© 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
First Component: the Communication Code
Culture is considered in this method as a set of patterns of thought, categorization, behavior and communication, which are both learned (during the individual’s growth) and inherited (the result of the genetic behavioral code). These patterns influence world perception, communication and behavior. Furthermore, following the theoretical perspective of Watzlawick and others, communication is considered as a process that occurs both intentionally and involuntarily, at any moment the behavior occurs in the presence of others.
From a semiotic perspective, the fundamental unit of analysis and the first component of communication perceived during interaction is the sign, the largest inclusive category of entities of meaning. Signs are what we emit, and they constitute the external communicative behavior perceived by a receiver or observer. Therefore, verbal behaviors, non-verbal behaviors (imagine for example the body posture we assume in front of an interlocutor, and its unspoken meanings), written communication, symbols, images we use to communicate are signs. The signs (used to communicate) and the meaning of the communication are linked by a communication code, which in turn is made up of subcodes.
A communication code is therefore intended as a system of rules used to connect expressions (any sign used to communicate, both verbal and non-verbal) to the underlying meanings. Awareness of the multiple codes of communication is essential for communication quality. Every conscious communicator / negotiator knows that his or her body emits signals all the time, and that these signals can be inconsistent or congruent with verbal signals (words or phrases spoken). We can say – in words – to be serene, but transmit with the body the feeling of being tense and nervous, and our interlocutors will notice it .. We can verbally express pleasure and unconsciously transmit repulsion.
The problem of communication codes is above all a problem of communication style, which requires the choice of the type of language to be used. What style, what language do we use to express the message? Let’s use a metaphor on the styles of sexual communication: … we currently know four different languages in sexuality, each of which gives a completely different imprint to the same situation.
For example, if she wants to be penetrated, a woman may ask:
- “Insert the penis into the vagina” (technical language);
- “I would like to feel you inside me, to see the stars” (romantic language);
- “Fuck me and make me enjoy” (pornographic language);
- “With the jade staff open my lotus flower” (poetic language).
Every negotiator, every communicator, consciously or not, uses a linguistic style. Style can be seen in every phase of speech and conversation, in every written communication and even in physical media (materials, objects).
A negotiator can open the conversation with a business interlocutor by stating:
- «We are here to evaluate how it is possible to build a project together» (cooperative language);
- “It is necessary to evaluate the feasibility and the possible break-even point of one of our joint ventures” (English-speaking managerial language);
- “Ok, we’re here, now let’s cut it short, tell me your conditions and hurry up, I don’t have time to waste” (aggressive language);
- “Let’s try to explore our common horizons and see if a dawn can rise between us, I hope not a sunset” (poetic-ironic language).
Awareness of the codes and styles used is essential, since codes and styles can be antithetical or similar, functional or dysfunctional with respect to the objectives.
For further information see:
- Website of Studio Trevisani Academy For Business Training, Coaching e Mentoring, in Italian
- Website Dr. Daniele Trevisani in Italian
- Dr. Daniele Trevisani – Website in English
- Comunicazioneaziendale.it Italian website on Business Communication
- Medialab Research Cultural Association for Communication Research
- Dr. Daniele Trevisani Linkedin Profile in English
- Facebook Channel
- YouTube Channel