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

已有 13721 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”.
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。
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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