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How to make comments in meetings 在会议上發言(原文及译文)

已有 13461 次阅读 2008-8-7 02:34 |系统分类:科研笔记

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 How to make comments in meetings
 
Almost everyone likes to express him/herself. Just look at the popularity of blogs. Making comments and/or criticism of what others say is a close second. In scholastic endeavors, One can write “letters to the editor” to comment on published articles. Some journal even have “discussion” section following each article devoted to this purpose. More frequently, audience in a meeting are given Q&A time following the presentation of each paper in a session to let people comment on the paper.
Aside from legitimate inquiries, making a comment serves other purposes:
  1. It lets the reader to vent his/her anger or frustration. Or it shows support for the opinion expressed. This form is most prevalent in anonymous comments for blog articles. We won’t dwell on them.
  2. It helps to illustrate further the content of the presentation for other reader and the audience
  3. Show off the knowledge and expertise of the commentator.
#2 and #3 are legitimate goals and represent a large percentages of all comments but are rather difficult to carry out. Done carelessly, it backfires on the person making the comments and leaves a bad impression of him or her on the audience. Yet in many meetings, I continuously see people make such foolish remarks with the hope that they are impressing others (出風头).
 
The point is that to accomplish either #2 or #3 requires that you understand completely the essence of what the author/presenter is trying to say BUT the presenter is lacking the skill to convey the content. You on the other hand, know a better way of making the point and can do it orally in no more than a couple of sentences (一針见血). This is a task not easily done in real time nor can it be done for every presentation. But if done properly, both the author and the audience will be impressed by and grateful to you.
 
What I recommend for young scholars eager to make a name for himself is to practice silently what I said in the above paragraph for each presentation you attend in a meeting (but don’t actually do it). This practice has many virtues other than making you known. First it forces you to cut away all kinds of noise and chaff and get at the essence of a paper/presentation quickly. In these days of information overload, to be able to quickly decide the relevance of an item is a big advantage. Second. To be able to re-organize a presentation in real time gives you practice to react quickly to questions and comments on your own presentation when the time comes. Thirdly, to be able to be brief and to-the-point is a skill worth cultivating in your career. Lastly, to sense what others wanted to but was not able to convey and say it clearly and succinctly for him is the mark of a good listener/speaker.
In short, I am not recommending that you get up and comment on every paper/presentation you attend (for you will become a bore very quickly), but listen to every presentation as if you are going to with the italicized paragraph above in mind.
Most of us will only have a few truly good ideas in life. The above recommended practice will help you to publicize your ideas when the time comes.
 
Let me recall a personal incident years ago at a meeting in the US. An English speaker came with a set of transparencies in French (this is before the days of PPT and LCD projectors). His excuse is that he had just gave the presentation in Paris and it is “convenient” for him (i.e., he is lazy) to use the same transparencies even though he will be speaking in English to an English speaking audience. My reaction is that this is either disrespect for the audience or he wants to show off his knowledge of the French language. Either case is inappropriate. So I waited until the Q&A period, stood up, and said (in Chinese followed with translations of course) “ I asked the question in Chinese because it is more “convenient” for me to do so.”  This brought down the house and I received a standing ovation. I may have made an enemy but won many friends in the mean time.
 
Although this is a non-technical example, it does illustrate the point I am trying to make concerning “Making comments”.
 
                            怎么在会议上发言?
 
很少有人不喜欢表达自己。只要看看博客的流行程度你就知道了。每时每刻都有人在评论或者批评别人的文章。在学术工作中,你可以通过写“编读往来”来评论已经发表的文章。一些期刊甚至在每篇文章后面都专设了“讨论”部分,目的也在于此。而更常见的情况是,会议听众在每篇论文报告后的问答时间里有机会就报告的内容发表评论。
 
发表评论除了提出一些合理的问题外,还有其他一些目的:
1.  读者可以借机宣泄自己的愤怒或挫折感,也可以表达对作者观点的支持。这种形式在博客的匿名评论中最为普遍。我们这里暂且不谈。
2.  它有助于向其他读者和听众进一步阐明讲话的内容。
3.  炫耀评论人自己的知识和专业水平。
 
第二点和第三点都是无可非议的,在所有的评论中,这两者占了大多数,不过,要实现起来还是有相当的难度。评论者一不留心就会事与愿违,给其他听众留下坏印象。然而在许多会议上,我还是不断看到有人因为想出风头而作出愚蠢的评论。
 
我想说的是,要实现第二点或者第三点,你必须完全理解作者或报告人想表述但却因缺乏相应技巧而无法传达给读者的问题本质。另一方面,你还要比报告人表达得更好,能够通过口头表达就一针见血地阐明问题。当时立即要实现这一切并不是件容易的事情,而且也不是每个报告都可以进行这样的评论。但是,如果你做得恰如其分,就会给作者或者听众留下深刻的印象,而且他们会为此感谢你。
 
我建议那些非常希望尽快打出名气的年轻学者们,在参加每次一次会议报告时,都默默地按照我在上一段中所说的实践一下(但不是实际去做)。这种训练除了能让你成名外,还有其他好处。首先,它迫使你排除各种干扰,迅速弄清论文或报告的本质。在当前这个信息过剩的时代,如果你能迅速决定信息的相关性就会占有很大的优势。其次,如果你能够边听边整理报告,就有机会在自己作报告时,对别人的提问和评论作出快速反应。再次,简明扼地表达自己是非常值得努力掌握的职业技巧。最后,如果您能够感觉到别人想说却说不明白的内容,然后言简意赅地替他表达出来,这表明你是一个很好的听众或演讲人。
 
简而言之,我不是在建议你站起来对每篇论文或每个报告评论一番(因为这样做你很快就会讨人厌),而是,把上面斜体段落的内容铭记于心,在倾听每个报告的时候就好像你真的要发表评论似的。
 
大多数人终其一生也不过只有为数不多的几个真正好的想法。上文建议的练习方法会帮助你在机会终于降临的时候,把自己的想法推销出去。
 
我回忆起多年前在美国的一次会议上亲身经历。一位讲英语的人使用了一套法语玻璃幻灯片(这是在PPT和液晶投影仪之前的用具)。他的理由是他刚刚在巴黎做了这个报告,尽管他是用英语演讲,而且下面的听众也讲的是英语,他用同样的幻灯片比较“方便”一些(也就是说他很懒)。我当时的反应是要么此人对听众不尊重,要么他想炫耀自己的法语。但无论如何这么做都是不恰当的。因此,我等到问答时间的时候站了起来(先用中文然后用英语翻译了一下),我说:“我用中文问问题因为这对我而言更‘方便’。”我的举动博得了满堂喝彩,大家起立为我鼓掌。也许这样做我多了一个敌人,但同时赢得了许多的朋友。
 
尽管这是一个非专业性的例子,但它确实能够说明我在“如何发言”这个问题上想要表达的观点。(科学网 任霄鹏译 何姣校)
 


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