Empatic Listening and Communication

Ascolto attivo ed empatia. I segreti di una comunicazione efficace

Article translated by dott. ssa Eleonora Brusamento Spinelli, CIELS Advanced Degree in Strategic Communication (“Laurea Magistrale in Comunicazione Strategica”), extracted with the author’s permission from the book “Active Listening and Empathy. The Secrets for Effective Communication” (original title: “Ascolto attivo ed empatia. I segreti di una comunicazione efficace“, Franco Angeli Edizioni, 2019”), written by Daniele Trevisani, published by Franco Angeli, Milan.

Picture. 2 – Types of empathy in the ALM method

Copyright Model Daniele Trevisani http://www.danieletrevisani.it

1.1.             Positive and destructive elements of empathy

It is astonishing how elements that seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens, how confusions that seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams when one is heard.

Carl Rogers

Empathy is either destroyed or fostered by specific communicative behaviours and attitudes.

Fostering empathyDestroying empathy
Curiosity, passion, motivation to listenDisinterest, listening for duty; lack of motivation
Real listening participation, without fictionPretending a listening role only for professional duty
Acting as a “discoverer”, like a truffle or gemstones hunter. Let’s see what’s going to happen today!Bureaucratic plastered approach. Even today, not today, another meeting, that is so boring
Re-formulation of contents
Recap – re-capitulate “histories” and “topics”
Judgement on contents, comments Endless flow without the security to understand the topic or the sense of the conversation
Plural approaches to question (open, close, clarifying, focusing, and generalizing questions) Flexible questions related to the variation of a session or its contextMonotonous questions, statical questions, questions that are too anchored to a dogmatic scheme or school
Focus on emotional experience, emotional listeningExclusive focus on facts
Verbal or non-verbal signals of attention, “phatic” signals (contact signals) es, yeah, well, ok, I see your point…Body language expressing disinterest, apathy, boredom, or desire to be somewhere else…
Paralinguistic signals of attention, encouragement to express oneself, “phatic” signals (signals expressing participation and attention)Poor evidence of interest and concern to the flow of thought. Lack or scarcity of ‘phatic’ signals and mental contact.

“Empathy between people is like water in the desert: you rarely encounter it, but when you do, it calms you down and regenerates you.”

Emanuela Breda

1.4 “Being there” in relationship: separating listening from “expression” activities and generating the “empathic flow”.

Few delights can equal the presence of one whom we trust utterly.

 (George MacDonald)

In empathy, ‘being there’ is important. To ‘be there’, it is essential not to confuse between listening and expression. Listening communication, and the quality of listening, includes the need to perform a clear separation on a mental level, the activities of paying attention to the communication of others, understanding it (incoming communication) from the activities of expressing our messages (outgoing communication).

We are referring to a ‘flow’, an empathic one, a two-way flow between two people during an empathic communication. There is something magical about this kind of flow sometimes. To be clear, the content of this flow in terms of words, sentences, facial expressions and any other ‘communicative content’ is expressed by the speaker, but the listener expresses an equally powerful, even more powerful flow, the flow of attention and mental presence. Two opening flows of acceptance, which create a unique and special moment of human sharing. If you happen to hear yourself say “I have never felt as much understanding as in this conversation, thank you very much” you probably performed a high empathy rate.

Picture 9 – Separation of the expression flow from empathic flow

When we know how to separate these two flows properly, first on a mental level, then on a physical and behavioural level, we will know how to give presence, avoiding intruding on the empathic flow with inappropriate communications. When it is ‘our turn’, we will always be empathic, ‘connected’ and relevant.

People also leave presence in a place even when they are no longer there.

(Andy Goldsworthy)

1.5 Ten rules to quality empathic listening. Ten rules always to apply.

Most quarrels amplify a misunderstanding.

 (Andre Gide)

During the listening phases necessarily:

  1. do not interrupt while other persons are talking;
  2. do not judge them prematurely; do not express judgements that could block their expressive flow;
  3. summarize what you understood (so, if I understood well, it happened that…), re-formulate critical points (ok, he doesn’t answer to the phone, and you feel really bad, I see), to paraphrase (so, as I understood, is it…?)
  4. do not get distracted, do not think about anything else, do nothing else but listening (except for taking notes if necessary), use your thoughts to listen, do not wander;
  5. do not correct the other person while he/she is stating something, even when you disagree, keep listening;
  6. do not try to overpower her/him;
  7. do not try to dominate her/him;
  8. do not try to teach or impart truths; restrain the temptation to interfere with the expression flow and correct something assumed as incorrect;
  9. do not speak about ourselves;
  10. show interest and participation through verbal signals and body language;

Particularly interesting attitudes may be:

  • genuine interest and curiosity towards the other: the desire to know and explore another one’s mind; activating human and professional curiosity;
  • inner silence: creating a state of emotional stillness (free from negative emotions and prejudices), in order to listen and respect the other person’s rhythms;
  • mentally preparing oneself for the ‘whole’: being able to support even ‘heavy’ psychic material (fears, traumas, dramas, personal tragedies, dreams, disturbed states of mind) that the other person expresses, or when they emerge in the process, being able to explore them while keeping the ‘focus’ on mental and emotional balance and not overwhelmed by what is being heard (technique of Controlled Emotional Distancing – CED).

It is remarkable quoting Carl Rogers, psychologist, and founder of Counseling, the person that most of all has influenced the same concept of empathy:

“Our first reaction to most of the statements which we hear from other people is an immediate evaluation, or judgment, rather than an understanding of it. When someone expresses some feeling or attitude or belief, our tendency is, almost immediately, to feel “That’s right”; or “That’s stupid”; “That’s abnormal”; “That’s unreasonable”; “That’s incorrect”; “That’s not nice”. I believe this is because understanding is risky. If I let myself really understand another person, I might be changed by that understanding.”

Carl Rogers

“What the statement means to him” is the true meaning of any empathy operation, understanding the emotional connection, the motive seen from within. It is a technique. Then it matters little whether that technique is applied to a criminal to understand their next gestures and moves, or to a person suffering from anxiety, or to help a young person find his way in the future, a sportsman wins his next race, or a team in which we are trying to produce the state of ‘flow for maximum performance.

Active Listening and Empathy

Article translated by dott. ssa Eleonora Brusamento Spinelli, CIELS Advanced Degree in Strategic Communication (“Laurea Magistrale in Comunicazione Strategica”), extracted with the author’s permission from the book “Active Listening and Empathy. The Secrets for Effective Communication” (original title: “Ascolto attivo ed empatia. I segreti di una comunicazione efficace, Franco Angeli Edizioni, 2019”), written by Daniele Trevisani, published by Franco Angeli, Milan.

Fonte:

-Dott. Trevisani D., Ascolto attivo ed empatia. I segreti di una comunicazione efficace, Franco Angeli Edizioni, 2019

Other online material available in these sites:

Other available online resources

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

Intercultural Negotiations

©Article translated by dott. ssa Vazquez Federica, 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.

In negotiating persuasion “in the field,” we may find different attitudes towards the same proposal. Imagine making a presentation with persuasive intent to propose a training course to a firm. Entrepreneur A might be enthusiastic about a staff training project, while entrepreneur B might consider it a waste of time.
The first step, then, is to understand how the item (the proposal) sits along the possible latitude (from unconditional acceptance to outright rejection, with all the possible nuances in between).
Every negotiator can benefit from practicing both (1) the latitude survey, and (2) the next step, consisting of analyzing the underlying motivations that place an item (a specific proposal) along a particular point on the latitude (e.g., extreme rejection, unconditional acceptance, or acceptance with reservations, and other possibilities). Having acknowledged the position along the continuum, it is appropriate to understand the reason for that placement.
Any persuasive activity will in fact have to confront the motives that determine that position.

Roles
• Analyst: has the task of bringing out the picture
• Interviewee: must contribute to the exploration that the analyst will attempt, in a spirit of openness
Steps
• The analyst must come up with a fairly long list of products, services, and buying ideas, and note how they rank along the continuum.
• Second step: bring out the reasons for this placement, especially in reference to the most extreme positions.
• Use the following survey sheet:

Acceptance Latitude Survey Sheet
Place proposed products along the continuum, based on the respondent’s reactions to the product. Question: “would you buy a ……” (follows proposal of a product or service, even a strange or unusual one). Explore the motive underlying the evaluation and related motives.
You would purchase a: ……

I proposed:And the reaction was.Assign a score from -100 (extreme disgust) to + 100 (absolute unconditional adherence)

In-depth analysis of choices: use
• probing (did I get that right? why, what motivation leads you to.?);
• associative techniques (what do you associate with…?);
• the belief/evaluation model: have the subject say, “I believe that ………..” (subject’s belief) and “I think this is ………” (subject’s evaluation of the belief);
• For the most positive and most negative points: in-depth analysis of motivations.

©Article translated by dott. ssa Vazquez Federica, 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.

Source:

-Dott. Trevisani D., Negoziazione Interculturale – Comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali. Dalle relazioni interne sino alle trattative internazionali, Franco Angeli Edizioni, 2016.

Other online material available in these sites:
Other available online resources

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

1.1. Application of the Four Distances Model

Parliamoci Chiaro: il modello delle quattro distanze per una comunicazione efficace e costruttiva

© Article translated by dott. ssa Eleonora Brusamento Spinelli, CIELS Advanced Degree in Strategic Communication (“Laurea Magistrale in Comunicazione Strategica”), extracted with the author’s permission from the book: Parliamoci Chiaro: il modello delle quattro distanze per una comunicazione efficace e costruttiva” (Let’s Speak Clearly: the four distances model for an effective and constructive communication) , written by Daniele Trevisani, published by Franco Angeli, Milan. www.studiotrevisani.it www.danieletrevisani.it www.comunicazioneaziendale.it

The Four Distances Model (4DM) can be useful:

  • for family communications;
  • for couple dynamics, between husband and wife, between life partners;
  • to improve helping relationships such as coaching, counseling, therapy, teaching, training;
  • in leadership and team direction;
  • to work on human relationships in challenging and confined environments such as work groups operating in extreme or hostile environments;
  • in communication for Workplace Safety;
  • for communication, communication that occurs between
  • people of different cultures, whether ethnic, religious, regional, and any other cultural factors;
  • to examine little-explored worlds of communication such as inter-species communication;
  • for human-machine communication and human-artificial intelligence (AI) communication;
  • to venture into territories that are unknown to human beeings, such as during long-term space missions and extended travel in confined environments;
  • to anticipate near futures, such as communication criticality occurring to human challenges, such as creating peace wherever there is conflict;
  • for highly concrete industrial collaboration projects between nations and between companies from different nations;
  • to perform real research and development, able to absorbe concepts and cultures also from very different disciplines, such as engineering, material sciences, anthropology, sociology, physics, economics, psychology, statistics, and many others, creating really effective working groups even if interdisciplinary and intercultural;
  • and in a not so distant dream… to establish communicative bases with still undiscovered cultures and civilizations, that maybe one day could manifest themselves, and with which every known form of communication could be useless or not working.

This is no more science fiction, since every day hundreds of habitable planets similar to Earth are discovered. A very significant percentage of these planets is located in the “habitable zone” or “Golden Lucky Zone” of the respective solar system, not too close to its sun (with the risk of excessive temperatures that make life impossible) or too far away (with the risk of temperatures so low as to make life impossible).

This fact provides forms of possible communication and contact on which the four distances can shed light. Even without looking for distant and remote worlds, our own Earth itself is a place where people – homo sapiens with homo sapiens – do not understand each other, they kill each other apparently for nothing, and conflicts break out in a devastating way, between ethnic groups, religious groups, family conflicts, couple conflicts, between groups of opposite supportes, between nations, and between gangs in the same city, therefore recognizing and fighting incommunicability really is a fundamental mission.

“Concord begets beauty and order in things. Conversely, from perpetual strife there must arise disorder accompanied by bestial cruelty.”

Pope Leo XIII

Concerning Business field, simply as a matter of fact, there will be – if incommunicability prevails – no sales, no business, no understanding between seller and customer, no realisation of anything at all. At listening level, none of the real, strong needs of customers and consumers is understood.

The possible useful messages and important information do not pass the communication barrier and customers remain dissatisfied, or less satisfied than they could be. Products – moreover – badly designed, or worse than they could be if only there was good communication with customers, especially in the ability to listen to them and involve them in research and development (R&D).

In a family background, paradoxically, the more time spent next to a person, the more it seems to come to the fatal conclusion not to really know that person next to a stranger. Obviously, the weaker ones will pay the price, while others will think they are “putting on an emotional armour”, but this way many positive development will become impossible for the future.

The 4 Distances model can examinate this process, to helps understand that distances are not “static” but rather dynamic. Distances change, evolve, sometimes over years, sometimes in fractions of a second (especially for mood and emotional states), sometimes they “involute”, worsening as time makes us discover new things about each other and stress puts our relationship to the test, forcing us to the ropes and bringing out parts of the personality that otherwise would not come out.

“The Progress, the evolution of a race is not measured in technological or scientific terms, it is measured by the ability to understand that there are others living in this world.”

Marco Trogi

People change, evolve, their identities, values, emotions, even their bodies, are subject to change, affecting the quality of communication.

In all these situations, all we need at first is a model, something to help us orient ourselves. Even if there is no perfect model, a model or theorem always fulfils an indispensable task: to start compaing about ‘something’ rather than nothing but a blank page.

Discussing about a model is therefore always productive.

Many anthropologists and psychologists have expressed concepts that “hide” models, they explained their variables but they have never produced a real operational, graphic, visual, comprehensible scheme. An operating scheme is much better when presented in a visual form – to provide us a quicker inspiration for the analysis of incommunicability.

Why schemes? Because managers and practitioners need operational models, their professional backgrounds have accustomed us to understand them, and a schema also offers us real “labels”, words, usable concepts, comprehensible language, and the same applies to people who operate as promoters of helping relationships (educators, counsellors, therapists).

The 4 Distances model has been developed for this purpose. It was first presented by me at a scientific conference in Miami during the 9th International and Intercultural Communication Conference[1]. Since that first presentation and now, the model has undergone considerable evolution and improvement, and continues to change as new areas of research, enrichments, clarifications and comparisons with other sciences are included.

This model is sufficiently mature to be disseminated to the public, and many years of application in the field of counselling and training of UN Blue Helmets, managers, coaches and counsellors, and Special Forces and leaders, have verified its practical usefulness. It is therefore useful evolving the communication of people and managers, and for anyone who finds that good communication and collaboration is a vital necessity.

“Through the evolutionary process, those who are able to engage in social cooperation of various sorts do better in survival and reproduction.”

Robert Nozick

_________________

[1] See Trevisani, 1992, in bibliography

© Article translated by dott. ssa Eleonora Brusamento Spinelli, CIELS Advanced Degree in Strategic Communication (“Laurea Magistrale in Comunicazione Strategica”), extracted with the author’s permission from the book: Parliamoci Chiaro: il modello delle quattro distanze per una comunicazione efficace e costruttiva” (Let’s Speak Clearly: the four distances model for an effective and constructive communication) , written by Daniele Trevisani, published by Franco Angeli, Milan. www.studiotrevisani.it www.danieletrevisani.it www.comunicazioneaziendale.it

Source:

-Dott. Trevisani D., Parliamoci Chiaro: il modello delle quattro distanze per una comunicazione efficace e costruttiva, Gribaudo, 2019

For further information see:

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 

__________

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 

__________

For further information see:

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Teorie del Gioco e Leadership Conversazionale

© Articolo tradotto da: https://www.interculturalnegotiation.com/2021/02/08/game-theories-and-conversational-leadership/ su materiale pubblicato nel libro “Negoziazione Interculturale. Comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” estratto e pubblicato con il permesso dell’autore, Prof. Daniele Trevisani www.studiotrevisani.it www.danieletrevisani.it www.comunicazioneaziendale.it – Articolo redatto a cura di: dott. Federica Vazquez, CIELS Padova

ELEMENTI DI TEORIA DEI GIOCHI DI NEGOZIAZIONE

Il ruolo del leader richiede una forte attenzione ai giochi comunicativi in corso, con la consapevolezza che nelle organizzazioni e nella negoziazione i messaggi non sono prodotti per fini poetici ma soprattutto per gestire il potere. Come sottolinea Tonfoni (2000): D’altra parte, considerare il modello comunicativo all’interno della Teoria dei Giochi richiede la preventiva chiarificazione del modello stesso, oltre che degli obiettivi.

Gli attori, all’interno della teoria, come “giocatori” proprio progettando e attuando sequenze di azioni finalizzate al raggiungimento di un fine prestabilito. Questo fine è costituito dal profitto, poiché la teoria è orientata ai comportamenti di natura prevalentemente economica. Gli “attori” sono anche “comunicatori verbali“; in quanto tali, le loro azioni devono essere essenzialmente finalizzate a una previsione il più possibile esatta di sequenze di azioni e a una determinazione esplicita delle cosiddette “regole del gioco“.

Gli attori operano attraverso l’attuazione di opportune strategie, volte a raggiungere l’obiettivo o a contrastare le controstrategie attivate dagli interlocutori, o da altri individui che prendono parte al gioco comunicativo.

La leadership del negoziatore comprende la capacità di:

  • Creare offerte tematiche specifiche: lanciare argomenti non casuali sul tavolo della conversazione, per vedere qual è la reazione degli interlocutori; osservare se riprendono il tema o lo lasciano andare, e altre possibili mosse dell’interlocutore (diminuire, accentuare, aggrapparsi al tema, valorizzarlo, ignorarlo);
  • Gestire il formato conversazionale: quale clima prevale durante la negoziazione? Siamo di fronte a un formato di “interrogatorio”, di “ricerca di una soluzione”, di “confessione reciproca”, o che altro? Se durante una trattativa di vendita il venditore si accorge che l’acquirente sta adottando il formato “interrogatorio”, la leadership conversazionale prevede di segnalarlo, con frasi del tipo “questa conversazione assomiglia più a un interrogatorio che a una ricerca di soluzioni, vorremmo provare a dare al nostro incontro un taglio diverso, forse più produttivo”;
  • Riequilibrare i rapporti di potere: nella vendita, soprattutto, esiste un “non detto” in cui l’acquirente detiene il potere di negoziare. Questo potere si esercita attraverso atteggiamenti tipici di chi è al potere: controllo dei contenuti, decidere chi parla, cosa si dice e come si dice. A volte questo si traduce in arroganza immotivata. La leadership conversazionale comporta la capacità di riformulare i giochi, riequilibrare gli atteggiamenti, riportare i due negoziatori allo stesso livello, per non essere schiacciati.

Tutorial: A che gioco state giocando? Chi detiene il potere?

Vengono presentate alcune situazioni comunicative di leadership e di negoziazione, in cui il leader mette in atto un gioco strategico di comunicazione. I partecipanti devono valutare quale gioco è in corso e il suo scopo.

Alcuni giochi da simulare:

  • Rilevamento delle offerte tematiche (quali argomenti di discussione offre il conduttore);
  • Rilevamento del formato conversazionale (quale clima conversazionale cerca di impostare l’argomento);
  • Rilevamento delle relazioni di potere (chi comanda su chi).

© Articolo tradotto da: https://www.interculturalnegotiation.com/2021/02/08/game-theories-and-conversational-leadership/ su materiale pubblicato nel libro “Negoziazione Interculturale. Comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” estratto e pubblicato con il permesso dell’autore, Prof. Daniele Trevisani www.studiotrevisani.it www.danieletrevisani.it www.comunicazioneaziendale.it – Articolo redatto a cura di: dott. Federica Vazquez, CIELS Padova

Per ulteriori informazioni consulta:

The Interference of Communication in the 2V Model

© 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. 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 Website on Intercultural Negotiation

Trend and Progression of Interpersonal and Corporate Relationships in the 2V Model

Interference in communication due to code and language occurs when communicators do not have an adequately shared code, and misunderstandings occur.Wrong decodings are possible especially on ambiguous words and statements, such as “collaborate”, “implement”, “relate”, “share a goal”.

A further outcome of the different code / language is evident in the lack of clarity and precision, where one or more of the participants in the conversation use bureaucratic repertoires and / or imprecise languages.

Recognition exercise of “crawling” objectives

Create a company meeting through role-playing, in which subject 1 (who plays the role of the personnel manager) asks the sales manager (subject 2) to better “relate” to their Eastern European area manager to evaluate his performance.Subject 1 will use linguistic nuances such as “collaborate”, “implement”, “relate”, “share a goal”. In reality 1 has a precise motivational core (firing the area manager), a creeping goal, which remains in the background.Evaluate the results of the meeting between subject 1 and subject 2.

Interferences of communication due to worldview and ideology take place when communicators have different worldviews and ideologies, but this diversity acts in a latent way and without the knowledge of communicators.

The 2v model can be used to view the progress of a relationship and its degree of incommunicability.Given a distance between subjects at time 1 (t1), we can evaluate how this distance increases or decreases in terms of vision of the mode and communication code (t2) and measure the situation again at other moments of time (t3), (t4) .

We can thus reconstruct the trajectories of relationships and visualize the trends in relationships.

Hypothesis of progress of an intercultural relationship

The case shown highlights a relationship distinguished by the following times:

  • T1: the relationship starts with an average sharing of code and vision of the world;
  • T2: after an initial confrontation, the two subjects begin to reduce the linguistic communication distances, the distance due to the misunderstanding of the terms and the poorly shared vocabulary decreases, several previously incomprehensible terms are explained. However, this generates a chance to understand worldviews better than before. It turns out, therefore, that the underlying ideologies and values ​​are more different than previously thought, and therefore the distance on the ideological-value variable increases;
  • T3: After a closer confrontation on the basic values, new areas of commonality and common interests are discovered, even the common language becomes richer and more articulated in shared terms and concepts.

This curve represents a simple hypothesis, one of the many possibilities that exist in the world of relationships. In fact, it is also possible that distances and distances will increase, and ever stronger conflicts arise.

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 in Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

For further information see:

Germany – A Land of Immigration

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

__________

Today’s article will be about Germany and its immigration history, past and present. By observing what happened during the last 70 years, we will try to understand if people are really able to learn from their mistakes. 

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country at the intersection of Central and Western Europe, situated between the Baltic and North seas to the north, and the Alps to the south; covering an area of 357,022 square kilometres, with a population of over 83 million within its 16 constituent states. 

Germany is a great power with a strong economy. As a global leader in several industrial, scientific and technological sectors, it is both the world’s third-largest exporter and importer of goods. As a developed country, which ranks very high on the Human Development Index, it offers social security and a universal health care system, environmental protections, and a tuition-free university education. (1)

But what about immigration? 

In 2011, Germany had 80.3 million residents. Of those residents, 15.96 million – almost 19% of the entire population – had a migration background. 

Incessant wars, religious conflicts, famines, political grievances and a lack of prospects forced many people to leave Germany over the centuries. The land’s relative population loss was enormous. An estimated six million emigrants left Germany between 1820 and 1920. The tide of emigration only began to ebb, beginning in 1890, as the industrial era brought economic success to the German Empire. From that point on, the number of individuals immigrating to Germany surpassed the number of Germans who left. Foreign laborers found employment, above all, in the booming centres of the coal and steel industries. 

During the national socialist dictatorship the camps and the daily sight of forced laborers were simply part of everyday life for the local population.  

The years after 1945 were shaped by people in motion as well. The forced mobility of diverse groups of people (refugees, people expelled from their homes through territorial exchange and other so-called displaced persons) altered the structure of the German population, giving rise to tensions and conflicts with local residents. The number of refugees and expellees only first began to decline at the end of the 1940s. Simultaneously, the growing demand for labour soon outstripped the capacity of the labour force.  

In order to offset labour shortages, the federal government turned to a traditional model of recruiting and temporarily employing foreign workers, who took on jobs that German laborers considered unattractive. After the 1966-7 economic crisis, the immigration process decelerated until the early 1990s, when the numbers rapidly grew again and are continuing to grow even now. (2)

As a result of immigration, people with different cultures and traditions and greater religious diversity are now living together.  

Attitudes about successful coexistence in an immigration society differ significantly across generations: the younger the person, the less the wish for adaptation. While 66 percent of the population over 70 years of age express the opinion that immigrants should culturally adapt, this proportion gradually declines among younger groups, to 22 percent among respondents under 25 years of age.  (3)

There are still many prejudices and stereotypes about foreigners, but, in the end, the truth is that Germany profits from the immigrants. They boost the economy, contribute towards the welfare system and help reduce the lack of professionals. (2)

This doesn’t happen to Germany alone: immigration remains a profitable asset for all countries, even though many people haven’t understood that yet, and continue to regard this phenomenon as a destructive cancer. 

To those who think that I can only say that if you look at your family tree and go back to centuries, you will surely find that your ancestors migrated from a place to another. The fact is that we are all children of migrations and we must never forget it. 

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

__________

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany

(2) https://domid.org/en/service/essays/essay-migration-history-in-germany/

(3) https://www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de/en/our-projects/religion-monitor/projektnachrichten/how-do-germans-deal-with-cultural-diversity/

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The improvement of communication

© 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. 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 Website on Intercultural Negotiation

Intercultural Levels and the Limits of Communication

The accuracy of the information exchange can be improved by reducing the distance along the “code” dimension, which is equivalent to reducing the linguistic distance. In some cases this means learning a foreign language, a dialect or subdialect within a nation, but also learning a professional language, a non-verbal code that characterizes other cultures, proxemic gestures and modalities, cadences and paralinguistic aspects of communication.

The agreement can be improved by decreasing the degree of difference between communicators in values, myths, beliefs, attitudes and ideologies – differences that can have negative consequences in the communication process. Furthermore, as the two are highly interrelated, an increase in code understanding will increase the ability of worldview understanding, and vice versa.

The 2V model can be a useful tool for analyzing hypothetical types of communications. However, the code and worldview dimensions should not always be considered completely different or completely the same, as they vary along a continuum of differences / similarities. Intercultural levels depend on the quantity and quality of difference in the world view and in the communicative code.

On this scale of communication differences, we believe that the ends of the two continuums (the COMSITS presented) represent only hypothetical points and that no real communication event can ever be located in one of the four “pure” COMSITS. In a visual way, this concept of “gradualness” in the differences can be represented by erasing the separations between the 4 quadrants and instead inserting a rating scale.

A further relevant reflection consists in evaluating whether all the points in the table could be realistically represented by a possible communication event.

Indeed, we believe that no real communication event can be located exactly on the edges (the perimeter of the table).

The underlying hypothesis depends on four axioms of communication that we formulate below:

  • COMCOND 1) impossibility of having a completely identical communication code between two individuals;
  • COMCOND 2) impossibility of having a completely equal worldview between two individuals;
  • COMCOND 3) impossibility of having a completely different communication code between two individuals;
  • COMCOND 4) impossibility of having a completely different world view between two individuals.

Some research perspectives on communication support these hypotheses.The genetic codes that govern the biological foundations of non-verbal and paralinguistic communication are similar for every human being.Human beings, like primates, always share a certain degree of similarity and are able to encode and decode signs and signals in some circumstances (eg: physical aggression) without differences between cultures.

In general, the ability to interpret human behavior increases in situations in which cultural codes are less relevant and biological codes take over, such as situations involving survival (aggression) and other more instinctive behaviors (such as eating or sex) .

Furthermore, the research results of Eckman and Friesen (1987) revealed a high level of agreement between cultures in their interpretation of facial expressions of emotions.Saral (1972) also highlighted the transversal and cross-cultural nature of facial communication and expressions.A decrease in the relevance of the cultural code and an increase in the relevance of the instinctive code can also be observed in human-animal communication and in general in communication between species, particularly in conditions of danger.

In other words, people of different cultures or creatures belonging to different species have the ability to perceive the aggressive or non-verbal friendly behavior of a member of another culture or species, while more cultural behaviors will be less interpretable. Biological constraints also have an influence on the impossibility of having a complete difference in the world view (COMCOND 4).

Every human being shares at a basic and instinctual level the tendency to reproduce the species, the attempt not to die of hunger or cold, the protection of children, and in general the behavior of biologically evolved living beings.The evolution towards self-realization is then one of the states that most characterizes every human being, as Carl Rogers points out, and cultures and religions only establish different modalities or “variations on the theme” of this underlying tendency towards self-realization.

The pursuit of self-destruction, the deliberate pursuit of hunger and suffering for oneself and one’s children, the pursuit of non-self-realization (whatever that means for a person) are extremely anomalous and deviant characteristics of the child’s behavior. ‘human being.

Statistically these cases represent outliers, that is cases extremely out of the norm.What we have in common biologically as human beings is vastly superior to what divides us culturally. Empathy techniques (learning to understand the world view of others) and greater attention to the optimization of communication codes can make an enormous contribution to the development of intercultural communication.

The improvement of intercultural communication, in turn, generates an enormous impulse to the realization of common development projects between states, cultures and countries – projects that do not have geographical barriers and borders, but unite people towards a common tendency to personal, social self-realization. and economical.

Human behavior is determined by two types of forces: from cultural conditioning (ontogenetic, learned during growth) and from hereditary biological conditioning (phylogenetic, received from DNA), and ontogenetic (cultural) learning is always grafted onto a phylogenetic basis, which constitutes our common heritage, and no culture will ever be able to scratch, but at the most it will be able to cover, to make people forget.

At the same time, the impossibility of a completely equal code derives from the great depth and semantic variety of signs (the semantic field is the extension and range of possible meanings of a sign).The meaning attributed to the signs is not a stable or “given” element, but is the result of a symbolic agreement between individuals, that is, it is the product of socializationand interpersonal and intergroup agreements, but socialization varies continuously over time, space, and between individual and individual, group and group, and therefore the meanings of the signs also continuously vary.

The signs, and the codes, are alive, and they change. Each dyad of individuals, each group, creates its own communication code over time, attributing particular meanings to the signs used.

This happens, and often unconsciously, within companies. The error determines how much it is taken for granted that the interlocutor of the counterparty company has a shared code. This problem requires a great work of metacommunication, that communicative activity that serves to explain the meaning attributed to the signs emitted and verify the accuracy of the meaning perceived in the signs received.

As with the code, no individual, no organized group, possesses exactly the same range of values, behaviors, attitudes, worldviews, beliefs, ideological positions, over the whole range of objects and situations that become objects of communication. Recognizing diversity is the first useful tool to be able to face it.

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 in Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

For further information see:

Union Between the Two Variables for a Unified Picture of Communication Difficulties

© 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. 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 Website on Intercultural Negotiation

Characteristics of Communication Situations

By combining the two cultural variables (1) code and (2) worldview, in a matrix, we can identify four hypothetical communication situations (COMSITS). Fig. 15 – T2V matrix

SimilarCOMSIT BCOMSIT A
DifferentCOMSIT DCOMSIT C
///////////DifferentSimilar

In this matrix we can trace a large part of the communicative interactions.

6.4.5. COMSIT A: characteristics

COMSIT A is defined as “same communication code – same worldview”. The communication process is easy and without problems, since we have precision in the exchange of information and agreement on the objectives. In COMSIT A, the lack of differences in the communication code generates a high degree of accuracy and efficiency in the exchange of information, without misinterpretations, misunderstandings, misunderstandings, semantic confusions and the need for translation. At the same time, the completely equal vision of the world among communicators – the concordance of underlying orientations and values, produces convergence of goals and vision. This circumstance is, however, only hypothetical, as the differences in communication code occur to varying degrees in every human process of communication.

Conflict exercise based on the discovery of the different “view of things” Analyze in pairs at least two situations of conflict, divergence or misunderstanding with people from your family or business, from the present or from the past. In particular, analyze:

  • the theme of the conflict (what the conflict was about, what produced it);
  • our “world view” on the subject;
  • the vision of others on the subject;
  • when, how and where did a different vision of things appear;
  • what results were produced and in what times;
  • what is the status of the relationship today.

6.4.6. COMSIT B: characteristics

COMSIT B (completely different code – same world view) represents the case in which the obstacle to communication is the lack of a common communication code (common language). The problem is therefore solely linguistic, people are unable to dialogue because they lack a shared communication system. If a common code could be provided or learned, the situation would turn into ideal COMSIT A.

Exercise of alteration of communication codes

Two couples of friends / colleagues meet to decide on a holiday to be carried out in a group of four. Before the meeting, the two couples, separately, must invent five new words (to be chosen from nouns of thing, verbs, adjectives), for example, an offensive word, a word of appreciation, a word to express a discomfort, a verb to inquire, and other inventions of the group. Make the meeting happen and check how the new words interfere in understanding, and other ongoing communication dynamics.

6.4.7. COMSIT C: characteristics

COMSIT C (same code – completely different world view) represents the hypothetical case in which communication difficulties result from a lack of sharing in the world view. The elements of diversity may concern:

  • opinions;
  • attitudes;
  • beliefs;
  • values.

In COMSIT C, a common code allows the exchange of information, but the outcome of communication is initially negative, as completely different beliefs, different values, diversity in underlying attitudes, attitudes and goals, will result in a complete lack of agreement. . The outcome of the communication is therefore bankruptcy, unless one of the two parties, or both, are willing to review some positions.

Conflict exercise between different personal positions

Create a group of people, even a minimum (2 per group, but in the absence it can also be achieved by 2 individuals) who are looking for all the advantages of taking short holidays but several times a year. The group must produce a list of at least 10 (or more) arguments in favor. It will also have to produce a list of at least 10 or more arguments against taking longer vacations at one time. An opposing group will do the opposite work, looking for the arguments in favor of taking long vacations, once a year, and the arguments or disadvantages and risks of taking more broken holidays. The representatives of the 2 groups meet and have to support their positions.

Conflict exercise between different company positions on the conception of times

Create a group of people, even a minimum (2 per group, but in the absence it is also achievable by 2 individuals) who are looking for all the advantages of making fast, rapid business projects (the “rabbits”) The group must produce a list of at least 10 (or more) arguments in favor. It will also have to produce a list of at least 10 or more arguments against making projects that are too thoughtful and too long in scope. An opposite group (the “bears”) will do the opposite work by looking for the arguments in favor of long-term projects, very reasoned and thought out, and the arguments or disadvantages and risks of fast projects. The representatives of the 2 groups meet and have to support their positions.

Conflict exercise: “buy merchandise” versus “buy partnerships”

Create a group of people, even a minimum (2 per group, but failing that it can also be created by 2 individuals) who represent a manufacturing company (office furniture production) interested in buying training hours for its sellers (eg: 5 group hours, for a group of 8 people). The mini-course program is the one found on the internet, relating to a basic sales course. The intentions are to test the effectiveness of trainers and spend little (for now), distract their salespeople from their work a little, and perhaps evaluate other interventions in the future. An opposing group will play the role of the training company, extremely convinced that a training project previously requires a good diagnosis, individual interviews with future participants, and that the hours cannot be fixed if the diagnosis has not been carried out.

At the same time, the training company does not want to commit to the fact that it is already foreseeable that a course is the best solution (for example, it wants to be free to decide on solutions such as coaching in the field, and other methods of professional intervention it considers effective). The representatives of the 2 groups meet and have to support their positions.

COMSIT D: features

COMSIT D (completely different code – completely different world view) is the hypothetical situation in which communication is disturbed for two reasons: from a technical point of view, the lack of common code does not allow the exchange of information, and even if a common code could be provided, a completely different view of the world would lead to the situation previously identified as COMSIT C, characterized by a lack of agreement. COMSIT D therefore represents the most difficult circumstance when the communication aims at the exactness of the data exchange and the search for an agreement between different positions. Similar communication contexts were considered Barnett and Kincaid (1983), who considered the combination of two variables: mutual understanding and agreement. Summarizing, according to the T2V model, the result of communication, understood as communicative efficiency in the exchange of information, and effectiveness in reaching an agreement, is negatively correlated with the differences in the code used and the differences in the world view. On the other hand, as the similarity of communication codes and worldview increases, the probability of success increases.

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 in Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

For further information see:

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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