或许你没有帮对方解决烦恼,可是耐心的倾听也可以让对方心情开朗。你是一个很好的倾听者吗?下面小牛英语教大家如何当好倾听者 Lessons in listening。
 

 
A woman I know who does online dating says she is often baffled by the seduction techniques of the men she meets. In person, most just boast to her at great length. Few of them stumble on the winning formula: ask her about herself, and actually listen.
 
我认识的一位女性在网络上征婚,她说她遇到的男人们的把妹技巧经常让她困惑不已。他们大多数人只是长篇大论地自吹自擂。很少有人能够找到制胜之道:即让她说说自己的事情,并且认真倾听。
 
Listening may be the key social skill. But humans have probably been bad listeners since Adam and Eve ignored God’s edict and ate the forbidden fruit. Now many experts believe that the digital era of endless stimuli has made things worse. “The average human attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds, but by 2013 it was only 8 seconds (one second shorter than a goldfish!)” concluded Microsoft Canada, after doing research on 2,000 Canadians.
 
倾听或许是至关重要的社交技能。然而,自打亚当和夏娃无视上帝的命令偷尝禁果以来,人类很可能一直都是糟糕的倾听者。如今很多专家认为,充斥着无穷刺激的数字化时代让事情变得更糟。“在2000年,人的专注时长平均为12秒,到2013年降为仅8秒(比金鱼还短1秒!)”微软(Microsoft)加拿大分公司在对2000名加拿大人进行研究后得出了这样的结论。
 
I have studied good listeners — including spies, therapists and reporters (not columnists) — and tried to work out how they do it. The first step is to bin the preconception that the person you’re talking to is boring and predictable. Most people do have something worth saying, if only you can help them say it.
 
我研究过好的倾听者——包括间谍、治疗师和记者(不包括专栏作家)——试图搞清楚他们是如何做到的。第一步是要抛弃先入之见,即对话者是乏味无趣的。大多数人的确有一些值得一说的事情,只要你能够帮助他们说出来。
 
The second step is, therefore, to shut up. You may be aching to dive in and interrupt the speaker with a brilliant insight or joke, but don’t bother. He doesn’t want to listen to you either. As the British-spy-turned-Soviet-double-agent George Blake points out in his autobiography, “Most people are not particularly interested in your opinions or what you have to say, but very interested in voicing their own opinions and telling their own story.”
 
因此,第二步是闭嘴。你可能很想热切地加入其中,以一个绝妙的洞见或笑话打断说话人,但不要这么做。他也不想听你说。就像曾是英国间谍,后来又成为苏联双面间谍的乔治布莱克(George Blake)在其自传中指出的那样:“大多数人对你的观点或者你要说什么并不是特别感兴趣,但却非常喜欢表达自己的观点和讲述他们自己的故事。”
 
Let them tell it. Blake suggests “making an occasional encouraging remark or asking for an elucidation”. Let silences fall, because people will often blurt things out just to fill them. A London lawyer tells me he always warns clients that when the barrister cross-examining them goes quiet (often simply to leaf through his notes), they need to keep their mouths shut.
 
让他们说出来。布莱克建议“偶尔鼓励一下说话者,或者要他们说清楚一些”。保持静默,为了填补这种静默,人们往往会脱口而出一些事情。一位伦敦律师告诉我,他总是警告他的客户,在盘问他们的出庭律师安静下来时(通常只是为了翻阅他的笔记),他们需要闭上嘴。
 
When people are listened to, they can come out with the most amazing things. If someone tells you something like, “I’m thinking of murdering my husband,” show no surprise and just nod understandingly. The bad role model to bear in mind is the Woody Allen character in Crimes and Misdemeanors listening to his sobbing sister recount, in graphic detail, an erotic encounter gone wrong. The Allen character covers his eyes and shouts, “Oh, oh, oh! That’s so disgusting. My God, that’s the worst thing I ever heard in my life … Barbara, you idiot!”
 
在有人倾听的时候,人们会说出最令人惊奇的事情。如果有人告诉你“我在考虑谋杀我的丈夫”这类的事情,不要面露惊讶,只需理解地点点头。要牢记于心的坏榜样是伍迪縠伦(Woody Allen)在《罪与错》(Crimes and Misdemeanors)中饰演的角色,在听着妹妹一把鼻涕一把泪,绘声绘色地讲述她那糟糕的艳遇。艾伦饰演的角色双手掩面,大声叫喊“哦,哦,哦!太恶心了。我的老天,这是我这辈子听过的最恶心的事儿了……芭芭拉,你这个蠢货!”
 
Good listeners ask questions, but not too many. Journalists know that the best moment in the interview often comes when you put away your pen and say, “Thank you so much for your time.” Then the interviewee — freed from your barrage of questions — tells you the thing she had been wanting to say all along.
 
好的倾听者会提出问题,但不会太多。记者们知道,采访中最好的时刻,是你收起录音笔然后说,“非常感谢你抽出时间接受采访。”然后,从你连珠炮般的问题中解放出来的受访者会告诉你她一直渴望吐露的事情。
 
When good listeners do speak, they don’t bother repeating their favourite lines. Listening to anyone halfway interesting is a stimulus to think of something new. The German writer Heinrich von Kleist called this “the gradual completion of thoughts while speaking”. In business, skilled listeners will use the other person’s words to make a sale. A consultant I know says that instead of telling clients what he has to offer, he usually asks them, “What’s top of mind?” If the client replies, “We’re just working out how to replace all our workers with robots,” he can then say, “It so happens we’ve got just the product for that.” Every conman knows that what you really sell people are their own fantasies.
 
好的倾听者真正开口的时候,不会重复他们最喜欢的句子。听一个不那么有意思的人说话,会刺激倾听者想到新的东西。德国作家海因里希冯克莱斯特(Heinrich von Kleist)称,这是“在说话的同时逐渐完善思路”。在商业活动中,有技巧的倾听者会用别人的话做成生意。一位我认识的营销顾问告诉我,他通常不会告诉客户他能提供什么,而是问他们“你们最想要的是什么?”如果客户回答说,“我们正在想办法用机器人替换我们所有的工人,”那么他就可以说,“这样啊,我们正好有相应的产品。”每个骗子都知道,你真正兜售给人们的是他们自己的幻想。
 
There is one big occupational hazard in listening. Sometimes you will encounter someone who is boring and predictable. This person will engage in one or all of boasting, solipsism, house-price talk, route talk (“The M1 was totally blocked, so … ”), diet talk (the word “carbs” is a warning signal) and current-affairs clichés (“Politicians! They’re all in it for themselves, that’s what I say”). But if the bore has you tied up in a hostage-style situation, then get him to talk directly about his own life. People’s experiences are usually more interesting than their views, and a good listener can come away with unexpected knowledge of life in Düsseldorf or the economics of dentistry.
 
倾听者可能会遭遇一种“职业性危害”。有时你会遇到某个乏味无趣的人。这个人可能在谈话中有以下其中一种乃至全部举动:自夸、 唯我、谈房价、谈交通(“1号线地铁完全堵死了,所以……”)、谈饮食(“碳水化合物”是一个警告信号)和有关时事的陈词滥调(“政客们!他们全都只顾自己,这就是我说的”。)但是,如果无聊感已经把你绑架了,让他直接谈一谈他自己的生活。人们的经历通常比他们的观点更有趣,好的倾听者在结束谈话离开时,会意外了解到杜塞尔多夫(Düsseldorf)的生活情况或者牙医这一行的经济情况。
 
Even when the listener learns nothing worthwhile, he can achieve a useful seduction. I once had a boss who was the smartest man in the room. After taking over the department, he invited the lowliest grunts out to lunch one by one. He’d ask each one, “So what do you think we should change?” and then listen while the grunt spouted all the grievances she had been storing up for years. I suspect that the boss didn’t care about the grunts’ views. He already knew exactly what he wanted to change. But when he did make changes, the grunts united in support of the first person who had ever listened to them. Today the guy is chief executive of a global media company, so he probably doesn’t have to listen any more.
 
就算倾听者没有了解到什么有价值的东西,他也可能成功地“诱惑”了对方,这是有用的。我曾经有个老板聪明绝顶。在接管部门以后,他一个一个地邀请级别最低的员工吃午餐。他会问每一个人,“那你觉得我们该改变些什么呢?”然后倾听这名员工把积蓄多年的苦水倒出来。我怀疑这名老板并不在乎这些员工的观点。他那时已经非常清楚他自己想要改变什么。但他真正进行改革的时候,这些员工联合起来支持第一个真正倾听他们的人。今天这个人已经是一家跨国媒体公司的首席执行官,因此他很可能无需再倾听了。