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ALM business method Intercultural conversation management techniques Negotiation Cultures, Negotiation Time Frames and Timelines

Negotiation Cultures, Negotiation Time Frames and Timelines (part 1)

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

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The temporal dimension and the perception that each of us has of communicative time vary on a cultural basis. For this reason it is important to carefully analyse this issue and learn how to use negotiation timelines efficiently.

Negotiation is a sequence of communication activities, in which the participants commit themselves to achieve a result, only possible thanks to a form of agreement between the parties. Finding an agreement that satisfies them both, as well as understanding each other well, are therefore obvious factors of success, that take up communication time. 

Each negotiation can be considered intercultural when the participants come from different cultures, have different experiences or use different languages. 

Diversity introduces large margins of error and misunderstanding into the negotiation: any message that works in one’s own culture risks being misunderstood in other cultures. One of the dimensions of greatest cultural variability is the “sense of time” and the time management, two important factors that are also part of the negotiation timing

Each culture has its own “negotiation times” and latent negotiation practices. For Americans (generalizing a lot) what matters is the business, so, a company that was born recently, and therefore young, can be treated as a company that has existed for a century. But this culture also has other manifestations. Since what matters is the content and merit, in the US a trained university student can present his/her research or paper at a conference, alongside academics, if the work is worth it. His paper would initially be selected without even knowing who the author is (the “blind review” method). 

In Italy, on the other hand, it is important to first understand who you are dealing with (history analysis, contextualization research, network research), who this person’s “friends” or “enemies” are, who is his/her sponsor, where he/she comes from. A young “non-sponsored” student won’t be able to present his/her research in a conference beyond his/her value. Time has different values and structures. 

So, for an Italian negotiator it may be necessary to focus on the story of whoever is in front of him/her, evaluate his/her credibility, and test him/her. He/she would take small steps, moving gradually closer, before concluding something big. 

The US negotiator, on the other hand, will proceed with the subject’s potential examination and take into consideration how much he/she can gain from this agreement with this subject, finding an immediate conclusion. 

The Japanese interlocutor will analyse history and give a high importance to roles and to the respect for honour. 

The South American interlocutor will focus on spending time together and become friends, gaining trust, getting to know each other, entering the “family”. 

We must always keep in mind that these timelines are extremely variable even within the same culture. Nothing guarantees us that a Brazilian behaves according to the stereotypical timeline, becoming a “mask” of his/her own culture. 

During an intercultural negotiation, the different ways, in which we perceive physical contact can turn into confrontation, or into discomfort for both parties. 

The contrast between cultures is evident when a European goes to an African or an Asian country, but this work’s objective, its focus, is to highlight how the intercultural factor forcefully breaks into every negotiation, even those between husband and wife in the same house, or between companies of the same country. 

Whenever different cultural systems (values, beliefs, thoughts, convictions, ways of expression) come into contact, there is a certain degree of interculturality, and diversity is often much wider than we think. 

Contact between cultures can produce stress or a formidable growth for human beings. Diversity results can lead to creativity and excitement, but also to misunderstandings and disagreements. 

In the worst-case scenario, misunderstandings and disagreements generate conflict, preventing personal and common goals from being achieved. 

One of the most important advice for intercultural negotiators is to try to share a negotiating timeline, by seeking an agreement to collaborate effectively, avoiding disagreements and misunderstandings. 

To be continued…

"Intercultural Negotiation" by Daniele Trevisani

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

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Empathy and Active Listening identity construction USA - Melting Pot

USA, an Interesting Melting Pot

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

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Today I would like to talk about USA and its incredible melting pot. Starting for US history, I will introduce the concept of melting pot, underling its pros and cons in the business field.

US Multicultural History

The United States are famous for the wide variety of cultures that live inside their borders. But how was this melting pot created? Let’s look at some interesting passages in the history of this country.

Before 1600 A.D. North America was inhabited by many indigenous peoples (Native Americans) with different identities, religions, beliefs and cultures, who lived in tribes. Thanks to the Atlantic Ocean, these people lived in their own world, apart from all other societies.

This period lasted only until the European colonization. In 1492 Christopher Columbus, financed by Spain, made the first of four voyages to the New World, landing in the Bahamas. From this point onward, European countries started a gradual colonization of North America. English, Spanish, French, Dutch, etc. moved to the new world in search of a new life of prosperity, each of them bringing his/her own personal culture. These many cultures got into contact with native Americans’ cultures, giving birth to a multicultural community.

Furthermore, many African slaves were forced to these areas, where their culture was added to the already existing cultural mix.

All these cultural differences brought improvements and conflicts, especially conflicts. Wars between Natives and Europeans, as well as fights among different European colonies, were quite frequent.

As we all well know, after years of inner and outer wars, USA became an independent nation in 1776, but being independent wasn’t enough to stop all conflicts derived from multiculturalism. In fact, from 1861 to 1865 America fought its Civil War, which began as a result of the unresolved controversy of the enslavement of black people and its disputed continuance.

Even though the loyalists of the Union won, putting an end to slavery, African American people had had to suffer abuse, violence, racism and racial laws for many years. Even now there are people, who are not able to accept other identities and cultures that refuse them without a concrete reason.

Before and after the two World Wars, the US welcomed a great number of immigrants from all the continents and what we have now, after years of cultural mixing and wars, is an incredible melting pot.

Melting Pot

In order to describe the concept of “melting pot” I’m going to use the perfectly summarised definition of Wikipedia:

The melting pot is a monocultural metaphor for a heterogeneous society becoming more homogeneous, the different elements “melting together” with a common culture; historically, it is often used to describe the cultural integration of immigrants to the United States. The exact term “melting pot” came into general usage in the United States after it was used as a metaphor describing a fusion of nationalities, cultures and ethnicities in the 1908 play of the same name by Israel Zangwill.” (1)

US melting pot is linked to cultural assimilation or Americanisation. This means that instead of maintaining cultural differences, USA politics prefer mixing them up, while creating a unique culture based on these multicultural features. This new unique culture represents the US identity.

But what are the pros and cons related to this attitude to multiculturality?

As we saw in US history, bringing culture together means generating innovative and original world views, as well as creating conflicts, misunderstandings and rejection. The same happens in business.

We live in a complex, interconnected world where diversity, shaped by globalization and technological advance, forms the fabric of modern society. In this era of globalization, diversity in the business environment is about more than gender, race and ethnicity. It now includes employees with diverse religious and political beliefs, education, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientation, cultures and even disabilities.

Diversity in the workplace is an asset for both businesses and their employees, in its capacity to foster innovation, creativity and empathy in ways that homogeneous environments seldom do. Yet it takes careful nurturing and conscious orchestration to unleash the true potential of this invaluable asset. (2)

If these differences are not rightly managed, conflict is inevitable. Cultures will clash and business performances will be affected by this tense working atmosphere. For this reason, it is important to create a business environment that minimizes intercultural disharmony (3), while giving all employees the possibility to freely express their ideas and values, without prejudices.

To conclude, looking at the US history and at its melting pot, we can understand that without cultural awareness, there is no cultural respect. So, open your mind, feel free to express your own cultural identity, but be aware that your view of the world can be different from others and you have to accept it. Do not impose your ideas and opinions, just share them and be happy if others share their own personal cultures with you, because this cultural contact will enrich you and will give birth to a person able to see the world in many different ways, thus capable of finding original solutions to every problem.

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melting_pot#Melting_pot_and_cultural_pluralism

(2) https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/04/business-case-for-diversity-in-the-workplace/

(3) https://www.forbes.com/sites/hbsworkingknowledge/2013/12/09/how-cultural-conflict-undermines-workplace-creativity/

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

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Categories
ALM business method Empathy and Active Listening intercultural communication intercultural negotiation

Empathy and Active Listening (part 2)

© Article translated from the book “Parliamoci Chiaro: il modello delle quattro distanze per una comunicazione efficace e costruttiva” (Let’s Speak Clearly: the four distances model for an effective and constructive communication) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Communication 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, whose rights are already sold and published. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or any other language, or seek Communication Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the website www.danieletrevisani.com 

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Let’s continue explaining the advantages deriving from empathy and active listening, basic principles of the ALM business method.

Silence

Quality listening requires silence.

When you listen, in silence, even the subtlest rustle acquires meaning. By combining any sensory information, we are able to perceive more in a quiet situation, rather than in a chaotic one. If we can’t grasp information, we will never be able to interpret it, to give it meaning, to evaluate it and to understand its meanings.

Active listening and empathy should not be confused with accepting another people’s content.

The rules of active listening are methods that allow thoughts to flow as freely as possible. The so-called “unconditional acceptance” is valid in a psychotherapeutic context, but not necessarily in everyday communication.

Inner Dialogue and Authenticity

We often talk to a very close person: ourselves.

A very important topic linked to communication topic and personal growth concerns the concept of “Basic Rogersian Distance” or Self-incongruity.

With this term we intend to summarize a critical aspect presented by Carl Rogers in his work Client-Centred Therapy, dedicated to the process of individual growth and self-development.

According to Rogers, one of the most conditioning variables in personal growth is the presence of incongruity, whose critical nodes are:

  • believing things concerning us that are not true, and
  • not realizing how we really are.

The synthesis of Rogersian thought highlights these mechanisms:

  • people are often not aware of what they are doing. A manager may think to have managed a deal well, without realising that the other party si laughing just outside the door;
  • people are often unaware of their mistakes. They blame the negative results on the forces of fate and avoid conducting an introspection that could leads them to discover that they have defects and that they must improve. This prevents them from grasping their goals and their need for personal growth;
  • it is difficult to become aware of one’s real behaviours and errors, until one seeks and accepts as many honest feedbacks as possible, while facing an authentic interlocutor who can help the person open his/her eyes by highlighting inconsistencies.

For a self-perception dystonia to emerge and not degenerate further (and in some cases it really degenerates into a deep crisis), it is necessary that the person must be able to benefit from an extremely rare yet indispensable condition: having internal or external consultants, trainers, coaches or counsellors, who know how to observe a hidden reality and are willing to deal with extreme authenticity without distortions and fears.

The consultant is an increasingly important figure. As Rogers himself observes, authenticity is the basis of the effectiveness of any helping relationship. In the ALM method authenticity is essential as an engine for development, and its benefits far outweigh its costs.

Authentic relationships are extremely rare, but we can and must make every effort to actively build them, research them and create the conditions for them to occur, both in everyday life and in business life. This means speaking clearly.

In a consulting approach, authenticity is necessary to let problems of image emerge. Authenticity is part of any relationship: there is an authenticity towards us (we must stop lying to ourselves) and an authenticity towards others (we must stop hiding behind fake social masks).

To sum up, personal efficiency and effectiveness are positively correlated to:

  1. the knowledge and awareness of one’s own identity, culture and communicative behaviour;
  2. the time and energy devoted to the active construction of an ideal image of oneself and of one’s company and the willingness and concreteness in improving oneself;
  3. one’s self-knowledge, favoured by an authentic consultancy and counselling relationship capable of bringing out distortions and inconsistencies between the person’s real situation, and his/her false opinions, beliefs and self-deceptions.

The negative factors that can affect corporate and personal efficiency and effectiveness are:

  1. poor awareness of oneself;
  2. lack of analysis and active construction of an aspirational identity (ideal self, ideal image);
  3. lack of awareness of one’s own gaps;
  4. persistence of self-deceptions that have not emerged and are not treated as such;
  5. inability or unwillingness to implement a personal growth plan, hoping that “things will work out, anyway”. If you don’t do something serious and specific, they will never be fixed.
"Let's Speak Clearly" by Daniele Trevisani

© Article translated from the book “Parliamoci Chiaro: il modello delle quattro distanze per una comunicazione efficace e costruttiva” (Let’s Speak Clearly: the four distances model for an effective and constructive communication) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Communication 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, whose rights are already sold and published. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or any other language, or seek Communication Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the website www.danieletrevisani.com 

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For further information see:

Categories
intercultural negotiation

Personal Look, Clothing, Accessories and Other Elements of Symbolic Communication

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available 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 Symbolic Communication Meanings

Can we assert that a manager with long hair, earrings and colorful clothes is considered the same as a manager in a dark suit and tie, in the eyes of a European bourgeois traditionalist client? And again, having a picture of Che Guevara on the wall, or a photograph of the Pope, what does it convey to those present? We can know practically nothing about the real history of the subjects, except the symbols we see and from which we derive possible meanings and associations.

Symbolic communication concerns the meanings that people associate or perceive from particular “signs” that they notice in the interlocutor and in his or her communicative space. By communicative space we mean here any area of ​​elements that is attributed to the subject’s “system”, to its possible expressions, whether aware or not, such as his car, or the background of his PC, and any other sign from which we derive inferences, meanings, interpretations.

From the semiotic point of view, every element from which a subject draws meanings becomes a “sign”, whether the bearer is aware of it or not. Look, clothing and accessories are among the most incisive factors in building a personal image. Differences or similarities in clothing make a subject fall within the professional ingroups (“one like us”, the “equals”) or outgroups (“one different from us”), whatever represents “we” for the subject .

Among the primary elements of symbolic communication we find clothing, hair and hairstyle, jewelry, watches, professional tools (telephones, laptops and other computer tools), but also the marks on the body (cuts, abrasions, tattoos) , the condition of the skin (care, presence of beard and its condition, make-up, body and face hair, skin color, tan, sweat). In a system of enlarged signification, the symbols that express the brands used, the type of car (work, city, off-road, sports, luxury), the designer labels, and even the furniture of the offices, the paintings hanging on the walls, furniture.

Chronemic behaviors (the following of actions over time) are also broadened signals, such as the frequency we notice in changing clothes, punctuality, tranquility or nervousness in the way of driving, the times a person takes in eating or drinking (slow and calm vs. fast and voracious). Even the time it takes a person to answer a question can be significant: slow or too meditated answers can be interpreted as insincere in Western cultures, or on the contrary wise and thoughtful in “high context” cultures such as Eastern ones. It can be said that in the field of intercultural communication nothing escapes the observation of the interlocutor, and every “sign” contributes to its classification and evaluation.

The use of ties, dark tailored suits, high-quality shoes in shiny leather, is one of the emblems of the Western manager and represents one of the cornerstones of “image sales”. The problem at an intercultural level is given by the perception of others within the systems of personal signification. Some managers, insurance salesmen, and corporate executives in career, thinking of “loading” on the front of professionalism, are taken by the temptation to hyper-flaunt brands, luxurious shoes, designer and eye-catching ties, precious watches, unknowingly creating a greater distance than it would be desirable.

The same problem of “status anxiety” applies to the ostentation of excessively flashy cars or to any other accessory that communicates excessive superiority and produces distance. In terms of intercultural impression management (strategic image management), some behaviors – eg: arriving by helicopter – can be implemented voluntarily, to create a status barrier and create feelings of inferiority.

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:

Categories
intercultural negotiation

Expanded Channels

© 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 Communication Tools

Some clichés on multicultural college campuses are that whites “taste like chicken”, Asians “smell of garlic”, blacks “taste of sweat”, and other curious stereotypes. The olfactory differences on the ethnic and genetic level are really existing, but the perceived sense of smell is largely determined by cultural factors such as nutrition, cleanliness or the use of perfumes. Personal olfactory emissions are a communication tool.

It is certain that the sense of smell affects perception, and that nutrition produces essences that exude from the skin and breath. These aspects are to be taken care of for those who want to manage every aspect, even the smallest details, of intercultural negotiation and more generally of human contact The answer is not to become a hyper-perfumed manager wrapped in clouds of strawberry essence, but a conscious management of conscious and subconscious smells.

Even the smell of the room in which you negotiate, the olfactory perceptions encountered along the path, in the corridors, in the parking lots and squares, form the overall “people perception” (the image of the other). Anything that can be attributed to some extent to the subject or to the corporate environment affects perception and image. Some clothing chains have resorted to the targeted odorization of the stores to create a more relaxed and pleasant atmosphere (environmental olfactory marketing).

Smell is a remote sense of the human being, partially abandoned in favor of senses such as sight and hearing. Animal “noses” are able to pick up smells that signal sexual emotions or predispositions, while human noses seem to have lost this trait, as Hall points out: The consequence of the loss of importance of smell as a means of communication, was an alteration in the type of relationship between human beings, which has probably endowed man with a great capacity to resist crowding. If humans had noses as powerful as rats, they would forever be tied up and involved with the full range of emotions and mood swings that people around them need.

Other people’s anger, for example, would have been something we could smell. In homes, the identity of any visitor and the emotional connotations of the various objects and their history would be subject to public registration and dominion as long as their smell lasted: psychotics would drive us all mad, and the anxious would still dilate our anxiety. To say the least, life would be much more complex and intense: it would be less controlled by consciousness, because the centers that preside over smell in the brain are older and more primitive than the visual centers …

Hall’s question is what sense is capable of generating interpersonal trust. Hall points out that in animals the sense of smell is still decisive, while in humans sight and hearing have assumed greater importance: the passage of the body’s confidence from nose to eye, the result of environmental pressures, has given a completely new face to the human condition. The typical human design ability has been made possible by the wider reach of the eye that encodes immensely more complex data, thus encouraging thought and abstraction. The sense of smell, precisely because it is so intimately connected to emotionality and sensual satisfaction, pushes man exactly in the opposite direction.

The evolution of man has received the mark of the development of “remote receptors”, sight and hearing. The signals of trust and distrust, the perception of the emotions of others, are therefore to be refined above all in the negotiator’s ability to grasp the emotionally uncontrolled facial movements, the vocal timbre and the breaks in the tone of the voice that signal vocal and emotional stress.

Other studies, however, argue that the olfactory capacity has only diminished and there are continuous olfactory exchanges at an unconscious level, for example the analysis of possible sexual compatibility between men and women.

At the interpersonal level, negotiation olfactory strategies capable of recognizing emotions on a pheromonic basis (hormones secreted by human glands) are not possible at the moment, but targeted and strategic personal odorizations are still possible. There are practical implications for a conscious personal odor – avoiding foods that can give rise to strong emissions through the breath, avoiding excessive personal fragrances, being aware of personal smells (eg, sweat), considering the importance of adequate olfactory environmental marketing.

In broad terms, non-verbal communication also includes the behaviors held during the negotiation interaction, actions on objects, use and manipulation of tools. For example, during a sale in which you demonstrate how a tool works, the skill and skill with which you manipulate an instrument represents a message (and therefore a form of communication). And again, when taking notes, our interlocutor can pay attention to the care with which you write, to the ticks on the pens, to the precision shown in drawing a diagram.

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:

Categories
ALM business method Empathy and Active Listening Non-Verbal Intercultural Communication

Empathy and Active Listening (part 1)

© Article translated from the book “Parliamoci Chiaro: il modello delle quattro distanze per una comunicazione efficace e costruttiva” (Let’s Speak Clearly: the four distances model for an effective and constructive communication) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Communication 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, whose rights are already sold and published. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or any other language, or seek Communication Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the website www.danieletrevisani.com 

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Today we are going to introduce the concepts of empathy and active listening, fundamental elements of effective and authentic communication.

Listening well means paying attention to what the other person is saying, sometimes rephrasing the most important points of the conversation, so as to be sure you understood correctly. While listening we must also apply empathy, which means we have to try to understand our interlocutor without judging him/her prematurely and to put ourselves in his/her shoes.

Listening badly or in a confused way can cause quarrels and conflicts, because we would react based on something we couldn’t understand or that we could only partially understood.

In addition to that, when talking about “relational distances”, we must remember that we can create or remove distance both during the emission phase (when we are sending a message) and the listening phase.

Some listening techniques here become fundamental:

  • Reflecting: acting as a mirror, reformulating what has been understood. This technique allows you to open the conversation to new content.
  • Deflecting: recognizing topics that are not relevant in the conversation, while being able to expel them from it.
  • Probing: testing information with a related question. For example, you can say ” Based on what you told me, I understand that you don’t like him: is that correct?”.
  • Recap: summarize and relaunch. Make some recapitulations of all information that has been collected so far and get the conversation going with new content.
  • Contact: use non-verbal languages constantly, such as eye contact, nods, guttural and paralinguistic expressions or phatic signals (signals used to express that you are following your interlocutor, like “ok”, “understood”, “ready”, etc.).

Imagining two people expressing themselves well but incapable of listening, it’s like observing someone who tries to pour water, pure and clear, into a sealed vessel.

But what are the different types of listening we can use to improve communication?

Here below you can find a scale of listening types. The lower positions give rise to large communicative distances, while as you go up, the distances are reduced.

Screened / Distorted / Inaccurate Listening

It is a very bad listening, performed with disinterest or in a state of fatigue. There is no real willingness to listen, and the person would like to get out of the conversation as soon as possible. It produces great relational distance between people.

Judging / Aggressive Listening

It is a type of listening very often used, where one listens only partly to what the other is saying and it does so only with the aim of judging or to take his/her turn as soon as possible. He/she always tries to speak, often attacking, without actually understanding what the other person said.

Apathetic / Passive Listening

It is a type of listening that does not judge but does not even appreciate. The person seems mummified and does not give any signals. It can sometimes create distances, but it certainly won’t bring people closer. The passivity comes from the lack of use of non-verbal communication,

Listening from Time to Time

It is a very common attitude, probably the most common. At times we are there, then we are distracted by something else, like a phone call or a message, and then we go back to listening, and so on. It is a type of listening that creates distances.

Selective Listening

Selective listening is used to discover precise information on a certain topic. As such, it can be considered an “approaching” listening only if the topic is of personal interest; otherwise it resembles too much an interrogation: a conversational format that does not bring people closer.

Active / Supportive Listening

Active listening is accompanied by precise verbal formulas, such as recaps, reformulations of short sections of the conversation, attentive and participatory non-verbal languages. this is a type of listening that can reduce distances.

Empathic Listening

Empathic listening possesses both the characteristics of active listening and the attitude of wanting to deeply understand the interlocutor’s emotional experience. It is therefore a listening format that brings people closer.

Sympathetic Listening

When you use a sympathetic listening, you show sympathy and human warmth towards the person you are listening to. It is not an empathic listening, since it can also contain interruptions and sentences where one talks about himself/herself, but it is a formula that brings people closer, especially when carried out with sincerity.

To be continued…

"Let's Speak Clearly" by Daniele Trevisani

© Article translated from the book “Parliamoci Chiaro: il modello delle quattro distanze per una comunicazione efficace e costruttiva” (Let’s Speak Clearly: the four distances model for an effective and constructive communication) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Communication 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, whose rights are already sold and published. If you are interested in publishing the book in English, or any other language, or seek Communication Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact the author from the website www.danieletrevisani.com 

__________

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intercultural negotiation

Paralinguistic Channels

© 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 

Non-Verbal Training and Formation

Paralinguistics concerns all vocal emissions that are not strictly related to “words”, and includes:

  • the tone of the voice;
  • the volume;
  • the silences;
  • breaks;
  • the rhythm of speech;
  • the interjections (short emissions, like er, uhm …).

Paralinguistics establishes the punctuation of speech, and helps convey emotional information. Messages such as “I am tense”, “I am angry” or “I am well disposed” ooze more from the paralinguistic system than from the linguistic system. A sentence can carry completely different meanings that depend on the emphasis on words and tone of voice.

Exercise of modulation of meanings through the non-verbal and paralinguistic system

The exercise involves the modulation of meanings through the non-verbal system, gestures, intonations. Convey the different meanings associated with the following sentence: “Our company may be very interested in your proposal”. Possible formulations to be interpreted:

  • Our company may be very interested in your proposal (emphasis on ours; meaning to be conveyed: “other companies less”)
  • Our company may be very interested in your proposal (emphasis on can; meaning to convey: “we don’t know, we’ll see, doubtful”)
  • Our company may be very interested in your proposal (emphasis on a lot; meaning to convey: “really interesting”)
  • Our company may be very interested in your proposal (emphasis on interested expressed in a doubtful way; meaning to be conveyed: “interested, but it’s all yet to be seen”).

Non-verbal training and formation

Training in the use of paralinguistic requires training on the strategic use of pauses and tones. In general, training for the non-verbal includes access to all repertoires of theatrical and actor techniques, the Stanislavskij method and other theatrical training methods, the only ones truly capable of acting in depth on the transformation of expressive behavior.

Adequate training can be useful to train the negotiator to grasp the trembling of the voice of others (symptom of nervousness and stress), and the non-verbal reactions to one’s statements, to act “theatrically” through movement, pauses and alternating rhythms to give emphasis parts of the speech and key points to emerge. As with any other managerial task, without adequate preparation the chances of being competitive on a negotiating level decrease when the balance of skills is unbalanced.

As the gap between our training and the level of training of the counterpart increases, the risks of an unfavorable outcome of each negotiation increase.

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:

Categories
intercultural negotiation

Body 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 

From Facial Expressions to Body Movements

The body speaks, expresses emotions and feelings. Even attempts to block these emotions and feelings are themselves “meta messages”, seeing a person expressing no emotion, acting as an “emotional mummy“, is itself a signal that leads to specific reflections. Body language concerns:

  • facial expressions and facial expressions;
  • nods of the head;
  • the movements of the limbs and gestures;
  • body movements and distances;
  • touch and physical contact.

Cultural differences on these points can be very large. Cultures vary a lot on the type of gestures. In an Italian-Chinese negotiation, clear differences can be seen between the Italian gestures (on average wider) and the Chinese one, more contained, as well as in the facial expressions, more evident for Italy and more contained for China.

A negotiator operating in China can therefore choose to contain their gestures and their emotional expression, to “dampen” the stereotypical image associated with their culture, or rather increase it theatrically, to “play a part” and amplify their stereotypical identity. . There are no golden rules on what is best to do, each choice is strategic and linked to the context of the moment, to “contextual appropriateness“.

Physical contact is one of the most critical and difficult elements to deal with on an intercultural level. While some Western standards of physical contact are spreading throughout the business community (eg: shaking hands), each culture expresses a different degree of contact in greetings and interactions. Managing hugs, kisses, touching the body, knowing who can touch whom, remains a difficult point, to be solved above all by resorting to an analysis of the local culture. In general, if it is not possible to gather accurate information from local culture experts, it is advisable to limit physical contact in order not to generate a sense of invasiveness.

Personal Distances

Proxemics defines “the observations and theories concerning the use of human space, understood as a specific elaboration of culture” (Hall, 1988). In his studies, Hall highlights how distances are a highly cultural elaboration, and are managed by each culture in a different way. On the negotiation front, the implications are numerous: being close to or far from the interlocutor is a precise negotiating message.

Standing in front or to the side, or even on the same side, is another form of message. Every culture has unwritten rules for delimiting the boundaries of acceptability of interpersonal distances and people’s dispositions. Also in this case, the principle of resorting to the knowledge of experts of the local culture is valid, while a valid rule in case of lack of knowledge is to let the counterpart define their own degree of distance, without forcing neither an approach nor a removal.

The main awareness to develop is that of the “critical distance” (Hall), which defines the interpersonal distance within which a subject feels vulnerable, exposed to the risks of aggression. Human critical distances have an animal basis and a strong cultural variance, with Arab and Latin cultures often more “close” and Anglo-Saxon cultures very “distant”.

Personal distance is like “an invisible bubble that surrounds the body” Beyond the intra-cultural rules, some attitudes relating to distances are transversal to cultures because they are anchored to the human animal root. For example, “leaving your seat”, giving space to someone, is a tool for assigning status and recognizing the importance of the interlocutor. As Hall points out: stronger, superior individuals tend to establish greater personal distances than the specimens occupying lower positions in the social hierarchy, while it is known that weaker, subordinate animals give way to superior animals.

Therefore, at an intercultural level, “leaving the place” will be a move towards rapprochement, a recognition of status. For the conscious negotiator, it is not to be understood as pure submission, but it can also take on the function of a tactical move, an act of relational courtesy that precedes the actual negotiation confrontation. Making people uncomfortable, on the contrary, is used to establish great distances.

Some negotiators use tactics specifically aimed at upsetting the emotional balance of the subject, making people wait in excessively hot and narrow waiting rooms, without bathrooms or with distant services, for a long time – it is an example of a breakthrough move. Especially when the subject has made a long journey, the temptation to leave will be blocked by the thought of having made a useless journey, and of any repercussions.

The appropriate tactic is to require a higher degree of comfort, but only if you have the almost mathematical certainty that a specific move is underway, and those are not the real maximum reception conditions that the subject is able to offer. The frontal disposition of people is generally considered confrontational, while on the side it is considered more collaborative, and on the same side “between equals“. As Hall points out, “every animal needs a critical space, without which its survival is impossible”. In terms of negotiations, the space to be considered is both environmental and psychological.

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:

Categories
ALM business method Non-Verbal Intercultural Communication

Non-Verbal Intercultural Communication (part 2)

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

__________

In this second part I would like to continue talking about non-verbal communication and its characteristics, this time focusing on training, sensory perception, personal look and colour, while explaining the importance of identifying assonances and dissonances between verbal and non-verbal language.

Training

Training on the use of paralinguistic elements means learning the strategic use of pauses and tones. It includes many repertoires of theatrical and actor techniques, such as the Stanislavskij method, probably the only one truly capable of transforming expressive behaviours.

Without adequate preparation the chances of being competitive on the negotiating level decrease. As the gap between our training level and the training level of the counterpart increases, the risk of an unfavourable outcome during a negotiation grows.

Sensory Perceptions

Some clichés spreading in multicultural college campuses are that whites “taste like chicken”, Asians “smell of garlic”, blacks “taste of sweat”, etc.

The olfactory differences on an ethnic and genetic level do exist, but the perceived smell is largely determined by cultural factors such as nutrition, cleanliness or the use of perfumes.

Personal olfactory emissions are a communication tool.

It is certain that the sense of smell affects perception, and that food produces essences that exude from the skin and breath. If we want to manage even the smallest details of intercultural negotiation and, more generally, of the human contact, we must take care of these aspects.

Anything that can be attributed to the subject or to the corporate environment affects perception and image. Some clothing chains have resorted to the targeted deodorization of shops to create a more relaxed and pleasant atmosphere (environmental olfactory marketing).

Smell is a remote sense of the human being, partially abandoned in favour of senses such as sight and hearing. Animal “noses” are able to pick up smells that signal sexual emotions or predispositions, while human noses seem to have lost this trait.

There are practical implications for conscious personal deodorization: avoid foods that can produce strong breath emissions, avoid excessive personal fragrances, be aware of personal odours (e.g. sweat) and consider the importance of olfactory environmental marketing.

Personal Look

We usually know nothing about people’s real history. We can only assume it by looking at the symbols they decide to show us. There are signs/symbols everywhere: on the interlocutor and in his/her communicative space. Symbolic communication concerns the meanings that people associate to and perceive from those particular “signs”. By communicative space we mean any area linked to the subject’s “system”, such as his/her car, or the background of his/her computer, and any other sign from which we derive information, meanings and interpretations.

From a semiotic point of view, every element from which a subject draws meaning becomes a “sign”, whether the bearer is aware of it or not.

Look, clothing and accessories are among the most incisive factors that build one’s personal image.

Differences or similarities in clothing, for example, can put a person inside a professional ingroup (“one like us”, an “equal”) or an outgroup (“one different from us”), depending of the meaning that the word “us” has for the interlocutor.

In a widened signification system, the symbols associated to the brands used, the type of car, and even the office furniture, can become very important.

chronemic behaviours (the string of actions over time) are also broadened signals related to how frequently we change clothes, punctuality, way of driving (calm or nervous), way of eating (slow and relaxed vs. fast and voracious), etc.

Even considering the time a person takes in answering a question can be significant: slow or overly thoughtful responses can be interpreted as insincere in Western cultures or wise in Eastern cultures.

It can be said that in the field of intercultural communication nothing escapes the observation of the interlocutor, and every “sign” contributes to its classification and evaluation.

Colours

An additional element of symbolic communication is colour. The use of colours and the symbolisms associated with colours also vary according to cultures.

It is not possible to list all possible associations for every colour in each country, but I would like to underline the importance of paying attention to the symbolisms associated with colours, because there are many problems that could arise when choosing colours and graphics, for example in packaging, in business gifts and in objects.

Even objects and symbols are not neutral: an Italian company, for example, used the symbol of an open hand to create the company logo and key rings, producing a wave of protests in Greece, where the open hand symbol is used to offend.

The basic principle to avoid macroscopic errors is the use of pre-tests: a “pilot test” on some member of the local culture, who are able to give a feedback on the appropriateness of colours, shapes and symbolisms within their cultural context.

The pre-test method also applies to the choice of gifts, presents, and any other symbolic action whose impact may vary on a cultural basis.

Consonances and Dissonances between Verbal and Non-Verbal Language

Non-verbal communication can reinforce the verbal message or be dissonant with it.

Listening carefully and nodding can express interest more than just a verbal statement. Saying “I’m interested” with words and expressing boredom or disgust with body actions produces a dissonant signal and creates suspicion or irritation.

The coherence (matching) between words and actions:

  • increases the subject’s perceived honesty;
  • denotes trustworthiness;
  • shows interest;
  • shows that we are in control of the situation;
  • produces a sense of security and solidity of content.

On the contrary, the incongruity:

  • creates a sense of mistrust;
  • generates a feeling of lack of authenticity;
  • produces doubts and suspicions, because the heard verbal content is considered false.

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

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

The dissonances concern every semiotic system, every sign that carries a meaning. A company that declares itself important and does not have a website, or has an amateur website, expresses an incongruent image of itself.

"Intercultural Negotiation" by Daniele Trevisani

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

__________

For further information see:

Categories
intercultural negotiation

Intercultural Non-Verbal Communication

© Article translated from the book “Negoziazione interculturale, comunicazione oltre le barriere culturali” (Intercultural Negotiation: Communication Beyond Cultural Barriers) copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available 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 

Attitudes Create the Relationship

A fundamental aspect of negotiation, often overlooked, is the non-verbal communication that takes place between the participants. Body language can express a great variety of meanings, which “ooze” and burst into the negotiation even without the direct control of the subjects.

The negotiator careful to measure words may be little aware of the non-verbal level, and of the “underground” exchange of messages that the body and facial expressions let filter through. The main channels through which the negotiator can launch messages are composed of the paralinguistic system (vocal aspects of communication, excluding the linguistic aspect, such as tones, accents, silences, interjections), body language (body language ), and personal accessories, including clothing and general look.

In order to negotiate at an intercultural level, it is necessary to create a relationship, and bodily attitudes are able to strongly express the satisfaction of the interlocutor, as well as disgust and emotional suffering. The perceived attitude in the other depends largely on “how” the behavior is expressed, rather than on the linguistic content, which remains on the surface of the relationship itself. In depth, the relationship is determined by the attitudes of the body and face, by the looks, by the facial expressions, and more generally by the whole non-verbal repertoire of the communicator.

For example, it has been noted that it is easier to say “you” to someone wearing an unbuttoned tie rather than a strictly tied tie. Obviously, the fact of being “soft” or not rigorous in clothing creates a feeling of less rigidity and greater tolerance towards friendly behavior. This does not mean wearing a tie fastened or unfastened, but simply confirming that attitudes affect the relationship, and that among attitudes there are also apparent details such as the degree of fastening of a tie, or the rigor of clothing.

But, at the same time, it can be seen that an unfastened tie is acceptable in Italian management (a sign of relaxed attitude) or in American management (a sign of a “busy” attitude, of those who work hard), while it is much less acceptable in German management. , or in companies with a high degree of formalization of hierarchies. Therefore, the intercultural negotiator must always consider the possibility that some signals of attitude used in his own culture are caught in a diametrically opposite way in a different culture.

Escalation and de-exclalation: managing the non-verbal to develop a communicative climate and reduce tension

Wrong non-verbal and bodily attitudes can easily lead to an escalation (rise in tension, nervousness and irritation), while the task of the intercultural negotiator is to create de-escalation: moderation of tones, relaxed atmosphere, favorable environment for negotiation. Only settings in which tension is intentionally created, which are not the norm and must be treated separately, as special techniques to be used with caution, are excluded from these principles. The general objective of intercultural negotiation is to be effective and achieve results, which generally involves a climate of cooperation.

The objective of the intercultural negotiator is to activate the conflict deescalation procedures “by default” (as the starting position of every negotiation), the practices that lead to a non-conflictual negotiation situation. What are these practices? In general, each culture uses different non-verbal rules, and therefore a manual would be needed for each nation or culture with which to deal.

The problem with these “easy manuals” is their poor resistance over time (cultures evolve) and in space (cultures change even within a few kilometers and in social strata within the same city), and the concrete possibility – taking them for good – to apply stereotypes that are no longer valid. In the absence of precise indications that come from up-to-date connoisseurs of the culture itself, we can use as a starting point some general rules of good communication to reduce the potential for error, as exposed by the Public Policy Center of the University of Nebraska:

  • calm, non-aggressive tone of voice;
  • smile, express acceptance of the other;
  • facial expression of interest;
  • open gestures;
  • allow the person you are talking to to dictate the spatial distances between you (spatial distances vary widely from culture to culture);
  • nod, give nods of assent;
  • focus on people and not on documents on the table;
  • bend the body forward as a sign of interest;
  • maintains
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: