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让自己成为一个善于倾听的人

  Question: Are You a Good Listener?

  提问:你是个善于倾听的人吗?

  Answer A: Yes

  答案一:是

  Answer B: No

  答案二:否

  Answer C: Sometimes

  答案三:有时候是

  The correct answer to the above question, for you and for me, is:

  上述问题的正确答案是:“三:有时候是”,这是我的答案,兴许也是你的答案。

  If you think about your circle of friends, work associates and family members, you can almost certainly pick out one or more people among them who are generally not good listeners. They’re too busy listening to themselves or rushing around impatiently, or whatever. You have probably become accustomed to their weakness in this respect, whether you like it or not. If this person happens to be your boss, you’re in bad luck, but far from alone.

  历数身边的朋友、同事和亲戚,你肯定会毫不犹豫地从中挑选出一个甚至几个不善倾听的人。他们整天忙着自说自话、东奔西走或是其他事情。无论你是否喜欢,你可能早就对他们的这些缺点习以为常。假如这个人恰好又是你的老板,那你的运气可真够差的!不过,你绝不是唯一的倒霉蛋儿。

  Equally, if you think hard, you can probably think of someone you know who is a very good listener. If you’re fortunate, that person is a good friend, loved one, close colleague, or mentor. If that person is your boss, then it’s equivalent to winning the Mark Six, and you are very lucky indeed.

  同理,如果你使劲儿想想,肯定也能从认识的人里找到好的听众。走运的话,这个人可能是你的好友、至爱、搭档或者良师。如果碰巧这个人是你的顶头上司,那你简直是幸运透顶,不亚于中了六合彩。

  All too often, we associate the benefits of good listening skills with achieving very specific outcomes, like following the boss’s orders (aimed at getting a job promotion, etc.), getting a good test score (aimed at gaining admission to a good school), completing a list of assigned tasks (e.g. doing the household errands in a timely manner, aimed at avoiding harsh words from the higher authorities).

  太多的情况下,我们总是把善于倾听的好处和实现极为特定的目标直接挂钩,比如对老板唯命是从(目的是获得晋升机会等)、提高考试成绩(以便考取名校)、完成分配的各项任务(比如及时做完家务,免遭长辈训斥)。

  We tend to undervalue the importance of our listening skills as well as the scope of their potential application. We think of them as something pretty basic, which we mastered in our formal schooling, along with dictation, rote learning, studying for tests, obeying instructions, etc.

  但我们低估了倾听技巧的重要性,以及它潜在的适用范围。我们误以为倾听是最基本的技能,我们早在上学期间就通过听写、背书、备考、辅导等方式熟练地掌握了它。

  This is a shame. Someone should have taught us that listening skills should be the focus of ongoing, lifetime learning and development, related to but separate from the life-long quest to improve our language and communication skills.

  其实我们应该为此感到脸红。也应该有人提早地教会我们,倾听技巧是终生学习和进步的核心,它与孜孜以求地提高语言能力和沟通技巧既有关联,又相互独立。

  Think about the number of failures, misunderstandings, screw-ups, flare-ups, arguments and disputes which occur because two people or groups didn’t listen to each other effectively. We’re surrounded by this kind of outcome yet, all too often, we don’t analyze the root problem, or work on improvement steps.

  想想两个人或两个团体由于不能做到彼此有效倾听,曾经导致过多少失败、误会、拧巴、碰撞、争论还有分歧。但即便类似的结果比比皆是,我们依旧不会分析问题的根源,或寻求改进的方式和步骤。

  We still tend to treat listening skills the way we treat learning to walk or learning to ride a bicycle: we think that once we’ve acquired them, we’ve got it; we’re done, and ready to move on to the next thing. Wrong. The problem is that people and language are far more complex, varied and subtle than the roads and trails we travel on.

  我们把学习倾听的技巧等同于学走路或学骑车:以为一旦学会,就可以牢固掌握,就可以开始做下一件事情了。错!问题在于人种和语言的复杂性、多样性及微妙性远远超过了我们行走或行驶的道路情况。

  Apart from the fact that poor listening skills often erode effective dialogue between people, think about the upside potential. If we were able to consistently reduce routine misunderstandings in our conversations at home or at work by a factor of, say, 20-30%, there would be welcome dividends in efficiency, elimination of tiresome repetition and clarification, and just plain enhanced good vibes. What’s not to like?!

  事实上,差劲的倾听能力往往会降低对话效率,姑且抛开这个不谈,让我们从积极的方面着想。假如我们能致力于将家庭或办公对话中常见的误会减少20–30%,就能提高效率,消除耗时耗力的重复和澄清,获得良性共鸣。何乐而不为呢?!

  If we’re intrigued and enticed by cutting our carbon footprint by 20-30% or more, why not get equally focused on cutting our “confusion footprint” by a similar measure? The world around us would also benefit from this.

  假如我们醉心于减少20-30%的碳排放,为什么我们不能对降低同样比例的“困惑”一视同仁呢?周遭的世界也会从中受益。

  Often, the best talkers are the worst listeners. I have interrupted many glib, smooth-talking salespeople by asking how they could be so presumptuous as to try to sell me something without even asking about my needs. This is still a very common mistake.

  最能说的人往往是最糟糕的听众。我曾打断过许多口若悬河的推销员,问他们为什么不事先了解我的需求,就武断地向我兜售产品。直到现在,这仍然是一个常见的错误。

  Effective listening relies on the ears, in partnership with the mouth. Asking is to listening as yin is to yang.

  有效倾听不仅要依靠耳朵,还需要嘴巴的配合。提问之于倾听,就如同阴阳的相伴相生。

  Most of us need to develop our patience in the context of listening. The older we get the more challenging this is, because we tend to think that our great, deep body of experience entitles us to offer advice on a wide gamut of questions and issues, solicited or otherwise, especially to people younger than us.

  我们大多数人都需要培养倾听过程中的耐心。年纪越大,就越不容易做到这一点。因为我们都自认为积累了丰富的经验,有资格对各种问题指手画脚,特别是替年轻人指点迷津,也不管人家是不是乐于请教。

  If someone confides in us about something, we tend to assume they are seeking our advice. Maybe not. Maybe they just want a receptive ear and a supportive smile. That’s part of the challenge of listening — determining when the speaker wants a response, or advice, or feedback, and when they’re just looking for a good listen. To figure that out, sometimes we need to ask, which is an integral part of the listening process.

  如果有人向我们袒露心声,我们就以为对方是在寻求建议。事实也许并非如此,他们需要的可能只是倾听的耳朵和支持的微笑。这也是倾听的难题之一——判断讲话者何时需要答复、建议、反馈,何时又只需要倾听。为了做出判断,我们有时需要发问,这也是倾听的组成部分。

  What are you doing later today? Why not go out of your way to do a better job of listening to somebody? If needs be, raise your question to statement ratio, to ensure you get to the heart of what they are trying to say.

  今天你还有什么事情要做?为什么不好好地听某人说说话?如果有必要,问个问题,确保你明白对方讲话的实质。

  It just might do you — and them — some good.

  这可能会对你——还有讲话的人——有所帮助。

文章责编:wuchong  
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