中国人“走出去”最新指南 / New Guide for Chinese Going Global

中国人“走出去”最新指南

我曾经委婉地批评过一位在北京的美国同事,原因是她行为不当。虽然她中文很好,又有美国名牌大学的亚洲研究专业学历,但她太年轻,还欠缺一些跨文化交流的经验和技巧。

她曾经因为一位中方人员没能按时出席会议而火冒三丈,不仅对那人报以激烈的言词和手势,还用手指着对方的脸,让他在大庭广众面前下不来台。

跨文化交流的能力,例如语言,需要终生学习。有一点可以肯定的是,这种学习的目标总在不断变化,会随着时间而调整,不仅根据地域而改变,也会随年代而变迁。

上世纪八十年代,我陪同一个中方代表团首次出国访问。当时,为了其中三位代表的安全,我不得不打扰他们在高尔夫球道上信步的雅兴,因为一群美国球手正准备朝这个方向开球。这些代表根本就不知道高尔夫球究竟为何物,面对一群状似疯狂的美国人挥舞着金属杆儿朝他们大喊大叫就更不明所以了。

中外人士在彼此文化上犯下的无心过错可谓罄竹难书,如滔滔江水连绵不绝。

随着富起来的中国人、企业和学生“走出去”数量的攀高,料想今年四月即将出版的一本中文书一旦上架必将受到热捧。

这本书名为《魅力增添之道》(A Personal Guide to Effective Etiquette in Today’s Global Business World),由北京磨铁图书有限公司(Xiron Books Company Ltd.)出版,作者是资深的国际商务精英、作家伊登•科林斯沃斯女士(Eden Collinsworth)。科林斯沃斯女士来自纽约,拥有在多个国家生活、旅行和从商的经验,其中也包括中国。这些经历使她成为撰写本书的不二人选。

(透露一下:我没有通读全书,但浏览了全部章回目录和某些选段,看上去的确不错。)

New Guide for Chinese Going Global

I once mildly scolded an American colleague of mine in Beijing for inappropriate behavior. Although she possessed good Chinese language skills and an Asian studies degree from a top US university, she was young and lacking in cross-cultural experience and finesse.

Frustrated because a Chinese executive failed to show up for a scheduled meeting, she had reacted with aggressive words and gestures, pointing her finger in his face, creating embarrassment in a very public setting.

Cross-cultural skills, like language, are the stuff of lifetime learning. For one thing, they are moving targets, constantly changing over time, from one place to another, between one generation and another.

In the 1980s, while accompanying a Chinese delegation on their first overseas trip, I had to intervene for the safety of three delegates who were walking in a very relaxed manner down the middle of a golf course fairway while a group of American golfers were teeing off in their direction. They had no idea what the game of golf was about, let alone why these crazy Americans were shouting at them and waving metal sticks.

The catalog of foreigners and Chinese making cultural blunders in each other’s worlds is long and ever growing.

With wealthier Chinese, as well as companies and students going abroad in record numbers, a new book due to be published in April in Chinese should be a welcome addition to the bookshelf.

Called “A Personal Guide to Effective Etiquette in Today’s Global Business World”, the book was written by veteran global businesswoman and author Eden Collinsworth, and is published by Xiron Books Company Ltd. of China. A New Yorker with extensive experience living, travelling and doing business internationally, including China, Ms. Collinsworth is very well qualified to address the subject.

(Full disclosure: I have not read the full manuscript, but I have perused the chapter headings and selected parts of the text, and it looks good.)

伊登•科林斯沃斯女士(Eden Collinsworth)

作者从如何给人留下良好的第一印象写起——包括态度、个人空间、握手、问候礼仪、肢体语言等。接下来,她又谈到另外一个重要话题:西方人眼中的无礼行为。

(这部分当然也值得用相同的篇幅为外国人写上一篇:中国人眼中的无礼行为。但是,作者的首要任务是服务于中国读者。)

书中其它章节涉及到求职、面试、办公室礼仪及沟通、电子通讯礼仪等内容,结尾则谈到如何留下最后印象。

无论是走出国门的中国人,或是来华的外国人都不能凭直觉就掌握书中的大部分话题,因此还需要一个学习过程。大多数有机会到国外生活和工作的人一般可以通过阅历、教训(犯错)以及某种程度的辅导来学习。

明智的企业为首次派往海外的员工及其家属提供文化融合的培训,内容最好能够针对目的地的文化。

我敢打赌这本书会让很多中国人开卷有益,不管他们是出于出国定居、学习和工作的考虑;还是准备带领企业闯荡国际市场;抑或对逐渐缩小的世界背景下的文化交流兴趣盎然。

希望这本书能够大卖,激励作者创作续集,帮助外国人接上中国文化的“地气”。虽然我来中国已有38年之久,但仍在努力了解它的文化。真希望当年能有人给我一本这样的指南。

The author rightly starts with the basics of how to make a good first impression — attitude, personal space, handshake and greeting protocol, body language, etc. She goes on to another important subject in the next section: what westerners consider rude.

(This section, of course, deserves a chapter in a similar volume aimed at westerners: namely, what Chinese people consider rude. However, the author’s immediate concern is to serve the audience in China.)

Other sections of the book are devoted to applying and interviewing for a job, deportment and communication in the office, electronic communications etiquette, western table manners, customs related to travelling, etc., with a concluding section aptly devoted to making a lasting impression.

Since most of these topics are not intuitive, whether for Chinese heading out or westerners heading into China, a process of learning is required. For many people who have the chance to live and work abroad, this takes place through a combination of life experience, learning the hard way (ie by making mistakes) and some degree of mentoring.

Smart companies provide cross-cultural training to executives and their families before a first posting abroad, ideally tailored to the local culture of their new home.

I would venture that this book will be a valuable read for many in China who are considering living, studying or working abroad; for executives tasked with leading their companies into new international markets; and for those who find the subject of cross-cultural learning an interesting and invigorating one, against the backdrop of our ever-shrinking world.

I hope the book sells well and would encourage the author to write another book helping Westerners acclimatize to Chinese culture. After nearly 38 years here, I’m still working on it; and I wish someone had given me a book like this, way back when.


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