Categories
Empathy and Active Listening

Ikigai. Enhanced listening through models

Copyright by Dr. Daniele Trevisani. Article extracted with author’s permission from the book “Ascolto attivo ed Empatia. I segreti di una comunicazione efficace” (translated title: “Active Listening and Empathy: The Secretes of Effective Communication”. The book’s rights are on sale in any language. Please contact Dr. Daniele Trevisani for information at the website www.danieletrevisani.com

We can enhance listening through models that help us to ask more correct and centred questions, both  

  1. in the way(listening mode) and  
  2. in content(content of the questions). 

If we centre both, we will have made a perfect centre. For this purpose we anticipate the model, central to this book, of the “scale of listening levels”, which concerns above all the “way” of listening. The scale is shown in the figure below. 

 

We will go into the details of this scale in the next chapter.  

For now, suffice it to say that the tools for making quality leaps in active listening do exist, and you can make huge strides, to the point of making it one of the strengths of your life and changing the way you are. 

Listening is part of communication, communication is part of people’s lives, and people’s lives are part of the universe.  

By listening, we are also making a contribution to understanding the part of the universe that lives in us. 

 

The effort to understand the universe is among the very few things that raise human life above the level of a farce,  

giving it some of the dignity of a tragedy. 

 (Steven Weinberg) 

 

Returning to the scale, as we can see, we start from the bottom, with imprecise, judgmental, aggressive listening, until we get to active, empathic, positive listening, going through intermediate traits. 

These are the modes of listening. If we apply these modes to a model, be it psychosocial or organisational, we obtain ‘modelled listening’. The model we focus on briefly now is the IkigaiIkigai (生き甲斐) is the Japanese equivalent of meanings such as ‘reason for living’, ‘raison d’être’, ‘purpose of life’. In Okinawa Ikigai is seen as “a reason to wake up in the morning”, and certainly, “what is your reason for waking up in the morning” is both a powerful question and a moment of powerful empathy and advanced active listening. 

Ikigai is a composite word, derived from Ikiru, meaning ‘to live’ and kai, meaning ‘shell’. Symbolically, it represents our space of expression, the place in space-time in which we feel ‘at home’, and our life mission. Indeed,  

 

 

 “Everyone, according to Japanese culture, would have their own Ikigai. Finding the reason for one’s existence, however, requires an inner search that can often be long and difficult. This search is considered very important and its successful conclusion brings the person deep satisfaction.  

In addition to the positive aspects for those who follow their Ikigai, there can also be negative aspects: those who live life with extreme passion risk being consumed by it to the point of degradation”.  

The four main vectors or variables are 

  1. What you LOVE
  2. What the world NEEDS
  3. What you can be PAID FOR
  4. What you are GOOD AT.

From this come four major stimuli. 

Think about these four questions: 

  1. What do you like or love to do?
  2. What are you good at?
  3. What does the world need from you?
  4. For which of the things you can do can you be paid?

When we manage to find answers that satisfy all four propositions, we may say that we have found our Ikigai. Many studies have shown that Ikigai, or approaching this condition, prolongs and improves life17, so this concept has come to be the subject of high-level18 academic study. Ikigai represents the perfect centre, the condition that satisfies all other conditions, whereby we are able to do work that we love, work that is useful to the world, work that we are paid for, and work at which we are skilled. 

In psychology, this condition closely resembles a life or existence led in a state of Flow. 

, or Flow, “the magical moment when everything flows perfectly and time seems to vanish”, a concept introduced in 1975 by the psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi and then spread to various fields of application of psychology, including performance, sport, spirituality, education and work, the immersiveness of experience in everyday life, creativity, and meditation.  In moments of flow, everything seems to work magically and perfectly, even though the challenges are there and they are high. We can say that listening in a Flow state exists, and is made possible by our total “Mental Presence” in listening combined with the mental presence of the other and mutual availability. We notice how the imperfect intersections, those spaces where one or more of the four basic needs are not satisfied, generate different types of “state of life”, which can be examined in the figure itself. 

We will then have questions such as:  

 

What do you love to do in life? 

What do you think the planet and the world need right now? 

What are the jobs for which you can get paid? 

What are the things that make you feel good? 

 

Listening can become more and more complex, as in management coaching where we want to be able to understand what condition a person is in in relation to their work experience. So for example: 

 

  • Do you love what you are doing now? 
  • Do you think what you are doing now is useful? 
  • Are you satisfied with your remuneration? 
  • Do you get gratification at work, apart from remuneration? 
  • How do you live your working day? 
  • At which moments do you feel that you are giving your best at work with pleasure? 

We could ask many more questions, not an infinite number, but a very large number. The answers can allow us to make “hooks” on what emerges to deepen and widen the discourse, or instead we can go into detail with selective listening when we find a problem, or focus on an emotional detail of a conflict with a co-worker or a leadership problem, and apply empathic listening. In the beginning we need useful starting models to help us get off on the right foot, and then correct the course as we go along. 

Listening is one of the most sensitive human activities, using models certainly enhances it, but it never replaces the human sensitivity needed to practice quality listening. Capturing the nuances of people, whether at work or in life, requires an enormous empathic will, method and a pinch of artistry. People are universes, they are infinite worlds, looking into them can make you dizzy, but it is worth it. Because to know a person is to know a piece of the universe. 

It’s strange how your life can take a direction.  

Then you meet a person and everything changes. 

 

Sophia Danko (Britt Robertson) 

from the movie “The answer is in the stars” by George Tillman Jr. 

© Article translated from the book “Ascolto attivo ed empatia. I segreti di una comunicazione efficace“. 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 any language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact Dr. Daniele Trevisani.

This article about the Power of Listening is about

  • active listening
  • active listening skills
  • active listening skills and empathy
  • active listening skills and empathy in leadership
  • aggressive listening
  • aggressive listening effects
  • emotional resonance emotional resonance
  • empathic listening
  • scale of listening levels
  • scale of listening levels example
  • sensitive listening
Categories
Empathy and Active Listening

The power of listening 

Copyright by Dr. Daniele Trevisani. Article extracted with author’s permission from the book “Ascolto attivo ed Empatia. I segreti di una comunicazione efficace” (translated title: “Active Listening and Empathy: The Secretes of Effective Communication”. The book’s rights are on sale in any language. Please contact Dr. Daniele Trevisani for information at the website www.danieletrevisani.com

Knowing how to grasp emotional resonances, towards “sensitive listening” 

The power of listening, we will say at once, is above all the ability to see beyond words. Seeing the other person’s cards to play better and not in the dark. Listening, the real kind, the kind that “half-opens” communication and the communicator to look inside, is an extremely powerful weapon. It unmasks lies and falsehoods, it prevents mental fog from entering conversations, because it can recognise it. 

It is so easy to tell lies to those who do not know how to listen well, to those who let themselves be carried away by rhetoric and status, and who do not get to the bottom of the message to grasp its truth. 

Attentive listening is the anti-persuasive weapon par excellence, just as distracted listening is a slave to status and roles and is the main way to get subliminal messages into your head that persuade you without you realising it. Listening takes over when negotiating with internal and external customers, with stakeholders (the various stakeholders that revolve around the life of a person or a company), it manifests itself in the family, between couples, between parents and children, between friends, with people of the same and different cultures. 

The power of listening is equal to that of playing cards by being able to see your opponent’s cards. We read people better, we read situations better. We see better. 

It can be used to cure (Carl Rogers, in his Client-Centred Therapy, makes it the central tool for psychotherapeutic healing14) or to persuade (study of a target audience and strategic empathy), to plan, as in project management, to fully understand a person’s desires and objectives and “what is in their head”, and to make wiser group decisions without anyone feeling excluded or unheard.  

Even difficult decisions and decisions in critical conditions use the power of listening. Because listening, except in an interrogation, is a state of mind of spaciousness for the words of others, for the emotions of others, for the stories of others. 

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of right understanding. 

 (Mahatma Gandhi) 

Certainly, we can say that people who can listen have a competitive advantage over others. They can grasp more information, they can perceive more, they can enter neural connections with other minds, they can have the option to listen or not, to their liking, while those who do not know how to listen have only one option: not to listen, or to listen very badly, and as Malcolm X specified, “those who listen to nothing will fall for anything.”  

In every conversation, a listening phase takes place, there is always a ‘part’ of us listening, whether we are aware of it or not, and implicit ‘manoeuvring’ takes place.  

Who speaks first? Who listens to whom? For how long? With what purposes? Implicit purposes? Explicit purposes? And what perceptions will the other have? What formats does this conversation have, beyond the individual words? Is it a ‘plea’, is it a ‘self-celebration’, is it an ‘attack on the cruel world’? 

What do we understand about a person when we have listened to them well? We understand how they think and their state of mind, right down to their personality. And having understood those, we have understood 90% of the person. 

Emotional resonances are ‘echoes of emotions’ that seem to come from afar but bring new content to a different level and enrich the listening experience. There are at least ten ways of saying “everything is fine” when faced with the question “How are you today?”, and those ten different nuances come from the emotional resonances that reverberate in the person and are associated with the words. Try it to believe it. It is possible to practice ‘hearing’ emotional resonances, to get as close as possible to the truth of things. While traditional listening focuses on words, empathic listening focuses more on capturing emotions. The other person’s emotions have a vibration, a reverberation, ours too, and a real moment of resonance is created. 

When I understand that emotions are resonating in the other person, we are in sensitive listening. When I start to take an interest, to try to understand what kind of emotions are resonating, we are entering empathic listening. 

Each of the main publications I have written15, each line, contains possible worlds of interpretation. To feel that there is a flow, to decide that you want to decode a text, a word, a sentence, a conversation, is to be able to listen with the heart and not only with the mind. 

In physics, this phenomenon is called an ‘interference pattern between two singular sources’, and what physicists call interference, to us may instead be richness and sensitivity. In the arts, the pattern is called vesica piscis or almond, a symbol of ogive shape obtained from two circles of the same radius, intersecting in such a way that the centre of each circle lies on the circumference of the other. 

The name literally means fish bladder in Latin. For us, it becomes important because it represents the “entrance” into the door of other people’s emotions, the basis of all empathic listening. Empathic listening is about: 

  • The nature of emotions (What emotion do I feel when I listen?);  
  • The multiplicity of emotions (How many emotions do I feel? Which ones are included?);  
  • the strength of the emotions (How strong are the emotions I feel in the other person: peripheral, intermediate, central?), and  
  • what moves them (What could be the reason for the emotional state I feel in the other person?).  

This is just a beginning of empathic listening, which we can call “sensitive listening”. Moving on to empathic listening then requires specific questions, specific rephrasing, and an appropriate context. But let us stick to sensitive listening. 

A family member tells us “I would like to change job”. But he does not say it with enthusiasm, we grasp an emotional resonance of sadness, melancholy. 

If we are in the empathic phase, we will ask questions, we will try to understand, for example, if this search is motivated by dissatisfaction with the current job, and if so, what causes it.  

We will also come to understand what the person is looking for in a new job, whether he/she wants to travel or not, what characteristics his/her ideal job should have, and whether the person feels mentally up to it – as a personal power (self-efficacy) – to start a real job search. We will have, basically, helped that person, starting from an emotional resonance. 

Our awareness of how quality listening works, the ability to activate active listening, and above all the full awareness of all its enormous nuances and emotional variables, will influence our lives. Listening already affects us today, in every negotiation and in our professional lives, and even in our wider existence as human beings, from birth to our last breath. Listening is with us, always. Whether we want it to be or not. We listen to our emotional resonances as we talk. We make great discoveries. 

Listening also enters companies, into consultative sales relationships. A strong helping relationship, centred on listening to the client, is the basis of any honest, authentic, sincere, and professional consultative sales methodology. It is no wonder that, in the absence of the ability to listen, many sales situations can be described as “putting on the memorized song” and talking over the client’s head, regardless of what they really need. 

At the heart of any true consultancy process, be it medical, professional, technical, or human, is listening, the ability to bring out data and situations that help to make a useful, contributory, effective proposal.  

When we hear or perceive something that resonates within us, we have listened. 

 

If what I say resonates with you, it’s merely because we’re branches of the same tree. 

 (William Butler Yeats) 

 

Seeking resonance and listening also applies to strategic professionals. In the case of sales, the listening technique is transformed into real coaching of the customer, who is helped to make progress and improvements thanks to our active listening actions. Active listening is always the “mother of all reflections”. It does not change much if we move towards examining the listening skills of a doctor towards a patient.  

How many times have you felt you were listened to fully, thoroughly, and without rushing to conclusions?  

The technical times of health care do not always make this possible, but the problem is that – even if there were time – doctors do not “know how to do it”, they are not equipped, nor have they been trained during their studies, with the ability to listen in depth that is needed. And I can say this, having taught Doctor-Patient Communication in numerous Master courses for doctors16. Their first discovery, with practical listening exercises, about not being able to listen, often shocked them. 

Companies, on the other hand, often think they are “listening” to us by making us fill in questionnaires or using automatic responders, which certainly does not help to create an empathetic bond with the customer. 

With questionnaires and online forms, so distant, so cold, it is difficult to create the emotional resonance that only active listening can create. 

Listening also comes into play in leadership, because it is one thing to give orders to people without knowing what impact and adherence we will find, and quite another to give instructions, deliveries or delegations having a noticeably clear imagine of how people think and what they may or may not accept or see as feasible. 

If listening were a river, we would have a simple listening, which is limited to looking at the water passively and distractedly, and an empathic listening “beyond words”, which goes to observe with attention also the different colours and nuances of the water flow, the banks, the inlets, the vegetation surrounding it, the subtle eddies of the water, a boat, a transported log, and the speed of the current, and all the possible flow of signals we see in the environment. 

To offer a first contribution of method, let us now examine a first visual scale of listening levels, useful to fix some points from the beginning. A scale for listening levels is necessarily a reduction, compared to the complexity of such a vast and enormous phenomenon. And yet, if this reduction helps us to make progress in training, then it is welcome. This scale can help us defend ourselves against aggressive listening or activate empathic listening. The choice is ours. 

Because the important thing is to have the option and to be able to choose. 

© Article translated from the book “Ascolto attivo ed empatia. I segreti di una comunicazione efficace“. 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 any language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact Dr. Daniele Trevisani.

This article about the Power of Listening is about

  • active listening
  • active listening skills
  • active listening skills and empathy
  • active listening skills and empathy in leadership
  • aggressive listening
  • aggressive listening effects
  • emotional resonance emotional resonance
  • empathic listening
  • scale of listening levels
  • scale of listening levels example
  • sensitive listening
Categories
intercultural communication Neuro-Associative Programming

Variables that affect communication effectiveness, well-being and performance

The Four Distances model tells us about a variegated set of variables that affect communication and make it of excellent quality, satisfying, constructive, or bad, destructive and miserable.

It is good to start the more in-depth exposition of the model with an overall picture, and then move on to the analysis of each single point and each single “Distance”.

  1. The basis of the model dates back to the simple acknowledgment that:
  2. Man uses words to express himself (or signs, or gestures).
  3. The word is the representative of an idea, of a concept. Since the person cannot transfer the direct experience of what he does or feels and experiences, he is forced to use the word, or gesture or sign, with all the limits that it entails.
  4. The concept or idea is formed following contact with some aspect of reality, external reality (things, objects) or internal reality (emotions, moods), the so-called external referents.
    Every single living person carries out this process with differences, slight or large, giving rise to an interpersonal communication that opens up to many misunderstandings and intercultural misunderstandings.

This is in summary the representation of a thought that dates back even to the famous “Essay on Human Intellect” by John Locke, a 17th century British philosopher and physician, pioneer of the studies on language and communication [1]. Locke, for example, distinguished:

Ideas of sensation, those that come from external experience, from sensations such as, for example, colors. The formation of these ideas takes place from external objects, from which data come that are imprinted on that blank slate that is our sensitivity.
Ideas of reflection concern the internal experience or reflection on the internal acts of our mind such as thinking, the birth of ideas, doubting, wanting, etc.
The overall model can be represented as follows:

Figure 9 – 4DM – 4 Distances Model – Model of the Four Distances

the four distances model of intercultural communication

 

In this model, the distinction between Hard and Soft variables does not have to do with common perception (Hard = solid, concrete, and Soft = light or less important), but with the very nature of a variable. Both hard and soft variables are absolutely important.

The difference lies in their greater or lesser tangibility. Values ​​are something intangible, but the resulting behaviors are very tangible – for example, the abstract value of ecology gives rise to the concrete behavior of recycling paper, plastic and glass, among other things, and not polluting, so don’t we confuse the fact of being intangible with an alleged minor importance of a variable.

In a person, the number of years (age) will be a hard datum, and a soft datum (but much more important) the personality type, or even the personality state with which the person is living.

In fact, at a certain moment, I can communicate with someone and find myself – as Transactional Analysis shows, in a state of Parental personality, or Adult State, or Child State, with various sub-categories and nuances. This will affect how I communicate, on every front, what I say, how I say it, what distances I place with the person I’m interacting with, and what attitudes I use.

The state of consciousness can be counted among the hard components, although it may seem intangible. In fact, the brain frequencies associated with each state of consciousness are a physical datum and are measurable, and the state of consciousness then produces behaviors and physiological states, even partially directly observable.

In the Science of Neuro-Associative Programming ™ (PNA) [2] the phenomenon of the connection between a mental state (let’s say relaxation, or the activation of positive emotions) with an external state or performance, such as communicating in public, is concretely realized , intercultural communication, negotiation, sales, training or sports performance.

The essential thing is to understand in which mental state the greatest well-being for the person and the best performance for her are produced at the same time.

In intercultural communication, returning to the Fischer scale, certainly better results are produced by associating relaxation and sensitivity to the communicative act, while at the same time avoiding the onset of anxiety or altered negative states of consciousness.

This also applies to doctor-patient communication and any professional communication, including helping relationships such as coaching, counseling, psychotherapy and training.

[1] Locke, John (1960) An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. London, The Baffet.

The keywords of this article on Neuro-Associative Programming and Intercultural Communication are:

  • Analysis
  • Anxiety
  • Activation
  • Welllness
  • Wellbeing
  • Coaching
  • Active coaching
  • Experiential coaching
  • In-depth coaching
  • Scientific coaching
  • Behaviors
  • Behavior
  • To communicate
  • Communication
  • Intercultural communication
  • Counseling
  • Creativity
  • Deep Coaching
  • Effectiveness
  • Efficiency
  • Training
  • Active training
  • Corporate training
  • Active corporate training
  • Management training
  • Brain frequencies
  • Fisher Map
  • Model of the four distances of communication
  • To negotiate
  • Public speaking
  • Neogotiation
  • Life coaching
  • sports coaching
  • Business coaching
  • Performance
  • Human potential
  • Mental programming
  • Neuro-associative programming
  • Neuroassociative programming
  • Psychotherapy
  • Relaxation
  • Performance science
  • Altered states of consciousness
  • States of mind
  • States of consciousness
  • Altered states of consciousness
  • State of mind
  • State of consciousness
  • Values
  • Intangible values

To contact Dr. Daniele Trevisani

Categories
intercultural communication Neuro-Associative Programming

Acting on the States of Consciousness


© Copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani, Studio Trevisani Consulting Training Coaching and Research, article extracted in editorial preview from the text “Neuro-Associative Programming™”, Franco Angeli publisher, Milan.

Bring out your own inner dialogue. Identity, State of Consciousness, Communication Situation (COMSIT) in Intercultural Communication

Communication implies an exchange of information and emotions. Reasoning about our identity asks us to shed light on our true nature, on our being. Transferring “who we are” to others is always difficult, as human complexity and the many roles and shades of personality that are part of us form a truly huge galaxy. We are atoms in an infinite aquarium of molecules, every now and then we try to stop and talk to each other, but we realize how difficult it is, both to stop and to talk to each other.

In intercultural communication it is very important to come to understand which part of our inner dialogue is emerging, which part we would like to share, and if “understanding deeply” is difficult, at least knowing is possible. This requires adequate exercises of focusing on the “multiple Selfs” that we carry within us. And how they communicate externally, that is, what part of us is emerging in intercultural communication. Is the “scientist” emerging, is the hero emerging, is the victim emerging, is the traveler or the researcher emerging? Which archetype guides me at a certain moment? And by which archetype is the other guided? This step is essential to know the possible D1, the role distances, and how these can impact intercultural communication.

“If understanding is impossible, knowing is necessary.” Primo Levi

Lack of communication can prevent us from making others understand what we would like to do, how we feel, what we really are, and what we could be.

A great source of incommunicability occurs when we ourselves have not made a clear picture of us, first of all about ourselves, about our being, about the boundaries of our mental space and our role in the world. I may not be able to correctly transfer information also because I myself have a blurred, uncleared representation of my Self. The communication that will come out will certainly be the bearer of doses of incommunicability, at the start.

The whole problem of life is this: how to break one’s loneliness, how to communicate with others. Cesare Pavese

Targeted Introspection has a name in psychology, it means Focusing. Focusing (both in the variant of emotional focusing – shedding light on emotions, and in informative focusing – clarifying data and facts), allows us to clarify – first of all to ourselves – what we want to convey, what we feel is important to convey, and what we want to happen as a result of our communication (communicative effect or result).

The issue of incommunicability leads us to ask ourselves what the possible “common ground” is, what “you and I” potentially have to share, what common interests we have or could have, what we could talk about.

The following principle speaks of this:

Principle 5 – Focusing on one’s identity and multiple roles, State of Consciousness and COMSIT

Intercultural communication becomes positive and effective the more:

  • people have practiced “focusing” on their own identity;
  • people have practiced focusing on their multiple life roles;
  • people understand with what role it is good to communicate and are consistent in doing so, given the COMSIT (Communication Situation) they have to face;
  • the person experiences the intercultural relationship in a positive role and within a “cognitive space” of pleasure, in a positive neurophysiological state of consciousness, connected to relaxation, and appropriate to the situation;
  • the people or a person accept each other (one accepts the other) in the specific role they have decided to put in place and represent during the interaction;
  • people play the right role in relation to the ongoing COMSIT;
  • people are looking for a “Common Ground” or common ground of role, identity and project and the possible necessary relational glue.

Intercultural communication becomes difficult or ineffective when:

  • people have not practiced “focusing” on their identity and this acts in the background but without awareness;
    people have not practiced “focusing” on their multiple life roles and therefore do not know exactly which role to play or stage the wrong role;
  • people do not understand with which role it is good to communicate and are not consistent in doing so, given the COMSIT (Communication Situation) they have to face;
  • the person experiences intercultural interaction with a negative role, within a “cognitive space” of malaise and in a negative neurophysiological state of consciousness dominated by anxiety and / or altered with respect to the situation;
  • people or a person do not accept each other (or one does not accept the other) in the specific role they have decided to put in place and represent during the interaction;
  • people play the wrong role in relation to the ongoing COMSIT;
  • people do not look for a “Common Ground” or common ground of role, identity and project, and they do not actively nourish the possible relational glue.

The map of our states of consciousness and altered states of consciousness is useful, as well as for well-being, to improve our communication

The Fisher Scale, or map of states of consciousness, highlights the position of any person, in the mental continuum between agitation and relaxation, up to the extremes of deep meditation (on the right) and hysteria (on the left), passing through states such as daily perception, anxiety, creativity and others.

It is a very important tool to understand where we are when we communicate interculturally

Figure 5 – Fisher’s map (map of states of consciousness) [1]

Varieties-of-conscious-states-mapped-on-a-perception-hallucination-continuum

Each position along the scale corresponds to a precise, scientifically measurable brain frequency.

Varieties of conscious states mapped on a perception-hallucination continuum of increasing ergotropic arousal (left) and a perception-meditation continuum of increasing trophotropic arousal (right). These levels of hyper-and hypoarousal are interpreted by man as normal, creative, psychotic, and ecstatic states (left) and Zazen and samadhi (right). The loop connecting ecstasy and samadhi represents the rebound from ecstasy to samadhi, which is observed in response to intense ergotropic excitation. The numbers 35 to 7 on the perception-hallucination continuum are Goldstein’s coefficient of variation (46), specifying the decrease in variability of the EEG amplitude with increasing ergotropic arousal. The numbers 26 to 4 on the perception-meditation continuum, on the other hand, refer to those beta, alpha, and theta EEG waves (measured in hertz) that predominate during, but are not specific to, these states. Source: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324877864_The_Fractal_Limit_of_Human_Thought/figures?lo=1)

Anchoring the state of mind on the Fisher Scale

The work of Neuro-Associative Programming ™ consists precisely in anchoring a state of mind to a task or performance that we want to carry out in the best possible state. In this case, communicating interculturally will be more effective if done in conditions of relaxation rather than in a state of anxiety or agitation.

As I highlighted in the text “Psychology of Freedom” [2], Fisher in this pioneering work warns us: we are increasingly bombarded with information, but in some contexts, further increases risk saturation: further increases in the content of the data can not finding adequate correspondence in an adequate processing rate of these data.

In other words, when the input information is so many, so many that our ability to process them all progressively decreases, we risk slipping towards schizophrenic states [3]. This had been highlighted in the 70s, let alone now with the increase of channels and social media available.

The fact becomes even more complicated when, in addition to elaborating “normal” communication flows, intercultural differences are introduced to complicate everything.

From the scale it is clear that for daily health, every significant piece of life spent in a state of “agitation” or nervousness, should be accompanied by a state of recovery, tranquility and meditation. Definitely after, but even earlier in some cases as a moment of mental preparation (eg, preparation for a competition or an exam, or a strong intercultural negotiation).

The Fisher scale and its many possible teachings are becoming a factor of personal health. We should all know it, at least to make a daily mapping of how we are and readjust the game on the life situations in which we are.

But of this, we do not speak.

On the other hand, it is very easy to meet horoscopes of all kinds on national and public TVs.

Another indicator that our Semiosphere is full of filth and poor in meaning and knowledge that we would really need.

Our personal power lies in picking up the contents of our personal Semiosphere, working it, putting into it what is useful, throwing out the useless. It is time to fight, it is time to fight for these concepts, for us and for all the people we care about, and for a freer and cleaner humanity, and more capable of meeting different cultures without panicking.

____

[1] Roland Fischer (1971), A Cartography of the Ecstatic and Meditative States. In Science, Vol 174 Num 4012 26 November 1971.

[2] See bibliography

[3] From the original text “further increase in data content may not be matched by a corresponding increase in the rate of data processing”

© Copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani, Studio Trevisani Consulting Coach Training and Research, article extracted in editorial preview from the text “Neuro-Associative Programming ™”, Franco Angeli publisher, Milan

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Empathy and Active Listening

Listening Beyond Words

Copyright by Dr. Daniele Trevisani. Article extracted with author’s permission from the book “Ascolto attivo ed Empatia. I segreti di una comunicazione efficace” (translated title: “Active Listening and Empathy: The Secretes of Effective Communication”. The book’s rights are on sale in any language. Please contact Dr. Daniele Trevisani for information at the website www.danieletrevisani.com

Paths to empathic listening

It is one thing to know the right path, another to take it. 

Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) 

from the movie “Matrix” by Andy Wachowski 

We all know that listening is important, but few do it, and of those few, even fewer are those trained in empathy, which means “trained” to technically develop empathy and empathic listening. Sometimes it takes knowing how to do it methodically, and not just by natural aptitude. 

If you happen to have a person “feeling you by the skin of their teeth,” and you “feel by the skin of your teeth” that they are understanding, you are experiencing a moment of listening beyond words. Magical moments. Listening is absolutely beyond words. Listening is everything that enters us and to which we attribute meaning. Listening then, becomes perception, and it can become “heightened perception” if we enhance it. We can even come to understand more about a person than he understands about himself, because listening, practiced from the outside, is able to grasp elements that a person constantly experiences, but of which he is not aware.  

It’s like walking around all your life with a sign behind your back. Everyone sees it but you. Personality is like that sign. 

Equally hidden are the deeper beliefs. For those peripheral ones, preferences, what you like or dislike, can be picked up from details, with a simple observation of the raising of your nose muscles (as when you smell something unwelcome), and are rarely verbalized in public. Yet, careful nonverbal listening will pick them up.  

When we observe all of this and not just the words, we are practicing “listening beyond the words,” augmented perception. 

Augmented perception means “knowing how to read people“, knowing how to pick up on signals, words, unspoken phrases, gestures, symbols, hints. 

He knew how to listen, and he knew how to read.  

Not books, they are all good, he knew how to read people. 

 (Alessandro Baricco) 

Augmented perception can even go so far as to enhance the sensory systems themselves, making a trained person able to listen for changes in vocal stress (lie or embarrassment signalling), something that typically only specific software can do.  

Augmented perception can lead you to pick up on facial micro-expressions lasting less than 1/10th of a second, so brief, yet so significant, such as the raising of an eyebrow muscle, or a lip muscle, an indicator of interest, or surprise, or alarm. And there is no doubt that when we are sharper in grasping, in perceiving, in listening, we become different people, ourselves. We change within. 

Listening can then be defined as “empathic” when we have really managed to “get inside a person’s head”, understand how they think, understand how they reason, grasp the nuances of their thinking, and understand why they think the way they do, “from inside” their belief system, convictions and emotions.  

This concerns not only simple matters, but also something that seems very strange to us, something arcane that with empathic listening we can understand, because we have managed to grasp the internal logic that the person is using. 

Listening is one of the phases of a “conversation”, of a dialogue, of a relationship. Often, it is the most important. And the most neglected. Listening is an act of gift, understanding a person is a form of gift, and it can turn into a strategic act (for example, in a negotiation) but basically and in daily life, it can be considered a great gift. 

I call religious the one who understands the suffering of others. 

 (Mahatma Gandhi) 

Listening is absolutely not limited to wanting to understand the suffering of others (a theme that touches on psychotherapy, counselling, and helping relationships), but can also enter into increasing the performance of athletes, athletes, managers, businesses and teams, when listening is used as a primary weapon in good performance coaching. 

Empathy, then, also becomes a powerful weapon for overcoming the biggest challenges in our lives, or those of a client. 

© Article translated from the book “Ascolto attivo ed empatia. I segreti di una comunicazione efficace“. 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 any language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact Dr. Daniele Trevisani.

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Empathy and Active Listening

Stop communicating one-way and rediscover listening

Copyright by Dr. Daniele Trevisani. Article extracted with author’s permission from the book “Ascolto attivo ed Empatia. I segreti di una comunicazione efficace” (translated title: “Active Listening and Empathy: The Secretes of Effective Communication”. The book’s rights are on sale in any language. Please contact Dr. Daniele Trevisani for information at the website www.danieletrevisani.com

From pressing towards being persuasive to rediscovering quality listening

In our society, we live a sort of “pressing” towards being hyper-communicative and persuasive, quick-quick-wins, but never towards listening. This bias remains strong and pulsating. The time to slow down in order to reason, reflect, the time needed to generate quality and not just quantity, disappears. Yet paradoxically, even in companies – where quality is rightly idolized and rewarded – despite this, people among themselves never really and thoroughly listen to each other, sometimes even in a meeting. Not to mention conversations between bosses and employees.

We are all invited to “speak well,” to be “great communicators”, but less so to “listen well.” Listening also includes “listening to things”. Bridges talk, ships talk, cars talk, if only you know how to listen to their languages, if only you know where and what to watch for, if only you walk by with an eye, ear, and hands trained to catch emergencies, dissonances, and problems.

And if you feel like it.

– Listen to the ship.

– What’s there to listen to?

– Just listen to it.

from the movie “Pandorum – The Parallel Universe”.

We are pushed to be incisive, for example to pass a job interview, or in a public speaking course where we study the mechanisms to get an applause, or in advertising, the strategies to communicate to targets and persuade. But it is always a “one-way” communication. It is never true listening.

Listening is a holistic process. You can listen to a person, you can listen to a waterfall, you can listen to a river. And that has to do with fundamental issues like safety. Never, ever, would anyone think of “listening to a bridge,” or a ship, or an airplane.

The other side of the communication coin, knowing how to listen, how to perceive, has disappeared. Incorporated by a world that “goes too fast” to afford the luxury of stopping to listen. Yet, without listening, we die. You don’t pick up on danger signals, you don’t grasp the nature of subtle messages.

Before it dies or gives way, a structure gives many signals, the case of the 300-meter viaduct that fell in Genoa[1] being an example.

During a period of my life of some years, when I was in charge of coaching Cruise Ship Commanders, with 5,000 people on board, and a staggering burden of responsibility on my back, I used to make the commanders and vice-commanders perform a special exercise, I used to say “Now lie down on the ground and listen to the ship“. “Close your eyes. Listen to the ship.” At first they were stunned, but then after a few minutes an enormous number of signals emerged, the perception became more acute, from the known vibrations to those they had never heard, from the noise of a pump they had never heard (yet it had always been there), to the ability to do a “holistic listening” of the ship, roll, pitch, including the men, the crews, their real conversations and emotional states in manoeuvre.

The “listening to the machine” part is called in my method “Structural Listening”, the “human” part is called “Listening to Emotional Climates, or “Listening to Emotional Aquariums” when applied to Team Leadership situations.

It is time to give dignity and method back to the “hidden part of communication” that is precisely listening, whether it is actively listening to a structure, or empathically to a family member, a worker, a supplier, or a client, or to better understand the data of a work project, to better connect to the emotions of others, to understand one’s own crew and team and understand in what emotional condition they are in, to know how to intervene when necessary.

[1] Date of occurrence: 14-08-2018

_________

© Article translated from the book “Ascolto attivo ed empatia. I segreti di una comunicazione efficace“. 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 any language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact Dr. Daniele Trevisani.

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ALM business method conversation analysis Emotion Management in Intercultural Negotiation Empathy and Active Listening Intercultural conversation management techniques Preparing for Negotiations like Professionals Sales Consulting Strategic Selling The Get-Ready Mindset: The Mental Approach of Professionals The Intercultural Negotiators’ Training

The Get-Ready Mindset: The Mental Approach of Professionals

© Article translated from the book “Strategic Selling: Psicologia e Comunicazione per la Vendita Consulenziale e le Negoziazioni Complesse” (Strategic Selling: Psychology and Communication for Consulting Sales and Complex Negotiations) 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

__________

In the following article I would like to introduce the concept of the “Get-Ready Mindset”, explaining the importance of an adequate preparation both on self-analysis and on the analysis of other people’s way of thinking and behaviours.

It is not easy explaining in a few words what the Get-Ready Mindset is, but I will try to do so by using a metaphor: it is the preparation work that boxers, karateka, or kickboxers do before facing an important match. 

This preparation consists of studying the opponent’s moves, analysing the videos of his/her fights and any possible material concerning him/her, such as what fighting styles he/she may know, his/her masters, his/her preferences, his/her previous defeats , who defeated him/her and how, what are his/her winning strokes, with whom he/she trains, etc.. It includes studying his/her resume, his/her history and the way he/she moves, searching for his/her strengths and weaknesses. 

After having analysed the “other”, it’s time to analyse ourselves:  

  • what are my strengths?  
  • What can I do to improve myself?  
  • Is improving a certain aspect of myself useful or useless?  
  • On what specific development should I focus for that meeting? And how do I convert all this into a training plan? 

We then proceed with building specific combat strategies and techniques. We create a road map, test the progresses made and the state of preparation on the ring with sparring partners. 

This training is related both to fundamental skills (strength, endurance, speed) and to specific techniques. No detail must be overlooked. 

This preparation combines strategy with hard daily gym training, made up of sweat and fatigue, so as to automate the techniques that are going to be used in the match. The best schools do not disregard athletes’ mental training, but they work on focusing and relaxation techniques and on the search for the most profitable mental state, which keeps away the “background mental noises” allowing athletes to be at their best. 

In fact, in every meeting, as I have been able to highlight in the intercultural negotiation field, it is important to know how to keep the background mental noises out of the arena, the retro-thoughts that can weaken us, making us lose tactical clarity of mind and situational awareness (Mental Noise Theory). 

In companies, as well as in sports, one must not rely on destiny or on the hope of being lucky, but on preparation, because that is the only way to strengthen ourselves, to rise to the challenge and to be able to face it. 

And again, a lot of sparring, simulation and training activities must be combined with the indispensable courage that facing challenges that can be lost takes.  

Sales and negotiation in complex environments require specific trainable skills: strategic analysis and communication psychology. In other words, high-level skills. Nothing that can be stereotyped or memorized. 

Just as the fighter prepares himself/herself in the gym, the negotiator can prepare himself/herself through role-playing and simulations. Just as the fighter analyses his/her opponent, mapping his/her strengths and weaknesses, companies can do the same to be ready for strategic meetings. 

We will explore each of these topics in detail. Effective preparation for strategic sales and complex negotiations concerns some very important points: 

  1. The inner will to adopt a consultative approach, with all its consequences: consultancy behaviours, an analytic attitude and a strong psychological and communicational training that can support one’s methods and actions; 
  1. the self-knowledge:  the knowledge of one’s strengths and weaknesses, combined with the full awareness of the value mix that a person, or a company, can create for customers or stakeholders, with whom they must deal; 
  1. the knowledge of others”: their vulnerabilities, their decision-making mechanisms, their balances and imbalances, their dissonances, the problems that can create a state of need or necessity in them, the drives and tensions capable of triggering them to purchase, while bringing us to the positive closing of a negotiation; 
  1. the spaces, options and ways of relating that lead to success, the traps that can cause our failure, the pitfalls, the lines of action and the sense of the “journey”, that must be undertaken to reach the goal by building the right path, step by step. 

"Strategic Selling" by Daniele Trevisani

© Article translated from the book “Strategic Selling: Psicologia e Comunicazione per la Vendita Consulenziale e le Negoziazioni Complesse” (Strategic Selling: Psychology and Communication for Consulting Sales and Complex Negotiations) 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

__________

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Intercultural Leadership

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

__________

Today’s article will focus on intercultural leadership. Starting from the definition of the term, we will then proceed with listing and describing the problems that may arise in an intercultural team and the skills that every leader must possess if he/she wants to work in a cross-cultural environment.

First of all, I would like to use the definition from the website 3blmedia.com to explain the differences between cross-cultural leadership, multicultural leadership and intercultural leadership:

“Cross-cultural, multicultural, intercultural…these terms are often used interchangeably yet have finely nuanced distinctions. For a leader, the cross-cultural context means literally crossing cultures to do business, provide service, or vacation in another culture. Multicultural refers to multiple cultures existing in a geographic place or organization, each separate and distinct. Intercultural refers to the act of understanding the values and beliefs of a culture and being able to communicate and collaborate with people across multiple cultures. Interculturalism has as its goal innovation, inclusion, and friendship. Intercultural ism implies interaction.”  (1)

 let’s now continue with Wikipedia’s explanation of intercultural leadership:

Intercultural leadership has been developed to understand leaders who work in the newly globalized market. Today’s international organizations require leaders who can adjust to different environments quickly and work with partners and employees of other cultures”. (2)

In other words, an intercultural leader must be able to:

  1. manage people from different cultures with cultural respect and an understanding attitude;
  2. achieve a common goal with his/her multicultural team.

Obviously, the problems that may arise in these cross-cultural contexts are numerous, for example:

  • intercultural differences in verbal and non-verbal communication;
  • communicative difficulties in the decision-making process, due to different cultural preferences for length of turns, pauses between turns, simultaneous talk, or discrete turns;
  • poor group cohesion;
  • etc.

Possible intercultural leadership challenges can be related to:

  • different cultural view of leaders’ behaviours: cultures accept different leadership behaviours and have different opinions about what can be considered appropriate and inappropriate.
  • Power paradox arousal: one part of the team questions the legitimacy and authority of the leader based on his leadership style.
  • Different culturally-based leadership expectations: members of multicultural team hold different culturally-based leadership expectations and prefer different leadership styles.
  • Team members’ culturally different reactions to leadership: team members from different cultures react differently towards the leader, based on the leader’s leadership style and on how a leader approaches them as team members. (3)

To overcome all this, intercultural communication skills are needed.

In fact, Intercultural management is more than just communicating, working and leading people across cultures. It is about interacting in a conscious and mindful way and it involves:

  • the readiness to recognize our own cultural conditionings and to discover how we came to believe and see things the way we do. This helps us to realize and accept that our own way to see and judge things is just one among many;
  • learning about the other person’s culture, including history, economy, political situation and all those aspects that help us understand the underlying reasons for someone’s behaviour, beyond our personal assumptions and values. This can provide a totally new perspective on a person or situation;
  • the ability to reflect on how our behaviour may be perceived, interpreted and judged by someone from a different culture, as well as the maturity to recognize how we may be unintentionally contributing to a problem (and how we can contribute to solving it);
  • the ability to adapt our behaviour in order to find a common ground with the people we work with, valuing cultural differences and co-creating new and better ways to do things. (4)

To conclude, in order to become global leaders, we cannot just learn how to manage a team or how to be charismatic, because that’s not sufficient. We are all living in a new globalized world, where everyone is forced to interact with many culturally different people, people with different opinions, values and beliefs, people that possess a different world view. All these people must work together to achieve greater results and only an intercultural leader, not a common manager, can help them do that.

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

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(1) https://www.3blmedia.com/News/Challenges-Intercultural-Leadership

(2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-cultural_leadership

(3) https://edepot.wur.nl/496325

(4) https://www.cuoaspace.it/2018/02/why-developing-intercultural-management-skills-is-essential-in-todays-complex-world.html

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Preparing for Negotiations like Professionals

© Article translated from the book “Strategic Selling: Psicologia e Comunicazione per la Vendita Consulenziale e le Negoziazioni Complesse” (Strategic Selling: Psychology and Communication for Consulting Sales and Complex Negotiations) 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

__________

In the following article we are going to introduce the importance of negotiation preparation, focusing on professional training.

In the business field there is a lot of confusion about what training is. Some people think that it is possible to prepare negotiators and salespeople through a couple of hours of theoretical lessons based on abstract theories and concepts, relying on university professors who have never sold anything in their life. 

Others rely on people who make them walk on fire, telling them that this will lead them to dominate the universe, with the practical effect of burning their feet, or drag them into sales meetings where they will have to sing and dance like poor delusional morons. 

Others rely on renowned consulting firms to carry out their assignments, hoping to solve the problem (since they have got trained negotiators and salesmen) by turning to alleged Gurus who show sparkling slides, effective phrases, authors with exotic and famous names. Useful, but insufficient. 

Others focus on the “do-it-yourself” method, making young people flank with senior sellers, without filters, with the practical effect of propagating and disseminating all their mistakes for generations and generations. 

A strong “awareness” is more needed, than a classic training, something that goes beyond stereotyped rules, for example:

  • learning to observe how we react to other people’s communications and how our internal dialogue works; 
  • understanding how to examine a conversation and grasp its strategic moves;
  • preparing to be an analyst. 

Serious training is a very strong form of learning. It starts with a self-analysis that no PowerPoint can replace, and allows us to come to terms with who we really are. 

Unlike those seminars held by “training shops”, a good deep coaching (personal coaching or team coaching) can help the person and the team to pay attention to what previously eluded them, and this has nothing to do with a classic training. 

We need to help people to act like professionals, to “think” like professionals. The search for Human Potential, hidden in every person, is neither easy nor immediate, and we all know it very well. But, sometimes, we look for shortcuts that do not exist. 

There are many situations in which communication changes things. 

We can have a job interview, that can represent a turning point in life, where we have to show who we are and prove what we are worth. 

The effects of every word and every gesture will be decisive. 

Effective communication can also solve the problem of finding a financier for a project, or make a dream come true. 

Many situations, one common denominator: the result of communication and negotiation activities changes life. Facing this intriguing world requires the examination of many variables. But let’s first look for a common trait and reflect on the few certainties we have. 

A first basic awareness is the need for great seriousness in those who work in the world of communication and complex negotiation: being aware of the fact that professional changes – changing-life effects – depend on the results of strategic negotiations. 

If negotiations are well managed, they can lay the foundations for a better future. On the contrary, if they are badly managed, they can cause enormous damage. 

A second certainty is related to the fact that a specific training is needed to communicate well. As a matter of fact, negotiations require a mental preparation: we must use all our mental resources, managing negotiations as professional and strategic activities (mental approach of the Get-Ready Mind Set), without neglecting any detail. 

A third certainty is linked to the need of taking care of the seller’s (negotiator or communicator) “machine”, even before worrying about its external performance. A person who’s feeling well, full of physical and mental energies, will have an excellent chance of expressing his/her communicative potential as well. Conversely, a physically debilitated or exhausted person, who’s also psychologically tired or feels out of place, will only make continual mistakes. 

As an important Italian psychologist and advisor, coach of the Italian national freediving team and freediving world champion, points out: “when you “immerse yourself” in relationships and negotiations you come into contact with yourself and your own subconscious, as a free diver does. 

Reasonable or unreasonable fears, conscious or subconscious anxieties or inconsistencies may emerge. 

If they block us, slow us down, we will suffer many negative effects. 

On the contrary, a person who keeps working deeply on himself/herself can “dive” safely both in water and in the most difficult negotiation, keeping his/her composure, despite the difficult environment, without losing his/her emotional awareness. 

"Strategic Selling" by Daniele Trevisani

© Article translated from the book “Strategic Selling: Psicologia e Comunicazione per la Vendita Consulenziale e le Negoziazioni Complesse” (Strategic Selling: Psychology and Communication for Consulting Sales and Complex Negotiations) 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

__________

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ALM business method Strategic Selling The Intercultural Negotiators’ Training

Communication, Sales Consulting and Complex Negotiations

© Article translated from the book “Strategic Selling: Psicologia e Comunicazione per la Vendita Consulenziale e le Negoziazioni Complesse” (Strategic Selling: Psychology and Communication for Consulting Sales and Complex Negotiations) 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

__________

Communication and negotiation are very delicate areas of human existence. Successes and failures, victories and falls, as well as the possibility of making dreams and ideals come true, depend on communication skills and that’s why the following articles will revolve around the tools for building our future: communication, strategic selling and complex negotiations.

Our desires, our human and professional aspirations – the ideas we would like to realize – our own life projects, etc. are all linked to this often-unexpressed ability to communicate, a latent skill, a flower to be made bloom. A skill that we rarely cultivate and study. 

It represents one of the most precious power of human nature: being able to express and share feelings, ideas, thoughts, visions, dreams, projects. 

Here below I would like to make a few examples related to the vital importance of communication skills: 

  • a diplomat or an officer have the lives of thousands of people on their shoulders when negotiating peace; peace and war have always been linked to misunderstandings, lack of communication, negotiation successes or failures; 
  • when an executive negotiates a decisive sale, he/she builds the company’s future; in fact, it also influences the future of the families of those who work in the company. His every move, his every action will have a consequence. 

The vital importance of these skills is not a metaphor, it is something tangible, real. We bumped into it in every job interview, where we were more or less good at presenting our strengths, more or less good at understanding who or what others were looking for, and why. 

The negotiation work is certainly not limited to the business level. 

The importance of communication skills can also alter (for better or for worse) the course of one’s love life; it can bring us closer to the people we love, or create distance, it can generate understanding or misunderstanding, passion or sadness, joy or pain. 

On one hand, good communication can give life to friendships and relationships that last a lifetime, but, on the other hand, bad communication determines the malfunction or irreparable breakdown of human and professional relationships. 

For every human being, the ability to communicate emotions, to open up to others, without letting these emotions being suffocated in an inner mental rumination, is a main factor of physical and mental health. 

Communication skills can even determine life and death, such as in military negotiations or for hostages’ release operations. 

In the business field, the abilities to analyse, present and listen are the core of every sales and partnership project and the heart of every complex negotiation. 

In this context, details also matter, for example: 

  • understanding who the real decision makers are, can change the life of a company; it may or may not let you win a competition, a tender, or the heart of a key customer; 
  • a typing error in an offer’s crucial point can produce a sense of carelessness and raise evaluation barriers, making the sale more difficult; but again… 
  • being distracted in the listening phase can make us lose important “signals” expressed by the interlocutor; 
  • catching or not catching a glance or a facial expression of approval or disapproval is also crucial. 

Concerning negotiations and human relationships, It is an exceptional achievement to understand each other, break the barriers of incommunicability, find ways to achieve cooperative success, and grow together. 

In fact, communicators, professional negotiators, salespeople, represent an active part of society and “put many things into motion”. Without them, companies cannot live. 

A company, where there is no one capable of selling, is a company on the edge of the abyss. All salaries come from a single source: sales. 

We must therefore prepare ourselves: the key is to develop our communication skills and support others’ growth. 

Communication skills must become a real asset (strategic resource) and not a weakness to be covered by discounts, rebates, humiliations, concessions and losses. 

This is why we must act with a fighting and strategic spirit, with a ready and resolute mind – an analyst’s mind – and “legs” ready to meet people everywhere. 

An ancient phrase, expressed by a Japanese Samurai, offers us a beautiful representation, which explains this attitude in a few words: 

Kenshin said: “Fate is in heaven, the armour is on the chest, the result is in the feet” (from the work “Cleary, Thomas. The Mind of the Samurai” by Adachi Masahiro, written from 1780 to 1800) 

The words of Samurai Masahiro help us understand that there are many areas of life that we cannot dominate, and others that are in our hands and that we must manage both personally and as a team. 

Kenshin’s “paradise” refers to global scenarios, for example the choices of the competitors, our armour is our preparation, our feet are the actions we choose to adopt. 

To conclude, we must absorb the fighting spirit proposed by Masahiro and adapt it to our purposes and our profession. 

There is no doubt that operating in sales today means having courage.

The courage of someone who goes out with a suitcase to win over a customer. 

The courage of those who face the world, of those who enter different cultures, new and unknown companies, of those who fight against stronger, more funded or powerful competitors, the courage of those who move on the front line. 

And even greater courage is needed to direct people, standing beside those men and women who work in the front line, especially in times of difficulty and greater need. 

This is leadership. This is a way of life. 

Negotiation is certainly a difficult game, but not a gamble. Serious negotiation never aims to produce free damage to the counterpart, but it is based on building “helping relationships”, that create value for all, and “winning relationships“, that benefit both parties. 

This also applies to marriage, where two people succeed in setting their own spaces of freedom for personal interests (sports, culture, gardening, travel, etc.), without letting marriage become a cage, but rather a springboard that can give power to both. 

This also applies to companies, when, thanks to a good negotiation, a project emerges, that no one, alone, would have been able to create. 

No result, however, is achieved by magic. We need negotiation activities and painstaking work to clarify roles, and roles boundaries. Relationships must be cultivated if we want to reap the fruit of our labour. 

In our everyday life we can negotiate consciously or unconsciously: for example, deciding which film to watch with friends can be considered a negotiation. In projects between companies, negotiation takes on an amplified, enormous importance, and can last for months. Months during which we must never loose our focus on the result. 

These needs require adequate training. 

Communication starts from a main need: the need to enter a relationship, to get in contact with someone or something, and – for those who work with negotiation on a professional level – preparing as professionals is the least that can be done. 

We have been negotiating since we were born, and we will do so for our entire life. 

"Strategic Selling" by Daniele Trevisani

© Article translated from the book “Strategic Selling: Psicologia e Comunicazione per la Vendita Consulenziale e le Negoziazioni Complesse” (Strategic Selling: Psychology and Communication for Consulting Sales and Complex Negotiations) 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

__________

For further information see:

TAGS:

  • ALM business method
  • active training
  • achieving results
  • awareness of one’s role in negotiation
  • Best coach in intercultural communication in the world
  • Best coach in intercultural facilitation in the world
  • Best coach in intercultural negotiation in the world
  • Best world consultant in intercultural communication
  • Best world consultant in intercultural negotiation
  • Best world expert in intercultural communication
  • Best world expert in intercultural negotiation
  • Best world trainer in intercultural communication
  • Best world trainer in intercultural negotiation
  • book on intercultural communication
  • book on intercultural negotiation
  • book on strategic selling
  • breaking the barriers of incommunicability
  • building relationships
  • communication difficulties
  • communication skills
  • communication skills acquisition
  • Communication techniques intercultural communication
  • Communication techniques intercultural negotiation
  • communication training
  • conversational skills
  • creative strategies
  • cross cultural communication
  • cross cultural misunderstanding
  • cross-cultural adaptation
  • cultural systems
  • dialogue between companies
  • different cultural approach
  • different cultural context
  • direct line of communication
  • disagreements
  • Effective intercultural negotiation techniques
  • face-to-face communication
  • fighting spirit
  • front-line communication
  • helping relationships
  • high-context cultures
  • How cultural differences affect negotiations?
  • How does culture influence negotiation?
  • intercultural communication
  • intercultural communication book
  • Intercultural communication books
  • Intercultural Communication Coaching
  • intercultural communication pdf
  • Intercultural Communication Trainers
  • Intercultural Communication Training
  • Intercultural conversation management techniques
  • Intercultural Negotiation
  • Intercultural negotiation books
  • Intercultural Negotiation Coach
  • Intercultural Negotiation Coaching
  • Intercultural Negotiation Communication
  • Intercultural Negotiation Consultant
  • Intercultural Negotiation Consulting
  • Intercultural Negotiation Counselling
  • intercultural negotiation definition
  • Intercultural negotiation exercises
  • Intercultural Negotiation in International Business
  • Intercultural Negotiation Mentoring
  • intercultural negotiation PDF
  • Intercultural Negotiation Process
  • Intercultural Negotiation Strategies
  • Intercultural Negotiation Timing
  • intercultural negotiation training
  • intercultural training
  • Intercultural Training Consultants
  • know-how
  • leadership
  • low-context cultures
  • negotiating rules
  • negotiation preparation
  • negotiator’s emotional awareness
  • negotiator’s growth
  • open communication
  • Strategic Selling
  • Sellers
  • strategic spirit
  • transparent communication
  • What are the 5 stages of negotiation?
  • What is effective intercultural negotiation?
  • What is intercultural negotiation?
  • winning relationships
  • working on attitudes
  • working on skills
  • World’s most famous expert in intercultural communication
  • World’s most famous expert in intercultural negotiation