关于 李婧(Sally)


The Six-year-old Kid in You

Watching how my six-year-old nephew guoguo live his life was real fun.

One day, Guoguo showed the whole family his latest painting called My Garden – Night, it was beautiful. Dark sky, bright moon, big firefly hanging on a dead wood as street lamp, a small lotus pond, an over-the-river cottage for the fisherman, tree with birds as residents and a big piece of wood lying by the side. Then grandma asked “guoguo, why a piece of wood lying there?”, guoguo responded eagerly “it’s for the birds to keep food, they have put a lot of worms in the wood already so that they won’t be afraid of winter!” then everyone laughed. What a magic world in this little head!

“What would you draw for your garden? ” Suddenly my brother threw the question at me knowing I must have my own version since I won a drawing competition in my city when I was about guoguo’s age. Yes, I was quite talented then, and no, I have no idea what beautiful things to draw now, not even when I close my eyes. My garden is filled with files, proposals, clocks, cellphones, laptops…that’s with no smell, no taste, no feeling.

That night, I was sad. I have lost the little six-year-old in me.

Every time after I played with guoguo, he would surprise me out of the blue by kissing me on the cheek and yelled with joy “I love you, gugu!”. Or come to ask me to read stories while lying in me like I was his sofa, or blowing air softly on my wound to comfort me.

His small gestures and simple words touched my heart. Then I thought about myself, I used to do that to my mom when I was little, lying in my mom’s arms craving for stories; hiding in mom’s body in winter like she is the most warm and comfy blanket; holding and kissing her after she put on new dress for me…Now, those memories seemed to be so far away like time has created so much space between me and the ones I love. Same mom, same me, but I hardly hug her and tell her how much I love her.

Where has the little six-year-old me gone?

One day, guoguo told me “gugu, can I marry Lili when we grow up?”, “who is Lili?”, “my girlfriend in kindergarten.” “Oh, why do you want to marry her?”

“Because I like her, I like to play with her.” Guoguo said it while still playing with his lego set like the answer was so simple and obvious.

Yes, wasn’t that the simplest reason for love, enjoy the happiness of being with each other. But why the reason we had become so complicated when we became twenty-six : How much? How many? How big? How far? How old? How…..”

What happened to the six-year-old in us?

Many people learn soft-skills to be able to connect better with others, but little do we know how good we were at soft-skills when we were six, when we were able to tell what we truly feel! As we grow up, we are trained with logic, common sense, rationales and rules, we work by that, we made decisions by that, we even love by that. We think more but hardly feel; we live by head but hardly by heart.

The world will not stop for us, but it’s our choice to take a moment to relive the most innocent and true self – the little six-year-old in us, the source of our power and happiness.



一天, 小月和老公在讨论拍婚纱照的事情时发生了争执,因为拍照的费用很贵,要1万多块,她跟老公建议:“我们为什么不把这一万多块省下来,1)能给你的相机换个比较好的镜头。2)剩下的钱还能给我们买些好看的以后也能穿的衣服。 然后,我们可以穿着新衣服在蜜月的时候多照些相,又省钱又省事,不是很好吗?”虽然老公好像也觉得这个建议经济实惠,但他总是找各种各样的理由反对,最后对话变成了这样:



小月突然觉得沟通气氛不对,想到了沟通课上讲的“倾听”,她觉察到好像自己在谈话中一直只是在“听自己”(level one listening),不停地在辩解和说服,根本没有去听老公的真实想法,以至于把一件原本很美好的事变成了争吵,想到这里,小月决定尝试培训中学到了倾听技巧,她先停下来让双方都平静了一下,后来对话变成了这样:

“还有其它理由吗?”小月又接着问。(因为沟通课上讲过这个”what else?”的powerful question)


在日常沟通中,不管是与家人、朋友,还是公司同事,我们看上去好像是在听别人说,但脑子里转的都是自己的理由,关注的都是自己的需求,也就是level 1的“听自己”,如果双方都在“听自己”,很容易会产生冲突,使矛盾激化,就像故事开始时候的小月,只有当我们将关注点开始往对方转移时,我们才能真正了解对方的想法,后来小月使用了停顿,目光接触,“哦”,点头等鼓励性的表示,总结和提问等level 2 listening 的技巧,关注的是对方,让老公感受到了她的关注和说话的空间,最终说出了他真正的想法。而且在最后,小月还用到了level 3 listening中的观察细节,利用直觉,“听出”了老公没有说出来的东西,进一步加深了双方的理解,有种心有灵犀的感觉。



Cross (X) or Cross (–>), it’s up to you!

Many people find it difficult to communicate in a cross-culturalenvironment. Some people always hear the beep sound with a big red (X) sign; some people manage to cross in between cultures with ease. What’s the secret? How can I see through the pair of deep blue eyes?

Recently we went to our HQ in the Netherlands for a ten-day professional training. We had a wonderful time with our trainers and colleagues from Holland, Germany and America, a nice mix. And I also witnessed many cultural differences. One of the incidences really caught my attention.

On the third day of training just after lunch, one of my Chinese colleagues suddenly burped in the class, quite loudly, all the Chinese colleagues just ignored it like nothing had happened. But I noticed that three of our foreign colleagues reacted differently, they were shocked and then quickly had a little chat together, “Oh my god, that was so rude!” they whispered, and I overheard.

It is not a very polite thing to burp loudly in public, but is it fair to label that behavior as being rude when the person had neither intention nor idea about the impact it might has to others? Nevertheless, I do, too, understand that it’s natural to be shocked when one is coming from a culture where certain manners or behaviors are very much noticed, valued and appreciated. So here comes the misunderstanding of communication in a cross-cultural context. The sender sends a message unintentionally in a non-verbal form (a loud burp could mean for Chinese people I just had a satisfactory meal), but the receiver received the message and decoded it as being disrespectful, there is obviously a huge gap between the intention from the sender and the effect received by the receiver.

The saddest thing is that the misunderstanding is not known to either side. Doesn’t this happen all the time for people in cross-cultural communication? It’s like your American coworker is very angry about you and has been acting weirdly, but you don’t know anything about it, or vice versa. How frustrating and ineffective is that?

Back to the story, the question raised now: how to make the misunderstanding known for both sides so that wrong interpretation will not last or being reinforced when the same thing happens again?

The answer came out the next day.

The following day, I was chatting with my German colleague Claudia in the class after lunch, suddenly my Chinese colleague sitting next to us burped again. This time Claudia hesitated a bit, then she stopped our conversation and went to my Chinese colleague and said to her with a smile “Dear, I have to let you know that in our culture burping loudly in public is considered impolite to others, we normally control it and cover our mouth with hand, or if it really came out unexpectedly we will say sorry or excuse me to the people around us. How is that perceived in China?” My Chinese colleague didn’t quite understand in the beginning, but she eventually did and received it as a constructive feedback from another culture. I admired Claudia for her courage and authenticity. I said to her that I really appreciated her feedback to clear the misunderstanding, I also told her in a joking way that we Chinese don’t like them blowing nose at the table too, it can be very de-appetizing! We all laughed and went on to talk about all kinds of taboos in different cultures. It feels so much better to discuss all that in the open air!

So how to reduce misunderstanding in a cross-cultural context in general?
Notice how Claudia did it in the next day, as a receiver, when she felt uncomfortable (affected by the value in her culture), instead of having some negative inner voice, she decided to give feedback, and she did it in a very effective way because of the following:

1) She smiled, this small behavior created a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. (Non-verbal)
2) Her feedback focused on behavior, not the person. (D.I.E model)
3) She checked to see if the behavior is perceived differently in another culture. (I.I.YOU in cross-culture context)

Feedback is sent by the receiver to make clear to sender the impact on him/her (also known as the Effect in the communication model) and then check if it’s inline with the sender’s Intention, in the context of cross-culture communication, the intention might be very much influenced by culture. Effective feedback skills can create transparency and open dialogue without offending others. Feedback is very essential (the receiver to sender) in the Checking process.

Since Checking is two-way street, it’s not done by just the receiver. The sender can also take initiative in the communication to avoid misunderstanding from happening by checking the receiver’s feeling when sender notices the unusual behavior of the receiver, usually non-verbal. Or even check before communication to understand better of that culture, e.g. special taboos. This kind of checking can be helped by google.

There are still so much more about communicating more effectively in a cross-cultural context, but most importantly remember : Checking before Judging! It’s for all communication, especially when you are a culture away.

You can cross (–>)!