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清晰的沟通-做好“表哥表姐”Clear Communication Starts from Avoiding Common Document Pitfalls

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有个小笑话故事讲客户要求建一个烟囱,承建商很快就完工了,结果到验收时一看傻眼了,实际建了一口井sad。在我们老家农村,家里地基是自家的,因此建房比较容易,只需请些师傅买些材料慢慢盖就好了,当然要把框架搭起来大师傅是要请的,所谓的大师傅就是按照主人的意思将房子的各个空间分割好,需要几间卧室,几个洗手间,门朝哪边开,开多大,打算建几层,等等。但是通常是没有正规的图纸的,只是用笔在白纸上画个歪歪扭扭的图给主人看看,也会标示一些主要的建筑尺寸。普通的房子是这样的,也见过别墅是这样盖的。结果听说过不少笑话,其中最常见的就是楼梯装反了,主人希望是顺时针螺旋式上升,结果被做成了逆时针螺旋式上升。原以为只有在中国的农村才会发生这样的事情,有个德国的同事讲他们家盖房子时请了不同国家的工人来作业(因为工作性质和工资水平的原因,德国的建筑工人很多是外籍劳工,主要以东欧为主),结果是楼梯也被装反了,不知道是不是德国也不兴画图的。自己家里装修,请了当地排名前三的装修公司负责,一周之后收到约30页A2大小的图纸,要求主人签字后合同才正式开始,看着很规范就签上自己的大名,开始动工作业,等结束时再回去看那些图纸,发现没有设计人员,评审人员和批准人员的署名,没有横平竖直的公差。幸好施工质量还行,想想这也是很多有过装修经验的朋友经常在验收时不满的原因,因为这些细节通常在前期被忽略了,然而被归纳成-装修师傅很重要。实则是前期沟通很重要,装修师傅也很重要。在制造厂,也不是完全靠工人来决定产品品质的嘛,设计也相当重要。

There is a joke about a story that a customer asks the contractor to build a chimney. Indeed, the contractor finished the work in no time, yet when the customer checked the work, he was astonished to find that the contractor actually built a well. In Chinese rural areas, since the foundation belongs to the residents, it is relatively easy to build a house as it only requires workers to purchase some materials and build the house little by little. Of course, the master is necessary for establishing the framework. The so-called master will divide the house into different spaces based on the demand of the owner, which includes the quantity of bedrooms and washrooms, the direction and size of the door, the quantity of floors, etc. But more often than not, there is no formal drawings. Instead, only a sketch drawing by pencils on a piece of white paper will be presented to owners, with some main construction dimensions marked. Ordinary houses are built in this way, and so are some villas. Therefore, some stupid mistakes will be made inevitably. The most common one among them may be the stairs in wrong direction: the owner hopes stairs that will spiral clockwise, yet the contractor made it counter-clockwise. I thought it will only take place in villages in China. Nevertheless, one of my German colleges told me that when his family built a house, they invited workers from different countries to take the job. (Due to the nature of work and wage level, a large majority of workers are from abroad, mainly eastern European) However, the stairs was built in the wrong direction as well. Maybe in German, workers are not used to make building drawings either. As someone decided to decorate his house by himself, he asked a decoration company which ranked top three locally to undertake this job. One week later, the owner received 30 pages of A2 drawings on which he was required to sign to authorize the official start of the agreement. Since these papers seem to be formal, the owner signed, and the worker started constructing the house. When construction came to the end, the owner looked back to these drawings, only to find that these drawings lacked the signature of designers, reviewers and approvers, as well as the tolerances for lines and squares. Fortunately, the quality of construction is not so bad. To think it over, this may be the supposed reason why dozens of people with decoration experience are not satisfied when checking the work, as these details are always ignored at the early stage. Despite that it is always concluded as selecting capable decoration workers is important, actually both the communication at the early stage and the experience of decoration workers are equally important. Same like in the manufacturing plants, it is not the workers that decide the quality of products totally. Designers, and engineers, however, are of the same significance.

与产品设计相似,如何清晰的表达在沟通中显得尤为重要。质量人员常用的工具是程序,文件,表格,公式,业务人员常用的是报价单,订单。见过报价单不写单位的,也亲身经历过购买单位写的不够清楚造成扯皮的。一付门合页,报价单位写1 set (一套),客户确认,下订单,走货,结果收到货就发现不对了,我要的是每包一对(1 pair),怎么变成了每包只有一只合页,数量整整少了一半。而且因为客户初期还觉得工厂的价格既然控制的这么有竞争力,那就多买一点吧。仅仅一个单词的差异,造成了一次重大投诉和纠纷。

Similar to product design, how to express clearly appears to be particularly important in communication. The common tools used by the quality personnel are procedures, documents, tables and formulas, while the ones that used by commercial personnel are quotations and orders. I have seen quotations without units, and have also experienced the wrangles caused by unclear purchase units. In one case, the unit on the quotation of one pair of door hinges was a set. After the customer confirmed it and made the order, it was shipped to customers. Unexpectedly, the customer found something wrong as soon as he received the product. He needed one pair per package, yet it turned out to have only one hinge placed in every pack—thus, it was only the half of the original order in terms of the quantity. Moreover, as the customer regarded the controlled price of the factory as so competitive, he bought more than ever. To sum up, only a difference in a word may give rise to a major complaint and dispute.

很多时候大家工作上的沟通除了邮件,电话之外是用文件,表格等形式来完成的,但是工作中经常遇到很多文件,表格除了内容之外有以下的注意事项:

Most of the time, people use files and forms, besides mails or phones, to communicate with each other at work. But plenty of files and forms have the following point for attention other than the content:

  1. 文件document
  • 没有页眉页脚no header and footer

页眉如同政府的红头文件,相当于一个帅哥的浓眉大眼,美女的眉清目秀。对于公司而言如果有的话方便让人一目了然这些什么公司,什么性质的文件,这也是专业的公司展示公司形象和品牌的地方,放个响亮的公司商标(LOGO)和使命愿景再好不过了。所有的汽车,商标一定是车前车后都有的,汽车的部件也是能被印有商标的也一概不会落下。经常有公司问我,“你说我们这个质量方针政策要宣导,我们怎么做”,除了将那个质量政策展示在宣传栏之外,借各类文件的页眉页脚来宣传也是不错的选项。

The header is like the official document of the government, the big eyes and bushy eyebrows of a handsome man,, as well as the bright eyes and  graceful eyebrows of a beauty,  As for the company, if they have headers, it will be convenient for people to understand the company and the documents clearly at first glance. Also, since the headers help present the image and brand of the company, it will be great to place a conspicuous logo and missions and visions as well. All the cars have at least two logos placed at the front and the end, and if possible the components usually are branded with logos as well. Plenty of companies ask me frequently that, “how should we advocate and reinforce the quality policies?” In addition to displaying the policies outside the bulletin board, resorting to the headers and footers of various documents as a means of promotion is also a good choice.

页脚通常放文件的编制日期,或者动态的打印日期(自动变更为打印当日的日期),文件的版本号,页码

The footer always comprises the compile date, or dynamic print date (it will automatically change into the date on which the document is printed), version number, and the page number of the file.

  • 没有编制人,评审人,和批准人以及时间 no editor, reviewer and approver, as well as date

阅读者不知道文件是否被批准,是否有效,是谁最终批准的。没有时间,阅读者无法确认文件是否继续有效。

Readers fail to know whether the document has been approved or not, valid or not, and who finally approved it. Since no information on time is presented, the readers are not able to identify whether the document remains to be valid.

  • 没有联系方式 no contact information

经常在网上看到一些非常好的文章,经过多次转发,最后“轶者不详”,有什么需要请教的也找不到作者了,甚是可惜。We always notice some good articles on the website which have been forwarded for many times. Unfortunately, they are always anonymous. It is such a pity that we are not able to find the writers even if we have something to consult.

  • 版权意识淡却 no copy right reservation

作者写下长篇大论,可惜并没有预估到经由什么渠道什么方式会演变成什么形式的结果,可能是对作者有利的,也有可能会给作者带来困扰,还是建议在文件内注明清楚申明,至少可以将版权注明清楚 – 版权所有,禁止擅用。当然也强烈建议文件尽量转换为PDF格式后再用于交流,个人不建议文件动不动就设密码,其一可能自己也会忘记,其二破解文件密码早已不是什么难事了。

The writer has finished such a long article, yet he has not predicted that which form it will evolve into, via which channel, and in which way. Maybe it will be beneficial to writer, or in contrast, be troublesome. Therefore, it is advisable that the declaration be indicated clearly inside the file—at least, the copyright should be indicated clearly: All rights reserved. Of course, it is highly recommended that the document be converted into PDF and then be used for communication. Personally, I do not suggest setting up a password on the file. For one thing, the writer himself may forget it. For the other, cracking password is not a difficult task any more.

  1. EXCEL表格

俗话说会用WORD的通常比不会用WORD的挣的多,会用EXCEL的通常比会用WORD的挣的多,会用PPT的比会用EXCEL的挣的多,会看PPT的比会做PPT的挣的多。对于表格的合理利用比对文件又有些不一样的主意事项。常见的问题是没有充分利用页眉页脚,或者文件本身就是用现成的其他文件改编的而忘了检查原来的文件是否有页眉页脚,导致文件被打印出来的时候才被人发现。又或者文件的打印区域没有提前设置好,造成阅读者打印时排版是乱的,显得作者非常不专业。其余的常见问题包括:

As the saying goes, people who master WORD usually earn more than those who have not; people who master EXCEL usually earn more than those who master WORD; people who master PPT earn more than those who master EXCEL; those who read PPT earn more than those who master PPT. Reasonable utilization of EXCEL requires different issues for attention compared with those of WORD documents. The most commonly seen problem is insufficient use of headers and footers. Moreover, sometimes the EXCEL is actually the adaption of another document so that people forgot to check the headers and footers of the original document. Thus, people do not find the problems until the document is printed. Also, the print area is not set up well in advance occasionally, which results in the disordered layout when readers print the document, and renders the writer unprofessional.Some other common issues like below:

  • 没有编制人和审批人 no editor and approver

我一直很纳闷中国人需要低调到不用署名吗?还是说自己的名字用的太多了会觉得写出了难看?

I am always wondering that whether it is necessary for Chinese to be so modest as to not put their signatures on the file, or maybe the excessive use of their own names will make the name unattractive.

  • 金额没有单位 no currency for money

Excel 通常被用于显示财务数据,但是在被一些非财务人员使用的时候时常会被忽略金额的单位,到底是美金,还是欧元,还是人民币,还是港币?这个世界已经非常扁平了,金额单位非常重要。EXCEL is often applied to display the financial data, but some non-financial staffs will always ignore the units of the amount while using. Whether it is USD, EUR, CNY or HKD? As the world appears to be really flat, the unit of amount is of great significance.

  • 数据没有年份或日期 no year or date for data

所有引用的数据需要有日期,至少摆放个年份吧,经常看到销售额,但是没有年份,实在弄不清是去年的数据还是今年截至目前,还是某个月的,更不用说是采购额,还是发票金额,还是交货金额。

All the data referred should have date, at least a particular year. The sales volume can often be seen, but the year seems to be ignored. As a result, it will really be confusing whether the data belongs to last year, the present, or a specific month, let alone the number is for purchase value, invoice value or delivery value.

  • 文件没有版本或变更史 no version or change log

如果没有最后的修订日期或者版本,神仙都无法对比到底哪个是最新的,究竟两个版本间改了些什么东西。

If the last revision date or version is not displayed, even the god cannot identify which one is the latest one, and what has been changed between the two versions.

  1. Chart图表

会用EXCEL的通常少不了用图表,因为它直观,一目了然。但是使用它的人常常也会忽略一些细节,而这就是会做EXCEL图表和会做好EXCEL图表的区别,要学好图表,多看看优秀的商业杂志。假设一个图表要给10个人看,好的图表每个人花1分钟就看懂了,总共花了10分钟,而作者花了10分钟,累加是20分钟,而一个坏的图表花了1分钟就做好了,同样的10个人每个人花了5分钟来弄清这个图表的意思,共计花了51分钟,你说哪个图表更有价值。

People who have a good command of EXCEL will inevitably use the charts often as it’s visual and explicit. However, people who use it always ignore some details, which seem to be the difference between “can use EXCEL” and “can use EXCEL well”. To learn EXCEL well, one should read brilliant business magazines often. Suppose that a chart will be shown to 10 people. For a good chart, it only took one minute per person to understand, so totally 10 minutes were spent for reading. Besides, the writers spent 10 minutes on the edit, so in grand total, 20 minutes were spent on this chart. In contrast, a bad chart was done within one minute, but the same 10 people spent 5 minutes understanding the chart, so totally 51 minutes were spent. Which chart is more valuable? Needless to say, the answer seems to be quite obvious.

  • 没有图表抬头 no tittle

没有抬头的图表等于没有眼睛的一张脸,你都看不出它是谁。而用好抬头词的图表就像一对炯炯有神的双眼,要是再加一个附标题,那就是给双眼再配一副金边眼镜,让它看起来更文质彬彬。

A chart without titles is like a face without eyes, as you cannot even recognize who it is. On the contrary, the chart with attractive titles is as much as a pair of bright eyes. If a subtitle is added, it is none other than matching the eyes with a pair of gold-rimmed glasses to make it much gentle.

  • X-Y轴没有单位 no unit on X/Y axis

早些年我是挨过不少骂的,尽管我十分小心,仍然会在不经意间犯这样的低级错误,领导要在会上质问我那个坐标轴上没有标单位的数是代表金额还是数量.做工程的很清楚,螺丝是要分公制和英制的,没有单位,结果可想而知。

I had been criticized quite often in earlier years over these errors. Despite I am cautious, I still make some stupid mistakes of this kind carelessly so that the leader will ask me the number on the axis without units represents the amount of money or quantity. People engaging in engineering are quite clear that even the screws can be categorized into metric ones and imperial ones. Without the units, one can imagine the outcome

  • 主副轴没有区分 no marking of primary and secondary axis

进阶一点的人会将Y轴设在图表的左右两边,但是千万小心如果主副轴两边的单位不一样,就一定要清楚标示到底哪边是什么单位,什么数据,而不要左右不清。

Advanced professionals will place the Y axis on both the left and right side of the chart. But one should be much careful that if the units on the main and auxiliary axis are different, he should mark the units and data clearly on both sides instead of confusing them.

  • 格式和线条没有调整 no re-formatting after auto-creation

如果希望别人读懂你的图表,上面的就够了,但是如果希望别人喜欢读你的图表,就一定要调整自动生成的图纸,尽管EXCEL已经很人性化,2010版自动生成的图表不再是那么难看了。这就是能吃,好吃,爱吃的区别。

If you hope that others can understand your chart, the points above are enough. But if you hope others can love reading your chart, you have to adjust the chart created by default setting of EXCEL. Although EXCEL is humanized enough, the automatically-formed chart in 2010 versions is not awkward any more, but this is the difference between eatable, delicious and favorite.

在企业工作不同于在政府工作,很多时候表达要尽量准确,才不会造成误解,而不像国家国际政策,很多时候是点到为止,这也是经常在重大政治和经济政策发布之后有“解读”之说法。解读错了,不是编写者的问题,但是如果在企业里要向其他人进行表达,就需要慎重了。

Working for the enterprise is different from working under the government. The expression in business should be as accurate as possible most of the time so that it will not generate confusion, which is distinct from the international policies of a country that usually play words. This is also the reason why many people will try to “interpret” messages after publish of significant political and economic policies. Even if the interpretation is wrong, it is not the author that to be blamed. However, if he is to express to others in an enterprise, then he should quite careful.

ACKNOWLEDGE GIVEN TO TRANSLATOR MS. ZIZHU WANG FROM GUANGDONG UNIVERSITY OF FOREIGN STUDIES

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