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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


© 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

Keywords of the article on Neuro-Associative Programming and Communication

  • Analysis
  • Anxiety
  • Activation
  • Welfare
  • 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
  • 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

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

The ALM method

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

intercultural negotiation

For further information see: