Communication Barriers, Psychological Distances, Misunderstanding and Disagreement – T2V model (Trevisani 2 Variabili)

© 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 

Language Barriers and Cultural Barriers

One of the first discoveries of those who venture outside their own cultural contexts is that the behavioral rules that work in their own culture prove to be fragile and not very productive when transposed into a foreign context. Let’s see some short examples:  In your home: for a while you have wanted to discuss a topic with a family member, but every time you try it, the person escapes.

What is happening?

  • In your country: a customer would like to buy (a project, a product) but you know that the purchase is underpowered, the problem he would like to solve is big and the budget is not enough to give him a real result, how do you manage to make it understood?
  • Beijing. 9.30 am, Sheraton Hotel. The client company’s delegation has not yet arrived, the appointment was at 9.15 am. Can we interpret it as a tactical move, or a real delay? Did they want to delay, or did something happen?
  • Moscow. We offer the counterpart the exclusivity of our product on Soviet territory, the additional benefit of training the staff of their entire sales network, but the counterpart is offended and closes the negotiations. What happened?
  • Buenos Aires. The negotiations to access the contracts of the ministry of industry are endless, incomprehensible, obscure. How to behave?
  • Jerusalem. Representatives of the Jewish, Catholic and Muslim cults, ministers and political representatives meet to negotiate a possible peace, you are called to lead the debate, how to avoid a conflict?
  • Budapest. The plant management fails to break down production defects, any attempt to intervene in depth is in vain. What to do? In each example situation exposed, we are faced with the problem of intercultural negotiation. The intercultural negotiation capacity is in the hands of those who are most skilled in managing communication in the field, applying cultural awareness (power of awareness) in every single contact.

But let’s see some other situations.

  • Bologna, beginning of the third millennium: a nine-year-old boy no longer wants to go to the football school he has been attending for two years, he prefers to play with his friends on the pitch, and he doesn’t want to hear more about football and league school. Why?
  • Munich: a 30-year-old husband, freelance, argues with his wife (same age) because he wants to have children only when they have a solid economic base, while his wife wants to have them soon. What’s up?
  • Your home: you wake up in the morning and you know you had a dream that hit you but you can’t remember the details. What happened?
  • In your office or company: with a colleague you have not been able to understand each other for a long time, you seem to speak two different languages, the more you try and the more you do not understand each other, you begin to be really tired of the situation. What is actually happening? In all these cases the intercultural dimension enters – at various stages.

A common denominator unites all these cases: language barriers are nothing compared to the different vision of the world that people bring with them, and to the differences that exist between themselves and others, despite appearances. We do not want to reveal or propose easy or immediate solutions for all these different cases (at most, we can propose hypotheses), but we want to give only a clue on the case that is certainly more strange and difficult to frame as intercultural communication: the memory of a dream.

Well, as various researches in the field show, even the dialogue within the same person (interior dialogue) takes on features of intercultural dialogue. When different states of consciousness have difficulty in communicating with each other, eg: the rational state of wakefulness versus the unconscious and subconscious state of sleep, internal incommunicability occurs.

These states are dominated by extremely different logics, and they manage to find moments of commonality only on rare occasions (such as in border states, of semi-sleep, the moments in which neither of them manages to dominate the other). Even on an inner level, therefore, we find symptoms of a condition of intercultural dialogue. Comparison exercise and search for alternative explanations. Attempt, in small groups, to give answers to the questions posed by the cases highlighted above.

Try to highlight

  • alternative hypotheses or alternative explanations;
  • the different hypotheses on the ground;
  • think about the probabilities that our explanations are really the causes of the investigated phenomena;
  • search for one’s own evaluative rigidity, the hypotheses that start from stereotypes or unverified beliefs.
Intercultural Negotiation Arab Edition

© 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:

intercultural negotiation working communication

Consonances and Dissonances Between Linguistic and Non-Verbal Styles

© 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 

Negative Non-Verbal Signals from the Interlocutor (Tension, Disinterest)

Non-verbal communication can reinforce the verbal message or be dissonant with it. Listening carefully and nodding can signal interest much more than just a verbal statement. Saying “I am interested” with words and expressing boredom or disgust with body actions produces a dissonant signal and creates suspicion or irritation. The coherence (matching) between words and actions:

  • increases the perceived honesty of the subject;
  • denotes trustworthiness;
  • shows interest;
  • shows that we are in control of the situation;
  • produces a sense of security and solidity of the contents.
    On the contrary, the incongruity:
  • creates a sense of distrust;
  • generates feelings of lack of authenticity;
  • produces doubts and suspicions of falsehood on the verbal contents heard.

Each linguistic style (on an interpersonal level) is associated with a precise modulation of the non-verbal style. We can in fact have:

  • situations of communicative reinforcement (the non-verbal style reinforces the verbal style);
  • situations of dissonance or inconsistency between verbal and non-verbal: non-verbal communication proceeds on a different register than verbal communication).

The dissonances concern every semiotic system, every sign carrying possible meanings. A company that declares itself important and does not have a website, or has an amateur site, expresses an image dissonance, just as a negotiator forgets to bring essential tools with him (catalogs, calculators, and any other necessary and expected tool ).

Non-verbal signals may indicate that the interlocutor is following the dialogue with a positive or negative attitude. Negative reactions in general are denoted by:

  • angulations of the body: shoulders retracted, distancing;
  • face: tense, shows anger;
  • voice: negative tone, sudden silences;
  • hands: movements of refusal or disapproval, tense movements;
  • arms: straight, crossed on the chest;
  • legs: crossed or moving away at an angle.

Exercises of consonance and dissonance between verbal styles and non-verbal communication styles. Initiate a dialogue on a random theme (e.g. where it is more pleasant to take holidays) and express – only through body postures – the following meanings:

  • I can’t stand you, you give me physical annoyance;
  • you are nice;  my head is elsewhere, I find it hard to follow you, I am distracted;
  • I have doubts about your honesty.
    Second phase of the exercise. Let’s now modulate the styles, introducing some variations:
  • verbal expression: saying “I can’t stand you, you give me physical annoyance”, with non-verbal reinforcement (eg: grinding your teeth, clenching your fists);
  • verbal expression: “I can’t stand you, you give me physical annoyance”, with non-verbal dissonance (eg: smiling amiably).
    Following the scheme shown:
  • Verbal expression: “you are nice”, with non-verbal reinforcement;
  • verbal expression: “you are nice”, with dissonance in the non-verbal;
  • verbal expression “I have my head elsewhere, I find it difficult to follow you, I am distracted”, with non-verbal reinforcement;
  • verbal expression “I have my head elsewhere, I find it hard to follow you, I am distracted”, with non-verbal dissonance;
  • verbal expression “I have doubts about your honesty”, with non-verbal reinforcement;
  • verbal expression “I have doubts about your honesty”, with dissonance in the non-verbal.
Intercultural Negotiation Arab Edition

© 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: