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© 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.

Really important encounters are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other. 

(Paulo Coelho) 

Cultural and professional backgrounds, combined with our personal history, our state of mind, our values, make us unique “systems”. 

Everyone is unique, a ‘sphere’ of meanings, energies, dreams, ambitions, tangible cells, and intangible thoughts. 

Listening means getting closer to that sphere. Deep listening means entering that sphere. 

The more you activate empathy, the more you enter the “core” of the person. 

Each person can be likened metaphorically to an energy field, a field of light, which at some time meets other energy fields, other fields of light, finding or not finding possibilities for exchange, osmosis, transmission of signals, or remaining distant, impermeable. 

 

“Eventually soulmates meet, for they have the same hiding place.” 

(Robert Brault) 

 

If I assume that we will magically understand each other, I will not be doing quality listening. Listening means being ready to approach worlds we do not know, and not just letting words in through our ears. 

We find ourselves in a world in which everyone is within their own ‘sphere’ – a set of thoughts, signals, words, values, – together referred to in the HPM method as the ‘Semiosphere’. Each of us lives in a ‘world’, in a sphere of words, concepts, ideologies and beliefs about the world and ourselves. Communication poses the challenge of passing messages between people from different backgrounds. Listening must always consider the possibility that the other person has a different culture from ours, even if it is only slightly different, which would imply the need to listen without preconceptions. Even the difference between a humanistic and a technical-engineering education can create a degree of incommunicability. Not understanding each other is more frequent than we think. 

 

Every day we go around in a crowd, we run here and there, we almost touch each other but, there is truly little contact. All those missed encounters. All those missed opportunities. It is disturbing when you think about it. Maybe it is better not to think about it at all. 

(Jonathan Coe) 

 

Every professional or family background offers you a world of words that you use daily, until those words become your world. This world becomes your daily sphere, your sphere of words, your sphere of relationships, your sphere of high or low, strong, or weak energies. 

At some moment, these spheres have occasion for contact, but the different backgrounds make understanding not automatic or obvious. 

When this moment of contact occurs, the two ‘spheres’ can repel each other ‘by the skin’, like two balls of equal magnetic charge repel each other.  

Attraction or repulsion occurs when archaic elements of the brain (archipallium) give us signals of displeasure or pleasantness, towards a face or smells that offer us signals of danger, or with signals that also come from body language, posture, smiles and facial expressions. If the signals are negative, they alert our alarm systems, they are certainly not conducive to listening, but if we know that they are being activated, we can go beyond those signals, listen, and perceive with greater awareness what is happening inside us. 

Listening to a person who disturbs us is something we avoid as much as possible and reduce to the bare minimum, and we notice this even between people who love each other but have had a fight. There is no less talking, there is less listening. 

Listening therefore means much more than hearing words, but observing movement, the body, gestures, facial expressions, objects, moods. 

Miraculously (but it is not a miracle, but the effect of well analysable human mechanisms) the opposite can also happen, a magnetic-like attraction, a human contact where we can find an understanding with someone, a way to share something between our spheres of meaning. And almost always, in this case, listening will become an extremely pleasant process. 

 

I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter. 

(Winston Churchill)

© 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.