of what transversal messages are being emitted and of the degree of damage that can be produced by knowingly or not knowingly placing oneself in a top-down position.

In July 1959, US Vice President Richard Nixon went to Moscow to inaugurate an exhibition dedicated to his country’s technological and material innovations. The main attraction was a life-size copy of the house of the average worker, with carpet, TV in the living room, two bathrooms, central heating and a kitchen equipped with a washing machine, a dryer and a refrigerator.

During various press services, the Soviet press, somewhat irritated, declared that no American worker could have lived in such a luxurious house – ironically named “Taj Mahal” by Soviets – and defined it a means of propaganda.

Khrushchev maintained a rather sceptical attitude when he accompanied Nixon to the exhibition. As he observed the kitchen of the house in question, the Soviet leader pointed to an electric juicer and said that no sane person would ever think of buying certain “stupid items”. “Anything that can help a woman doing her work is useful,” Nixon replied. “We do not consider women as workers, as you do in the capitalist system,” Khrushchev retorted angrily.

Later that evening, Nixon was invited to give a speech at the Soviet television and used the occasion to illustrate the benefits of the American way of life. Cunningly, he did not begin to speak of democracy and human rights, but of money and material progress. He explained that, thanks to entrepreneurship and industrial activity, in a few centuries Western countries had managed to overcome poverty and famine, which were widespread until the mid-eighteenth century and still present in many areas of the world. Americans owned fifty-six million televisions and one hundred and fifty-three million radios according to what Nixon reported to Soviet viewers, many of whom did not even have a private bathroom or a kettle for making tea. About thirty-one million Americans lived in their own home, and an average family was able to buy nine clothes and fourteen pairs of shoes a year. In the United States, you could buy a house by choosing from a thousand different architectural styles, and o certain houses were often larger than a television studio. At that point Khrushchev, sitting next to Nixon and increasingly irritated, clenched his fists and exclaimed “Net, Net! “, while apparently adding in an undertone ” Eb ’tvoju babusku” (Go fuck your grandmother).

What clearly emerges from this passage is the (perhaps) unwitting offense to poverty that Nixon transfers to Russian people, placing himself in a top-down position, superior position vs. lower position.

For too many times, negotiators do not realize that they are performing an “abuse of dominant position” (displaying excessive superiority that damages others) or practicing a “presumption of dominance” (thinking of oneself in superior terms).

Communication reveals self- conceptions and relationship conceptions even though the participants do not want to reveal them.

Let’s see another example and observe some passages of this email:

Dr Trevisani

Two colleagues and I are close to retirement and after an intense activity as top managers in various multinationals we decided to create an external company. I ask you to be our consultant and to provide us with your valuable advices to help us build a successful company. Do your best to check if you can come to advise us in Turin. Anyway, send me a commercial offer because I must show it to my partners for approval. Please send me also your CV. I will present it to my two partners, so as to persuade them to approve your advice. This consultancy intervention must be done within January 2005.

Thank you in advance for your help.

signature

This message intercultural problem is of psycholinguistic type and it concerns the use of the imperative and the enormous quantity of presuppositions present.

Let’s look at some implicit assumptions linked to this message:

  1. some people believe that a commercial offer can be made without having analysed the problem and the necessary intervention times;
  2. Others think that the recipient will send his CV to someone he/she does not know, without being informed on how and for what purposes this CV will be used (it takes only a few seconds to write a writing a reason on an email, but the real motives can be different);
  3. There is also the assumption that the customer can dictate times and that it is the recipient, and not the writer, who must make the trip;
  4. It is taken for granted that the recipient wants to work for the sender and that he approves intentions and projects.

The apparently courteous message reveals a culture that is not exactly courteous.

In the Italian culture being in the “buyer” position is a strength and working for years in a multinational company makes the buyer acquire a strongest attitude of strength and superiority.

The sender actually expresses an aggressive multinational culture, which is based on the belief that a multinational can “rule the world”, a way of being consequently absorbed by its managerial education. However, the Italian culture is not unique, and we cannot think that the prototype of the multinational’s dominance over a consultant, or of a buyer over a possible seller, is accepted by everyone.

The ALM method culture believes that there must be a certain degree of values commonality ​​for a project to start.

We must always consider that our culture is not automatically the culture of others. The right strategy is therefore to avoid putting the counterpart in conditions of presumed inferiority or to assign automatic superiority.

"Intercultural Negotiation" by Daniele Trevisani

© 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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Areas and Expected Results in the Negotiator’s Communication Training

© 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 

__________

In the following article I would like to conclude the topic of negotiation communication training, by listing, in a more detailed way, the interpersonal communicative abilities, explaining the importance of culture shock and self-awareness acquisition.

  • Code Switching: the negotiator must manage the change of communication codes (linguistic code and non-verbal code), in order to adapt to the interlocutor. Making your interlocutor understand you requires an active effort of adaptation, a willingness to change your repertoire and to get closer to other people. Whoever imposes a one-way adaptation effort on the interlocutor (one-way adaptation) and does not think about others understanding him/her, automatically creates barriers to communication.
  • Topic Shifting: the change of subject. The negotiator must understand which techniques need to be adopted to slip from unproductive conversations, to get away from dangerous or useless topics, to avoid touching critical points of other cultures, creating offense, resentment or stiffening. These skills – like other abilities – are useful in every communicative context, such as in a communication between friends, colleagues, companies, as well as in diplomatic communication.
  • Turn Taking: conversational turns management. There are certain cultures that accept others to interfere in their speech, and others in which the respect for speaking turns is essential. Turn taking includes conversational turns management skills, turn taking abilities, turn defence skills, turn transfer abilities, the capability of open and close conversational lines, etc. All these techniques need to be refined for both intra- and inter-cultural communication.
  • Self-monitoring: the ability to self-analyse, to understand how we are communicating (which style we are using), to recognize internal emotional states, one’s own tiredness, or frustration, or joy, expectation or disgust, knowing how to recognize those inner emotions that animate us during conversation or negotiation.
  • Others-monitoring: the ability to analyse and decode the inner emotional states of our interlocutors, to recognize his/her state of fatigue, energy, euphoria, dejection, etc., to know how to perceive the participants mutual influences, to grasp the power relations in the counterpart groups and to understand the degree of interest in our proposals and the right moment for closing.
  • Empathy: the ability to understand others’ points of view, from within their value systems and cultural contexts and to understand the value of their communicative moves based on the culture that generates them.
  • Linguistic Competence: the ability to use language, choice of words and repertoires, showing a deep knowledge of the language.
  • Paralinguistic Competence: the ability to use and strategically manage the non-verbal elements of speech, such as tones, pauses, silences, etc.
  • Kinesic Competence: the ability to communicate through body movements (body language). Movements management can be one of the strongest traps in intercultural communication, where some cultures – such as the Italian one – normally use broad body movements and gesticulations, while others – such as oriental cultures- use a greater demeanour, while retaining their body expressions.
  • Proxemic Competence: the ability to communicate through space and personal distances management. For example, Latin and Arab cultures accept and consider closer interpersonal distances normal, while northern European cultures don’t.
  • Socio-environmental Decoding Competence: the ability to interpret and understand “what is happening here” in relation to what is taking place during the conversation or the interaction. The negotiator must know how to recognize a conflict within the members of the counterpart group (intra-group conflict) and how to grasp the different positions, the trajectories of approach and relaxation, the different roles assumed and the moves of the interlocutors.

Both intra-cultural and intercultural negotiators need to be prepared for Reality Shock (or culture shock). Reality Shock can arise from the sudden realization that:

  1. others don’t follow our rules;
  2. others have different background values;
  3. others don’t have the same goals as we do;
  4. others do not behave like us, or even like we want them to behave;
  5. some negotiators are in bad faith and dishonest: they do not seek a win-win approach, but only a personal advantage;
  6. even with the greatest amount of goodwill, some negotiations escape comprehensibility and observable behaviours do not fit into rational logic.

The difference between an experienced negotiator and an apprentice negotiator is the degree of damage that reality shock does: low or zero for the expert, devastating for the apprentice.

The clash with reality can cause a shock, which can be followed by:

  1. a positive process, reached thanks to the analysis of diversity, the acceptance of what can be accepted (without running into the extremes of radical unconditional acceptance), that leads the negotiator to improve his/her own cultural knowledge; or…
  2. a negative process, caused by a fall of the emotional state, a rejection of reality that leads the negotiator to take refuge in his/her own cultural arena. The result, in this case, is often a withdrawal.

In order to activate a positive process of growth, and not a negative process of involution, it is necessary to work on our self-awareness (“Knowing how to Be”) of negotiation, through:

  • Cognitive Learning & Knowledge Acquisition: learning the contents that characterize the culture with which we want to interact.
  • Cognitive Restructuring: transforming our perception of the communicative act itself from an anxiogenic element to a source of positive energy. This practice requires the identification of negative self-statements (e.g.: “it will definitely go wrong”, “I am unsuitable”, “I will not succeed”, etc.), that must be replaced by positive self-statements, (e.g.: “let’s see if we have the right conditions for doing business”,” let’s go and compare our mutual positions without fear”, or even” let’s help the customer understand how we think”). The analysis of self-statements therefore consists in working on how we “enter” the negotiation, on what animates us.
  •  Behavioural Learning & Communication Skills Acquisition: learning the skills necessary to “perform” or achieve a specific behavioural or communicative goal, by using dramaturgical and expressive techniques and relational dynamics.
  • Emotional Control Skills: developing some necessary emotions management skills, with which one can direct his/her own emotional energies in positive directions, recognize and remove negotiation stress, “recharge his/her batteries” and manage personal times, in order to take part in a negotiation in optimal psychophysical conditions.
"Intercultural Negotiation" by Daniele Trevisani

© 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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China’s Cultural Diversity

Article written by Ginevra Bighini, www.interculturalnegotiation.wordpress.com; mentoring by Dr. Daniele Trevisani, www.studiotrevisani.com

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Today I would like to talk about the cultural differences that can be found in the Chinese area, starting with a brief explanation of China’s History.

China is one of the biggest countries of the world and the most populated one. Understanding its history is very important to understand the global development, because some of the most decisive discoveries and inventions took place precisely in this area (e.g.: paper, printing, gunpowder, compass, etc.)

One of the most important elements of Chinese history is the Dynasties.  Emperors and Empresses from the same bloodline ruled China from 150 BCE to 1911 CE. When a dynasty was overthrown, a new one would take its place or China would be divided into different states.  These Dynasties were held together by one of the most influential ideas of though, known as Confucianism. (1)

Confucianism was developed in China by Master Kong in 551-479 BC, who was given the name Confucius by Jesuit missionaries who were visiting there. However, the fundamental principles of Confucianism began before his birth, during the Zhou Dynasty.

At that time, the ideas of respect and the well-being of others were prevalent, but there was also an emphasis on spiritual matters – specifically, the goodness of the divine and the mandate to rule given to those in power. These ideas were meant to unite the people, create stability and prevent rebellion.

Confucius believed his philosophy was also a route toward a civil society. However, he shifted attention away from ruling authorities, the divine or one’s future after death, focusing instead on the importance of daily life and human interactions. This new, refined version of the philosophy did not completely take root until the next dynasty, the Han (140-87 BC). The foundation of Confucianism is an appreciation for one’s character and the well-being of others. 

This doctrine has a complete system of moral, social, political, and religious thought, and has had a large influence on the history of Chinese civilization. (2)

In 1911, China overthrew the Qing Dynasty to form a democracy, however in 1916 the government fell apart.  This caused a great chaos leading to China being divided up into several smaller states.  Eventually, two major parties tried to reunify them: the Nationalist party, that sought for democracy, and the Communist party lead by Mao Zedong, that took control of the country after the 1949 revolution.

Mao Zedong lead multiple cultural and industrial revolutions with varying degrees of success, turning this country into a mix of Communism and Capitalism. (3)

Even though it recently got reunited, china’s cultural differences still live. Due to the many barbaric invasions that got different ethnic groups mixed up, to the different geographical features that can be found in this vast land, to constant political and economic divisions and reunifications, etc. China possesses an incredible variety of cultures.

For example China legally recognizes 56 distinct ethnic groups and 292 living languages. All these languages could communicate thanks to Chinese characters, that could be well understood all over the country.

Concerning religion, the government of the People’s Republic of China officially espouses state atheism, but over the millennia, Chinese civilization has been influenced by various religious movements, such as Taoism and Buddhism, that were combined with the doctrine of Confucianism.

Diversity can be found also in Chinese cusine. In China we have the “Eight Major Cuisines”, including Sichuan, Cantonese, Jiangsu, Shandong, Fujian, Hunan, Anhui, and Zhejiang cuisines. All of them are featured by the precise skills of shaping, heating, colorway and flavoring. Generally, China’s staple food is rice in the south, wheat-based breads and noodles in the north. Furthermore, southern cuisine, due to the area’s proximity to the ocean and milder climate, has a wide variety of seafood and vegetables, that the northern cusine do not possess. (4)

There are many other cultural differences that can be mentioned, but there is not enough space to list them all.

So, to conclude, China is an example that cultural differences do not exist only among different countries, but also inside one country. To negotiate effectively, we must be aware that even our closest neighbour, culturally speaking, can be the exact opposite of us, even though we both share the same place of origin.

Chinese Regions

(1) http://goayc.org/blog/2018/5/17/a-brief-overview-of-chinese-history

(2) https://study.com/academy/lesson/confucianism-definition-beliefs-history.html

(3) http://goayc.org/blog/2018/5/17/a-brief-overview-of-chinese-history

(4) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China

Article written by Ginevra Bighini, www.interculturalnegotiation.wordpress.com; mentoring by Dr. Daniele Trevisani, www.studiotrevisani.com

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Communication Training and Communication Skills

© 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 

__________

In the following article I will go on explaining the basic features of the ALM business method, listing the most important communication training techniques and communication skills that every negotiator would acquire with it.

Communication trainings and simulations are essential to help us move from theory to practice. In the communication training of the ALM method: 

  1. We use an active training, paying particular attention to experiential assimilation and to active participation; moments of conceptual and theoretical reflection are useless if not concretely experienced. 
  1. the theory is connected to personal cognitive schemes: we aim to introduce new concepts and skills and to modify the underlying belief systems. A pure academic expression of concepts may not be enough to make people change; 
  1. There is a transition from cognitive schemes to behavioural and linguistic schemes: each of us must be ready to use concepts, beliefs and attitudes, by activating them without resorting to memory, thus avoiding long cognitive elaborations. Just as the footballer does not need to think about how the femur moves to shot a penalty kick, the negotiator must develop communicative automatisms connected to an inner communicative know-how. 

The success of communication is therefore positively related to: 

  • the available communicative repertoire: behavioural and communicative responses wideness and variety, stylistic repertoires wideness and variety; 
  • the degree of “readiness” (easy accessibility) with which communication skills and relational moves can be used. This way, they become motor and linguistic schemes ready for activation and not mere mental traces to be reworked when necessary. 

The final aim of this method is to obtain a high level of preparation on communication, which can help the negotiator to be ready to negotiate during most of the negotiation situations that may arise. 

Communication training is divided into two areas: 

  • transversal competence: the basic area (ground-level) where the main skills necessary in each negotiation are examined, and 
  • situational competence, in which individual contexts necessities and specific interlocutors’ needs are analysed. 

 The success of intercultural communication depends on two types of communication skills: 

  • The first is transversal to cultures and consists of general rules of effective communication that apply in any cultural context and it represents the basic communicative competence (ground-level expertise); 
  • The second one is more specific and regards the cultural and situational target. In fact, there is an analysis of cultural traits and communicative strategies are based on the culture with which one must interact. 

The main interpersonal communication skills covered (ground-level expertise) are: 

  • code switching: ability to change codes, linguistic styles and linguistic registers; 
  • topic shifting: ability to manage a change of topic and a conversation re-centering; 
  • turn taking: ability to manage conversational turns; 
  • self-monitoring: ability to self-analyse; 
  • others-monitoring: ability to analyse and decode one’s interlocutor’s phases; 
  • empathy: ability to understand others’ point of view and to see the world from within their value system; 
  • verbal linguistic competence: ability to use language, choosing words and repertoires correctly; 
  • paralinguistic competence: ability to use the non-verbal elements of speech, pauses, tones, accents, underlining, emphasis; 
  • kinesics competence: ability to communicate through body movements (body language); 
  • proxemic competence: ability to communicate through space management and personal distances; 
  • socio-environmental competence: ability to interpret and understand “what is happening here”, in relation to the frames that come to life in the interaction. 

In order to work on these skills, it is necessary to apply active training techniques. A special publication of the ALM method is dedicated to this topic. 

Active training techniques mainly use actions, experimentations and behavioural researches, including elements such as: 

  • role playing; 
  • breathing techniques and voice use; 
  • techniques used for unlocking conversational repertoires; 
  • stage space use and body language; 
  • simulations and business games; 
  • theatrical and negotiating improvisation; 
  • analysis of the dramatic structure of the text, analysis of critical incidents and psychodramas; 
  • character building and relationship games. 

To be continued…

"Intercultural Negotiation" by Daniele Trevisani

© 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 

__________

For further information see:

TAGS:

  • ALM business method
  • active training
  • awareness of one’s role in negotiation
  • Best coach in intercultural communication in the world
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  • personal cognitive schemes
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  • transversal competence
  • situational competence
  • code switching
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  • turn taking
  • self-monitoring
  • others-monitoring
  • empathy
  • verbal linguistic competence
  • paralinguistic competence
  • kinesics competence
  • proxemic competence
  • socio-environmental competence

The Intercultural Negotiators’ Training: an Intruduction to the ALM Business Method

© 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 

__________

To be able to negotiate effectively, knowing how to sell is not enough: it is necessary to develop transversal skills that favour the fluidity of communication and help us to avoid cultural barriers getting in our way. To do this we must undertake a path of deep personal training, without limiting ourselves to a superficial linguistic and cultural knowledge. So, let’s learn about one of the most effective training methods, the ALM method.

The ALM negotiation approach is characterized by: 

  1. action line flexibility, non-stereotyped negotiating strategy, creative strategy; 
  1. the negotiator’s strong emotional awareness; 
  1. the presence of strong negotiation preparation, communication training and simulation; 
  1. a holistic approach that pays attention to: 
  • a general knowledge, 
  • the know-how, but especially 
  • the negotiator’s knowledge of his/her role as a negotiator. 

This approach favours the negotiator’s/communicator’s growth, especially on the human level. 

Rather than identifying a single negotiating strategy, the ALM method invites us to ask ourselves which are the available “constellations of strategies” – using Tinsley’s term – and which of them may be more profitable. 

The ALM approach also invites us to always take into consideration the fact that misunderstandings may occur, leading us to conflicts, and to examine the inferred meaning of negotiation arguments, without automatically taking it for granted. 

The ALM method basically proposes an open, transparent and direct line of communication. However, we must remember that this method of communication cannot be applied automatically, because it cannot be considered a standard even in Western societies, where clarity and immediacy are apparently promoted (as in American society), and even less so in Eastern societies, where excessively explicit statements can lead to offenses and conflicts. 

For this reason, the intercultural negotiator must be aware of the “stress or shock “that comes from direct communication. He/she must also learn how to alleviate it, in case one decides to go for an open communication, such as for a constructive criticism or even for new communicative ways, that can be unusual for the other party.  

In this case, we are referring to the psychological pact between negotiators, in which both interlocutors, even before entering the negotiation, try to establish their own methods of communication, while sharing some negotiating rules. 

The success of intercultural negotiation therefore depends on: 

  • the ability to establish common rules, that must be followed during negotiation;  
  • the rules application consistency; 
  • the ability to change the rules when they are not practicable or effective. 

On an intercultural level, it is important to work on communication skills, and on the basic attitude of intercultural awareness. 

Working on our skills means increasing our awareness of communication tools, by understanding how to use them effectively. Working on attitudes means eliminating cultural rigidities, recognizing stereotypes and one-way approaches, knowing how to maintain a flexible and open mind, which allows us to move with awareness during a negotiation and in international contexts. 

To be continued…

"Intercultural Negotiation" by Daniele Trevisani

© 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 

__________

For further information see:

TAGS:

  • ALM business method
  • applying communication rules with consistency
  • awareness of one’s role in negotiation
  • Best coach in intercultural communication in the world
  • Best coach in intercultural facilitation in the world
  • Best coach in intercultural negotiation in the world
  • Best Intercultural communication book
  • Best world consultant in intercultural communication
  • Best world consultant in intercultural negotiation
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  • Best world expert in intercultural negotiation
  • Best world trainer in intercultural communication
  • Best world trainer in intercultural negotiation
  • Best Intercultural negotiation book
  • book on intercultural communication
  • book on intercultural negotiation communication
  • communication difficulties
  • communication skills
  • Communication techniques intercultural communication
  • Communication techniques intercultural negotiation
  • communication training
  • conversational skills
  • creative strategies
  • cross cultural communication
  • cross cultural misunderstanding
  • cross-cultural adaptation
  • cultural systems
  • dialogue between companies
  • different cultural approach
  • different cultural context
  • direct communication shock
  • direct line of communication
  • disagreements
  • Effective intercultural negotiation techniques
  • face-to-face communication
  • front-line communication
  • general knowledge
  • high-context cultures
  • How cultural differences affect negotiations?
  • How does culture influence negotiation?
  • intercultural communication
  • intercultural communication book
  • Intercultural communication books
  • Intercultural Communication Coaching
  • intercultural communication pdf
  • Intercultural Communication Trainers
  • Intercultural Communication Training
  • Intercultural conversation management techniques
  • Intercultural Negotiation
  • Intercultural negotiation books
  • Intercultural Negotiation Coach
  • Intercultural Negotiation Coaching
  • Intercultural Negotiation Communication
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  • Intercultural Negotiation Consulting
  • Intercultural Negotiation Counselling
  • intercultural negotiation definition
  • Intercultural negotiation exercises
  • Intercultural Negotiation in International Business
  • Intercultural Negotiation Mentoring
  • intercultural negotiation PDF
  • Intercultural Negotiation Process
  • Intercultural Negotiation Strategies
  • Intercultural Negotiation Timing
  • intercultural negotiation training
  • intercultural training
  • Intercultural Training Consultants
  • know-how
  • low-context cultures
  • misunderstandings
  • negotiating rules
  • negotiation preparation
  • negotiator’s emotional awareness
  • negotiator’s growth
  • open communication
  • psychological pact
  • simulation
  • transparent communication
  • What are the 5 stages of negotiation?
  • What is effective intercultural negotiation?
  • What is intercultural negotiation?
  • working on attitudes
  • working on skills
  • World’s most famous expert in intercultural communication
  • World’s most famous expert in intercultural negotiation