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如何成为一名领导者

闲聊最难

我收到了很多热心的回复,大家都对我在第一篇博客里提到的我父亲和他们公司圣诞晚会的事很感兴趣。还有许多人写信告诉我他们每天也挣扎纠结于同样的问题:怎样与外国人闲聊。

这个问题不只存在于对中国人当中,几乎所有的移民以及在多文化环境中工作的人,都面临这个问题。下面这段话是我从George Pontiakos那里听到的。Pontiakos是一个希腊裔美国人,是之前我帮一家香港大集团猎到的北美区总裁。

“作为来自新移民家庭中的一员,我在我祖父和父亲的身上看到了一样的情形,那就是他们自身的活力和自信永远没法有效地转移到他们的工作中去。”

我自己在闲聊方面的经历和挣扎

其实我父亲不是家里唯一要应付这种局面的人。作为一个成长于美国70年代的第二代移民,我小时候经常被其他美国小孩喊成“中国佬”或者“细眼妹”。我们在家说中文,平时也不怎么看电视,所以我的英文总是比别人差,也不怎么了解美国文化。后来我的学习终于跟上去了,但对我来说最难的,仍然是课间以及放学后如何跟同学交往。当其他同学开玩笑的时候,我总是不能说到点子上,好像我总比别人慢半拍。

那几年,我只有靠读书来缓解这些让人痛苦又尴尬的情绪,书籍成了我的朋友和避难所,教我英文的阅读和写作。随着时间的增长,我的英文口语也随之提高。无论是在学校,还是在社交场合,甚至后来在我的职业生涯和其他公共领域,我的英文都不成问题。

解两边的语言和文化

然而,语言只是闲聊的一部分,学会闲聊还必须了解对方的文化,同时也要有自我认知的能力。我欣赏的朋友中不乏双语言双文化背景的人,例如在798艺术区经营画廊的李宜霖广告界的资深人士劳双恩,还有企业家胡泽群。他们的经历都告诉我们,了解两边的语言和文化能帮助他们在全球舞台上取得巨大的成功。这种成功不仅体现在工作方面,还体现于心灵上。能关注并参与中美两个社会,毫无疑问这是一件让人异常兴奋的事情,特别是现在中美正是最具有影响力两个国家。

FESCO招聘事业部经理李可亚,著名电视节目主持人那威和陈愉在录制现场

从我的角度来看,我已经完全美国化了,所以现在需要努力的就是把中文说得更好一些。从最近两期录制的CETV的节目里,你们可以看到我现在的中文水平非常有限。我的感触是,当你说的不是母语的时候,开玩笑变成了最难的事。(要观看节目,请点击照片)

熟练掌握一门新的语言并熟悉新的文化要花上几年的时间,而且遗憾的是这并没有什么捷径可循。我的这个博客在未来也会在这方面给你们提供帮助,比如说我会在博客中贯穿美国的流行文化。虽然这些博客文章被翻译成中文,但是我写的时候是用英文,用日常语言,用我们在美国和朋友说话的方式。如果你订阅的是中文博客,每封邮件里会首先出现中文博客,之后跟着的是英文。要订阅,只需要登陆www.globalrencai.com,在右上角输入你的email地址。

对于努力着想要学会闲聊的你们,要知道你们并不孤单。成百上千万有天赋、勇敢、优秀的人都和你们一样有相同的经历和感受,他们在全球文化中积极进取,同时也不断地改变着全球文化。我的这个博客就是为你们这样的人而设的。

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Discussion

10 Responses to “闲聊最难”

  1. Meng Zhang: Thank you for your inspiring story. Be bold and fearless! I like your attitude! Thumbs up!!

    Posted by 陈愉 Joy Chen | August 2, 2010, 00:54
  2. 我08年刚到美国的时候在UCSB上学,当时班上就我一个外国学生。我蹩脚的英文让我无法也不敢在课堂上发言。自信被一点点地消磨。但是有一天我开始告诉自己,要勇敢地站起来,举手,和勇敢地跟我的所有美国同学说话。我用了整整三个月的时间客服这个困难。虽然时间很长,但我很感激有这样一段经历。它让我变的不害怕,自信和坚强。
    我觉得,自我暗示和自我鼓励很重要,告诉自己能跟美国人交谈。大胆地去尝试,一切就都会好起来。

    Posted by 张孟 meng zhang | August 1, 2010, 14:30
  3. Dear Jack: Thank you for sharing your personal story. I can really relate to your situation, though for me it happens when I am in China and I sometimes feel so “out of it” even when I am hanging out with my friends. I hope that you will persist in speaking with the Americans, and ask questions when something comes up that you are unfamiliar with. You may find that they are more than happy to explain. All the best, Joy

    Posted by 陈愉 Joy Chen | July 28, 2010, 23:52
  4. 来美国快九年了,small talk仍然是个问题。我和我老婆(中国人)说,现在的我的英语如果是我和一个美国人交谈,没有问题,因为我可以控制题目和内容。但如果我站在一边听两个美国朋友闲聊,我很多时候都不知道他们在谈什么,尤其是细节。还有交朋友的问题,我不是没有非常要好的美国朋友,但很少很少。我其实是一个非常outgoing的人,但从刚熟识到混成老友,对方如果是中国人,又有共同爱好,也许两个礼拜就够了;但如果对方是美国人,这个时间也许是无限长。。。

    Posted by Jack Wu | July 28, 2010, 21:25
  5. Pan, thanks for your intriguing comment! The good news is that in fact, many Americans are starting to learn Chinese – or at least, they are demanding that their children receive Chinese-language education in schools across the States. I think there is an increasing interest in Chinese culture here. Over time, I think that Western global business culture will start to take on some Chinese characteristics, but that may take a generation. Looking forward to continuing the dialogue!

    Posted by 陈愉 Joy Chen | July 26, 2010, 16:12
  6. Hi Joy,
    Thanks for proposing many interesting topics for young Chinese students like me. I’m intrigued by you a lot of times. But i feel a bit pessimistic that we have to know what we don’t value in the Chinese culture like the baseball game. I don’t know what the Japanese and Jewish people talk to the Americans in a party, but they obviously have many things to “teach” the Americans. Not only because they are money lord and technology pioneers, but also they preserve their unique cultures well that even Americans are absorbed into the “Manga.” Americans are a realistic people; what you have is what you are valued. Only behaving good in networking events probably can not help Chinese people to gain the most fundamental power. I wish they will get busy learning Chinese in the near future. :)

    Posted by Pan P. | July 26, 2010, 12:40
  7. Dear Grace, thank you for letting us all know of the challenges you face, and how you have started to triumphantly surmount those challenges. I like your approach of selecting a few popular topics to learn about, and chat about. That is a very practical tip, and I know the other GlobalRenCai readers will benefit from it. Sounds like you are having a very rich experience in the UK. Best wishes to you!

    Posted by 陈愉 Joy Chen | May 21, 2010, 06:04
  8. Thank Joy for your blog where I can improve both my professtional skill and my English.

    I have studied in UK for almost one year, although my academical writing and presentation have been improved dramatically and got good marks for my study, I still feel I’m difficult to catch the small talk with my younger classmates who are mostly 1980s. Because most of their topics I never heard before and I really don’t know the background of them. Moreover, I don’t think I can understand every topic’s background in the short time.

    Recently I applied to be volunteer in a musuem, where most of other volunteers are over 50s. I found my oral skill has been improved very quickly, espically for the recent topic of general election in UK.

    Therefore, I make a concluion that although I can’t do well in every small talk, firstly, I can chose some insteresting topics, then try to understand the background or difference between that in the west and east, then try to find the right group to practice them. Next time I will find other topics. I felt it’s a really useful way to improve my communication skill.

    Posted by Grace Zhuang | May 21, 2010, 05:59

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30岁前别结婚
这个世界瞬息万变。Global Rencai是一个关于世界游戏新规则的建议性博客。Global Rencai是“全球化人才”的中式英语表达方式。博客作者陈愉曾是华裔美国洛杉矶副市长,现为全球化的公司提供猎头服务。要订阅博客,就到这个网页输入你的博客地址:globalrencai.com