Cognitive Economics of Communication in Groups and Prioritization 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 

Deciding Priorities (What to Talk About) and Formats (How to Talk)

Cognitive economics deals with the efficient use of mental resources. An intercultural meeting poses high problems in the use of resources, since they must be divided and “absorbed” both by the debate on the contents and by the communication difficulties generated by linguistic and cultural differences.

The problems of cognitive economics therefore become even more pressing than intra-cultural meetings. We can therefore indicate that the use of time and resources becomes a meta-competence of the intercultural negotiator. Among his gifts are therefore the prioritization skills, the ability to set priorities, to be able to answer the fundamental question: what is good to talk about? How to manage scarce and limited time?

Each meeting has a high cost. Let’s simply try to calculate the hourly cost of many executives who spend a morning, arriving by plane from different countries, the cost of rooms and materials, the cost of preparation. Each group that comes together to achieve a goal may or may not give itself a strategy to optimize the resources deployed during the meeting. Intercultural prioritization skills require the negotiator to actively undertake to define which priorities to treat, thus also acting on the format of the negotiation, as well as to set the basic terms to be treated.

Defining which priorities to treat also means making very concrete choices: what to talk about first, what to talk about next. How to talk about it, with what approach, with what attitude. Other priorities concern the establishment of a positive conversational climate: without the right climate, any discussion on the contents becomes more difficult. For this, for example, it is necessary to understand that there is a precise relationship between climates and communication styles.

Some communication styles are deleterious to the achievement of a result, are diseconomic, dysfunctional, and must be grasped (in others), and avoided (for themselves). The subject of communication economics therefore requires:

1. Ability to recognize the (limited) attentional resources available for negotiation (resource awareness);

2. ability to understand the boundaries of time available (awareness of the times);

3. ability to move within these boundaries, deciding the most appropriate contents and recognizing the dispersive ones (awareness of strategic contents);

4. ability to manage the phases and times of the meetings (awareness of the interaction sequences)

5. ability to act on communication styles appropriate to the different phases, and on the attitudes underlying the styles of relationships (contextual awareness of communication styles).

The main themes of the economics of negotiation communication are highlighted in the following principle.

Principle 15 – Economics of communication and centering of negotiation

The quality of the negotiation depends on:

  • The ability to center the contents of the conversation;
  • The ability to manage one’s attention resources (attentional recharge and management of personal energies) and grasp the states of others;
  • Awareness of the time limits for negotiation;
  • The ability to segment negotiation times, distinguishing the negotiation phases and their specific objectives, in particular by mentally and de facto separating the listening time (empathy) and the proactive time;
  • The ability to modulate one’s own communication styles, breaking the communicative rigidity, knowing how to adapt the styles to the different phases, e.g. friend in the warming up and small talk phases (introductory chat), psychoanalytic in the empathic phases, assertive in the propositional phases, and other styles appropriate to the context.
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:

Negotiation Meetings, Conversational Leadership and Conversation 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 

Linguistic Acts, Communicative Lines of Action and Conversational Leadership

Each “issue with meaning“, within a negotiation, constitutes a linguistic act. Linguistic acts are always inserted within lines of communicative action and help to establish the type of relationship in progress (conflictual, collaborative, and others). Collaborating, keeping low tones, or clashing, arguing, are lines of action in which specific linguistic acts (such as attacking, or collaborating) intervene. Other communicative acts also take on meaning, for example emissions using non-verbal (body movement, gestures, looks) and paralinguistic (tones, pauses, silences, intonations) systems.

Intercultural Education for a Broader Perception in Negotiation

Let’s look at the more general point first. Within the research on psycholinguistics, Linguistic Relativism has shown how each language segments the world and allows us to see particular aspects. What does it mean that a language “segments the world”? In essence, linguistic categories guide perception, focusing the human mind on specific layers of reality and taking the attention away from others.

Eskimos have over 10 specific words for as many types of snow, and this guides perception through preset categories. Where this linguistic distinction does not exist, snow becomes a unique mental object, leaving the composition of sentences with a description of different types of snow. But still, in the Navajo language there is no word equivalent to the concept “late” (the perception of time is always relative), just as in the Amazonian languages ​​there is no word “snow”; in Mandarin Chinese, a single word (qing) represents various shades of both blue and green.

Linguistic accuracy therefore also depends on the availability of specific categories and vocabularies. Thus, a first work emerges which consists in educating the interlocutor to perceive differences. If an Eskimo wants to be able to make the European understand the difference between the ten types of snow, he will have to associate the word (verbal label) used with some recognizable representation (a photograph, or practical demonstration).

At the same time, in order to be able to negotiate, it is necessary to make the other understand the diversity between his or her culture and our culture. Each of the intercultural negotiators must be available to learn, available to train thanks to the encounter with the other. Negotiation on new products or on projects never implemented before requires a phase of acculturation, which enables the counterparty to orient, understand, and consciously choose within differences that they could not perceive before.

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 

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The Clarification of Concepts and the Precision of Language

© 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 

The Four Descriptive Filters

On the intercultural level, as we have noted, even relatively simple and taken-for-granted concepts (eg: “home”, “work”, “friendship”) are misunderstood. It is therefore advisable to carry out activities of setting the semantic boundaries (setting the meanings) that allow to specify the language. Building the common linguistic basis requires clarification on several levels. Each keyword, each word or concept in general, can be read through at least four descriptive filters. Let’s create an example on the Italian word “gondola”.

The possible attributes are:

  • Perceptive: it is long and narrow:
  • Functional: used to transport tourists;
  • Associatives: it makes me think of Venice;
  • Social-Symbolic: recalls a romantic experience, for classy people;
  • Encyclopedic: it is made of wood, it has been used since the year ….., it is built like this ….

The same problem occurs on the business level. Let’s imagine that we are carrying out a “marketing consultancy” on behalf of an Indian, Korean or Chinese client. We should first compare the two mental images of the word “marketing”, understand which of the two different concepts of marketing the customer is thinking about. For example:

Concept A (marketing as an operational tool). Analysis:Concept B (marketing as a strategic tool). Analysis
Perceptual: marketing is equivalent to advertising and promotion, sales, advertisingPerceptual: Marketing is the search for new or better products to satisfy human needs
Functional: used to sell moreFunctional: used to better design products and services
Associative: it is an instrument of capitalism and consumerismAssociative: it is a research tool
Socio-Symbolic: it is for advanced, large, technological or very managerial companiesSocio-Symbolic: it requires respect for the customer and the will to satisfy him, it can be used by anyone
Encyclopedic: deals with concepts such as the marketing mix, customer satisfaction, promotionEncyclopedic: deals with concepts such as marketing mix, customer satisfaction, promotion, but above all market research, creativity, customer orientation

Starting an intercultural negotiation means first of all clarifying semantic concepts, the latent meanings of words, mental associations, and not taking them for granted. Through associative techniques, it is also possible to search for the “stereotypes” that people possess with respect to the concepts dealt with.

For example, dealing with the training of a salesperson means first of all clarifying what the mental image of our interlocutor is, understanding what is behind the word “salesman”.

Tab. 1 – Different conception of two sales cultures: the seller …

– He has to talk a lot
– He has to be a bit stupid and work hard, no matter he is a graduate
he doesn’t have to do strategy, we make the strategy
– He have to be around all day
– He has to bring us results
– He has to listen a lot he has to be intelligent and creative
– He has to be a strategist of his territory, respecting the guidelines
– He has to act with targeted appointments
– We have to put him in a position to give the best results

Without clarifying these points, any action risks being based on wrong and misunderstood concepts.

negoziazione interculturale
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 

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Clarify Keywords and Eliminate Misunderstanding

© 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 

Clarify the Underlying Meaning of the Primary Negotiating Terms

Each word deeply rooted in social life – let’s say the word “educate” – carries with it an enormous variety of possible meanings: educate can mean “to shape”, or “bring behavior back to the rules”, make the subject become “as I want”, educate can mean “to regiment”, educate can mean “bring out personal potential “, and others. Even the phrase “business growth” carries with it a whole, enormous, spectrum of possible meanings.

For one entrepreneur it can mean “increasing turnover”, for another still “having a better organization”, for another “being a leader in your sector as the ability to put new products on the market”. Each word carries with it completely subjective mental evocations (mental images). In the case of the negotiation of a training course on communication to be held in China by Italian trainers, explained below, we can see that one of the first fundamental activities is first and foremost the clarification of what is meant by “communication” among the many meanings – example: advertising, or interpersonal communication, or organizational communication, and other possible nuances – and what a “trainer” is.

In culture A (Italy) compared to culture B (China), the underlying semantics of the terms hides enormous differences, which can lead to the failure of any project. In China there is no word equivalent to the term “communication” as it is understood in the West.

The exit from uncertainty and the comparison on semantics is one of the primary steps of each project that starts from different bases. The rule of thumb requires to “put on the negotiating table” the strongest and most meaningful words underlying the negotiation itself, and to clarify them with respect to their many possible meanings.

In the case of a leadership training project carried out in China by Italian trainers, we should clarify for example the meaning of the primary terms “training” and “leadership“. Nothing will be possible without this initial clarification. In the case of a production project in China or India of spare parts for a mechanical industry, in which the European manufacturer takes care of the design and final inspection, delegating the production in outsourcing, we should clarify the concepts of “expected quality “,” Verification “and” inspection “. Each negotiation brings with it the need to clarify the basic terms on which it is based and to compare the respective “semantics” (the possible meanings).

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 

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Communication, negotiation and seduction

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for any Publisher wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab whose rights are already sold and published. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or any other language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com or www.danieletrevisani.it 

Negotiating requires the ability to seduce.

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

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

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

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

Area Manager: What guarantees can you give us?

Importer: What guarantees do you need?

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

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

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

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

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

Principle 9 – Training in intercultural communication

The success of negotiation communication depends on:

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

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for any Publisher wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab whose rights are already sold and published. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or any other language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

For further information see:

Corporate memetics

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Consulting Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for qualified Publishers wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab. If you are interested in publishing or Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

Where our ideas come from, how they enter the company, and our attempts to make them survive

A healthy life (personal but also corporate) requires awareness of what beliefs, values ​​or teachings we are putting into practice, and above all recognizes the fact that they have been acquired by acculturation, have been assimilated by the surrounding environment – from family to school to religion – have “entered” and the subject himself is impregnated with it. Human beings are full of “memes“, of mental traces, ideas, beliefs, learned from other human beings (face-to-face) or from mediated sources. Even companies are full of “ideas” or “mental traces” often suffered rather than built.

Memetics – as a new discipline in the social sciences landscape – deals with how ideas or “memes” are transmitted from person to person, from group to group, as well as how genetics deals with the transmission of genes and hereditary heritages . The ideas that each of us carries have been learned by someone (in large part), and we ourselves have partly modified them, becoming bearers of memes. Who brought these ideas within us? Who brought them to the company? How did they spread? Who is a healthy carrier? Are they all good or are some of them harmful viruses?

As soon as two cultures meet, we discover that our memes are different from those of others, but in “reproductive” terms we try to replicate our own rather than accept those of others. At the center of intercultural negotiation there is not only the question of who “is right” about the details, but even the attempt to make their “memes” survive, to reproduce their own vision of things, sometimes to impose it. This behavior from the ethological point of view of the “human animal” is normal, it responds to the principles of conservation of the species. Like any animal being tries to reproduce its genes, the social being tries to reproduce its ideas (“memes”) and pass them on to others.

The concept of “memetics” (expressed by several scientists) lends itself well to studying how ideas are transmitted from person to person, from group to group, as does “genetics” with the transmission and replication of genes. Intercultural negotiation does not consist only in an encounter between different positions in detail, but in the clash between subjects carrying a different “memetic”, a different “cultural genetics” or personal heritage. There is therefore a first strong awareness that makes the intercultural negotiator more effective: the awareness of one’s own culture, of one’s active “memes”. This awareness does not mean rejection and must not automatically produce rejection of what has been learned culturally, but only and simply awareness of what has been learned (what), of the sources (from whom), and of the history of one’s learning (when).

The analysis is carried out on several levels. – On the general level of one’s own learning and acculturation. Ex:

  • What did they teach you in the family, as basic values, openly or by example? § And, in the company: what are the circulating ideas?
  • What are the dominant currents?
  • Who is its spokesperson?
  • Who entered them, since when?
  • Which are to be maintained, which are harmful?
  • Which are firm? Which do you apply occasionally?
  • Which ones do you adhere to unconditionally?
  • Which ones do you find deleterious and would you change?
  • In terms of specific behaviors and actions. Ex:
  • (for a commercial) who did you learn to sell from?
  • what did they teach you, what values ​​did they transmit to you, how were you “set up”?
  • For any manager: Has anyone taught you to relax, to think from above? What orientation towards time have you absorbed? A long-term or a short-term thought? who gave you examples from which you assimilated something? How aware are you?

© 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 

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Corporate Memetics: Understanding Intercultural Negotiation in Business

© 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 

Where our ideas come from, how they enter the company, and our attempts to make them survive

A healthy life (personal but also corporate) requires awareness of what beliefs, values ​​or teachings we are putting into practice, and above all recognizes the fact that they have been acquired by acculturation, have been assimilated by the surrounding environment – from family to school to religion – have “entered” and the subject himself is impregnated with it. Human beings are full of “memes“, of mental traces, ideas, beliefs, learned from other human beings (face-to-face) or from mediated sources. Even companies are full of “ideas” or “mental traces” often suffered rather than built.

Memetics – as a new discipline in the social sciences landscape – deals with how ideas or “memes” are transmitted from person to person, from group to group, as well as how genetics deals with the transmission of genes and hereditary heritages . The ideas that each of us carries have been learned by someone (in large part), and we ourselves have partly modified them, becoming bearers of memes. Who brought these ideas within us? Who brought them to the company? How did they spread? Who is a healthy carrier? Are they all good or are some of them harmful viruses?

As soon as two cultures meet, we discover that our memes are different from those of others, but in “reproductive” terms we try to replicate our own rather than accept those of others. At the center of intercultural negotiation there is not only the question of who “is right” about the details, but even the attempt to make their “memes” survive, to reproduce their own vision of things, sometimes to impose it. This behavior from the ethological point of view of the “human animal” is normal, it responds to the principles of conservation of the species. Like any animal being tries to reproduce its genes, the social being tries to reproduce its ideas (“memes”) and pass them on to others.

The concept of “memetics” (expressed by several scientists) lends itself well to studying how ideas are transmitted from person to person, from group to group, as does “genetics” with the transmission and replication of genes. Intercultural negotiation does not consist only in an encounter between different positions in detail, but in the clash between subjects carrying a different “memetic”, a different “cultural genetics” or personal heritage. There is therefore a first strong awareness that makes the intercultural negotiator more effective: the awareness of one’s own culture, of one’s active “memes”. This awareness does not mean rejection and must not automatically produce rejection of what has been learned culturally, but only and simply awareness of what has been learned (what), of the sources (from whom), and of the history of one’s learning (when).

The analysis is carried out on several levels. – On the general level of one’s own learning and acculturation. Ex:

  • What did they teach you in the family, as basic values, openly or by example? § And, in the company: what are the circulating ideas?
  • What are the dominant currents?
  • Who is its spokesperson?
  • Who entered them, since when?
  • Which are to be maintained, which are harmful?
  • Which are firm? Which do you apply occasionally?
  • Which ones do you adhere to unconditionally?
  • Which ones do you find deleterious and would you change?
  • In terms of specific behaviors and actions. Ex:
  • (for a commercial) who did you learn to sell from?
  • what did they teach you, what values ​​did they transmit to you, how were you “set up”?
  • For any manager: Has anyone taught you to relax, to think from above? What orientation towards time have you absorbed? A long-term or a short-term thought? who gave you examples from which you assimilated something? How aware are you?

intercultural negotiation daniele trevisani 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 

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intercultural negotiation working communication

Awareness of one’s own culture and sources

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Consulting Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available for qualified Publishers wishing to consider it for publication in English and other languages except for Italian and Arab. If you are interested in publishing or Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the webstite www.danieletrevisani.com 

Principle 5 – Awareness of one’s own cultural sources

Successful communication depends on awareness:

  • personal sources (individuals) who have made significant imprints on their own system of beliefs and behaviors;
  • mediated sources (media, books, readings, films) that have affected one’s personal culture;
  • the times of assimilation and its significant phases and milestones;
  • the depth of assimilation into the Self of the different cultural rules, norms, guides, laws and teachings that are adopted;
  • the ability to recognize the factors and people from which specific skills, attitudes and behaviors practiced today at work and at a professional level have been assimilated (e.g. where and from whom the styles and behaviors of negotiation and relationship used today have been learned) . You can accept to keep a cultural rule with you, or you can consciously decide to try to eliminate it from your way of being, but only after having become aware of its existence (cultural self-determination). In the ALM method, the individual is seen as a cell capable of applying positive osmosis (exchanging flows of knowledge and experiences with the environment). As in any cell, without exchange there is neither nourishment nor elimination of toxins. Thus, even in intercultural communication it is necessary to know how to eliminate the cultural toxins that prevent the proper functioning of the Self, and to know how to open up to the introduction of new elements.

Principle 6 – Cultural self-determination and internal cultural locus-of-control Successful communication depends on:

  • the subject’s ability to choose which cultural rules and cultural traits to keep in their personal baggage (cultural set);
  • the subject’s ability to choose which cultural rules and cultural traits to eliminate from one’s set;
  • the subject’s ability to choose which new cultural rules and new traits to acquire in his personal baggage;
  • from the basic awareness of the fact that it is possible to carry out an analysis of discovery and awareness of one’s own culture, to regain control of the cultural rules that apply.

This achievement depends on the revision of the sense of control over one’s destiny, events, and even one’s own culture, seen as something on which the subject can act (internal locus-of-control). The intercultural negotiator is alive – like a biological cell – when open to his own change and exchange with the environment.

He is dead and produces disastrous results when he refuses to accept that differences exist and must be understood and analyzed. The greater its capacity for exchange and osmosis with the environment, the greater the level of psycho-physiological fitness. The intercultural being is just as dead when it does not possess its own identity, unconditionally accepts the “memetics” of others and rejects its heritage, dispersing the good it has to offer to the rich relationship.

As in many human activities, a successful outcome requires the ability to find a balance between (1) a tendency towards unconditional acceptance of the culture of others (cultural hypocrisy) and (2) a tendency towards the unconditional imposition of one’s own culture on the other (imperialism cultural). States of consciousness feed cultural identities. Being Italian and having been raised in Italian culture produces a vision of the world that can be assimilated to a state of conscience, and some behaviors – for example, all sitting at the table in the family – enter the sphere of normality of that state of conscience.

It is normal to eat together in Italy, just as it is normal for an American university student to do homework and exercises in the canteen and carefully avoid talking to diners. It is very rare to see an Italian university student sitting at a table with other friends not talking, and closing on the book with paper and pen. It can happen, but it is not part of Italian culture. Just as it is strange for an Italian to think that the most popular place in an American university town on Sunday evening, around midnight, is the library.

Arriving at the table late and leaving earlier is not culturally correct in standard Italian culture, but it is normal in American culture, spending the night at the computer center is good for an American student, horrible for an Italian. For a certain “clever” Italian culture, spending a night studying is something you don’t want to let anyone know, so as not to be pointed out as “geeks“. For the American student, copying is reprehensible, for the Italian it is cunning. These are different “memes” that circulate: “if you copy you are smart” vs. “If you copy you are a failure”. Each intercultural negotiation brings with it different “memes”. The problem with cultures is that their unwritten norms come in “without knocking”, by osmosis, and these norms become tangible only when there is contact with a different culture.

For example, an Italian student who offers an American colleague to copy his homework, to make him a friend, instead of strengthening a bond will be pointed out, rejected and relegated. Companies also have different cultures, just as corporate areas (administration, sales, purchasing, production) have their own and distinct cultures. Due to the great variety of inputs to which one is exposed, there is no creature that reasons with the exact same mental patterns as another. In this context, people find themselves negotiating and communicating.

© 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:

intercultural negotiation working communication

Intercultural Negotiation. The Awareness of One’s Own Culture and Cultural Roots

© 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 

Principle 5 – Awareness of one’s own cultural sources

Successful intercultural communication and intercultural negotiation depends on awareness of:

  • personal sources (individuals) who have made significant imprints on their own system of beliefs and behaviors;
  • mediated sources (media, books, readings, films) that have affected one’s personal culture;
  • the times of assimilation and its significant phases and milestones;
  • the depth of assimilation into the Self of the different cultural rules, norms, guides, laws and teachings that are adopted;
  • the ability to recognize the factors and people from which specific skills, attitudes and behaviors practiced today at work and at a professional level have been assimilated (e.g. where and from whom the styles and behaviors of negotiation and relationship used today have been learned) . You can accept to keep a cultural rule with you, or you can consciously decide to try to eliminate it from your way of being, but only after having become aware of its existence (cultural self-determination). In the ALM method, the individual is seen as a cell capable of applying positive osmosis (exchanging flows of knowledge and experiences with the environment). As in any cell, without exchange there is neither nourishment nor elimination of toxins. Thus, even in intercultural communication it is necessary to know how to eliminate the cultural toxins that prevent the proper functioning of the Self, and to know how to open up to the introduction of new elements.

Principle 6 – Cultural self-determination and internal cultural locus-of-control Successful communication depends on:

  • the subject’s ability to choose which cultural rules and cultural traits to keep in their personal baggage (cultural set);
  • the subject’s ability to choose which cultural rules and cultural traits to eliminate from one’s set;
  • the subject’s ability to choose which new cultural rules and new traits to acquire in his personal baggage;
  • from the basic awareness of the fact that it is possible to carry out an analysis of discovery and awareness of one’s own culture, to regain control of the cultural rules that apply.

This achievement depends on the revision of the sense of control over one’s destiny, events, and even one’s own culture, seen as something on which the subject can act (internal locus-of-control). The intercultural negotiator is alive – like a biological cell – when open to his own change and exchange with the environment.

He is dead and produces disastrous results when he refuses to accept that differences exist and must be understood and analyzed. The greater its capacity for exchange and osmosis with the environment, the greater the level of psycho-physiological fitness. The intercultural being is just as dead when it does not possess its own identity, unconditionally accepts the “memetics” of others and rejects its heritage, dispersing the good it has to offer to the rich relationship.

As in many human activities, a successful outcome requires the ability to find a balance between (1) a tendency towards unconditional acceptance of the culture of others (cultural hypocrisy) and (2) a tendency towards the unconditional imposition of one’s own culture on the other (imperialism cultural). States of consciousness feed cultural identities. Being Italian and having been raised in Italian culture produces a vision of the world that can be assimilated to a state of conscience, and some behaviors – for example, all sitting at the table in the family – enter the sphere of normality of that state of conscience.

It is normal to eat together in Italy, just as it is normal for an American university student to do homework and exercises in the canteen and carefully avoid talking to diners. It is very rare to see an Italian university student sitting at a table with other friends not talking, and closing on the book with paper and pen. It can happen, but it is not part of Italian culture. Just as it is strange for an Italian to think that the most popular place in an American university town on Sunday evening, around midnight, is the library.

Arriving at the table late and leaving earlier is not culturally correct in standard Italian culture, but it is normal in American culture, spending the night at the computer center is good for an American student, horrible for an Italian. For a certain “clever” Italian culture, spending a night studying is something you don’t want to let anyone know, so as not to be pointed out as “geeks“. For the American student, copying is reprehensible, for the Italian it is cunning. These are different “memes” that circulate: “if you copy you are smart” vs. “If you copy you are a failure”. Each intercultural negotiation brings with it different “memes”. The problem with cultures is that their unwritten norms come in “without knocking”, by osmosis, and these norms become tangible only when there is contact with a different culture.

For example, an Italian student who offers an American colleague to copy his homework, to make him a friend, instead of strengthening a bond will be pointed out, rejected and relegated. Companies also have different cultures, just as corporate areas (administration, sales, purchasing, production) have their own and distinct cultures. Due to the great variety of inputs to which one is exposed, there is no creature that reasons with the exact same mental patterns as another. In this context, people find themselves negotiating and communicating.

intercultural negotiation daniele trevisani 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:

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intercultural negotiation working communication

Compatibility and training of human resources for negotiation

Article translated from the text “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali”, copyright FrancoAngeli Editore and Dr. Daniele Trevisani Business Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission.

The ALM method

In every team there is a problem of selection (how to enter, what characteristics have those who enter) and training (how to grow team members). When the first phase is wrong, when people are poorly selected, mistakes have a chain effect. Training generally aims to increase existing performance and knowledge (incremental training), and is rarely used with the aim of acting in depth on the personality to change it (transformational training).

In the ALM method, we aim to draw on both models, but it is necessary to be aware that even the most incisive of transformational techniques does not change the genetic parameters, for example, and the selection of subjects remains important. In extreme environments, the American Institute of Medicine has begun to seriously study the “Crew performance breakdown” between astronauts forced to live together in a limited space for a long time. Many air and space accidents were caused by the dynamics of incommunicability between the crew (intragroup incommunicability) or between crew and other crews (crew: working groups, crews) – such as ground controllers – (intergroup incommunicability).

For these reasons, NASA’s Human Factors Research and Technology Division has included additional selection criteria to minimize the risks of intra-group incommunicability starting from the selection of human resources, thus evaluating not only scientific skills but also interpersonal and communication skills. This selection and adequate intercultural training are also considered indispensable for the space missions of the future characterized by intercultural crews. Furthermore, among the selection criteria, no longer only individual skills are evaluated, but an analysis of “compatibility” is carried out (compatibility with the group and the ability to live in the group).

In other words, it has been discovered that some astronauts can be excellent “astronauts” from a technical and scientific point of view, but unsuitable for dealing with diversity, sustaining a relationship with other cultures, and therefore cannot be part of multicultural space crews. A little annoying behavior, repeated for days on end, is enough to generate nervousness and irritation. For companies, there is an implication: (1) not everyone is fit to negotiate, and (2) even less so interculturally. Any intercultural communication mistake made by a salesperson operating abroad (eg: an area manager) or by an entrepreneur, can mean one less contract. Companies and organizations must be aware of this when choosing their commercial or institutional representatives.

Too often, product preparation is confused with an alleged ability to negotiate and communicate. The two are absolutely different. Intercultural negotiators must be properly selected based on their capacity for openness to different cultures, mental flexibility and communication skills, and not only on the basis of their business experience or product preparation.

Principle 2 – Selection of intercultural negotiators The success of intercultural negotiation depends on the organization’s ability to select, with respect to the parameters of:

  • openness to dialogue;
  • open-mindedness and ability to deal with diversity;
  • preparation on general negotiation techniques and openness to one’s own negotiation training as a development lever;
  • specific preparation on intercultural negotiation techniques and openness to one’s own intercultural training;
  • ability to draw on flexible and adaptive communicative repertoires, knowing how to adapt to the different cultures with which it has to interact.

So it doesn’t matter to be in a team of American, Chinese and Russian astronauts – in space – to deal with incommunicability and intercultural difficulties. Studies on intercultural communication affect everyone – schools, education, the family, the company. They explore, for example, new tools of intercultural mentorship (support for intercultural adaptation) and the strategies used by mentors to improve intercultural skills, or the problems of World Business and economic globalization, its implications on negotiation between people belonging to different cultures .

These studies analyze the problems of stereotypes, of changes in mutual perception caused by the experiences of direct interaction, of the frustration or confusion experienced in cross-cultural business interactions.

intercultural negotiation

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