When words don’t come fast enough

Years ago when I was a fairly competent French speaker living and working in Paris, I loved the life I had.  The only thing was that no matter how well I spoke the language, I often found that conversation progressed so fast that by the time I’d begun to speak, the moment was lost.  You may have experienced this too. Frustrated and disappointed often, I eventually lost confidence in my ability to contribute as effectively as I wanted to. I feel my employers lost out, I did and probably my clients at the time too – I hasten to add there were no complaints !!

Catch 22

I didn’t want to draw attention to the fact I needed help. My employers assumed that everything was ok because once I was ensconced I managed to get my work done efficiently. No-one asked or guessed anything was wrong at all. I never voiced my concerns. But with the benefit of hindsight, what a lost opportunity for both parties.  I never realized my potential within the organisation and my value to the company was not maximized.  Had I received more than basic induction training, which really revolved around product only I probably would have still been living in France.  Ah. C’est la vie…

Training needs are hopefully better identified these days, but I’m not entirely convinced. Technology is making so many every day tasks faster and in many instances being automated, thereby reducing the need or opportunity for human intervention. And yes, never has the need for human connection been greater. 

Is there something more about the 80/20 rule we should be looking at?

If more than 80% of our satisfaction in life comes from our relationships with others, the need to connect and communicate effectively and especially in a business environment  appropriately, boosting core communication skills and language competency where it is most needed has to be an integral part of a continual program of professional development.

I’ve been that executive working overseas, involved in client meetings, team meetings, training sessions. More recently, in Italy where people have been amazingly receptive to any efforts I make, once the conversation gets going, that sinking feeling returns as I cannot keep up enough to join in the conversation and I can feel my stress levels rising as I struggle to make sure I’ve understood the salient points of a meeting.

Emotions play havoc with our minds.  This we know. What we don’t fully appreciate is quite how this triggers unhelpful patterns of behavior, what employers can do to help and how we can help ourselves more.

It’s not rocket science and particularly as in Ireland the workplace is becoming more culturally diverse, we need to be more aware that many international employees are often doing jobs because of their native language and sometimes multilingual abilities  which is great for the clients they service. It may leave a gap where their Confidence and Competence (two words which in themselves can sound remarkably similar when mispronounced by a non native English Speaker!) in using English effectively may be slowing down the rate at which they integrate and contribute within their teams and the company overall. The greater the levels of engagement, the greater the performance.

Many people I work with whose first language is English lack confidence, fear public speaking and hate making presentations so it is easy to understand the difficulties facing non native English Speakers. I know. I’ve been there. And yes, lack of confidence, disappointment can play havoc with one’s emotions !

Much More Than Words specializes in working with International Executives boosting language competency through the provision of Professional and Personal Development.

‘the organisation as an emotional arena’  

18 January 2017 –  7.45 – 9.30 am

Be part of this conversation with Dr. Annette Clancy, Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour at UCD College of Business as she shares invaluable insights at our first Breakfast Meeting of 2017 for HR Specialists.

 Kindly hosted by the Bank of Ireland

at the new Enterprise Lounge at UCD, Montrose

Contact Janie: 086 857 2005 

booking advisable

How to Avoid People

Make no mistake. Loneliness is a killer.

Let’s face it, society is becoming more dependent on social media every day. It is fantastic and it is equally dangerously addictive.  It can build hopes, aspirations and be an invaluable tool for social change. But it can also alienate and destroy lives. It is possibly the most powerful communications medium of all. But it is out of control in that no-one can protect us, no-one can foresee the increasing dangers and it is where the most dangerous can hide.

It is also where normal people retreat to, sometimes when they feel they can no longer socialise and it can be the only link to ‘the outside world’.  It is also slowly but surely diminishing our ability to socialise, to have meaningful face to face conversations.

FACT.  People who have social contact live longer and are generally more  content and have more fulfilling lives.  Various studies have been carried out to establish quite why people in some of the poorest parts of the world are living longer, which goes against past thinking that the more wealthy who had access to private health care, better food and nutrition and all else that creates the illusion we are happier and more content live longer.

It is all about connection.  Friendship, Family, Belonging.  Wherever your tribe or if you are lucky tribes, whatever joy they bring you.  This is the ‘social glue’ which holds us together.

On an individual level, what's to be done? Take time out and have a conversation with someone new, make a human connection, face to face.  On the train, on the bus.  I do just about every day. It could make all the difference in the world. Yours and theirs.

About Confidence..

Confidence comes from ‘Thinking for yourself’.  It’s a tough one as many things influence us from our early childhood, our temperament, our experiences.  The human is a complex being and who am I to really comment?

Because sometimes our mind tricks us, fogs our brains and leads our minds astray.  I know.  I’ve been in that thick dense fog and it can be devilishly hard to find your way out. No matter how much advice and support you receive, each of us has our own ‘inner schedule’ and until we have processed something sufficiently, whatever it is, the way out and way forward will inevitably elude us.  That’s because we are human.


At work and in our personal lives we reach crossroads. Situations arise we feel unable to handle. And what stops us moving on? Yep. Got it in one.  BUT HOLD ON. That’s making the assumption that fear is a bad thing.

Facing up to fear, to anxiety. To addressing something head-on takes courage and the harder the challenge, the braver one has to be.

So pushing through that fear makes the achievement all the greater,    The every act of making a decision will alleviate the anxiety because whatever the outcome, you have taken control by making a decision. Taking control means you have accepted the responsibility and this represents a shift in power.

This week I’m going to be working with a new group. They are young, about to enter a new phase of their lives and there is so much opportunity to tempt them, challenge them, test and teach them.  But only if they recognise the freedom that thinking for oneself brings.  Life really is the most amazing, most challenging teacher of all.

Challenging Assumptions: A Dublin based breakfast event 22nd March.

Multi-Cultural Exchange:  A Dublin based evening monthly workshop launches 22nd March – to attend this first event FREE click here to go to Eventbrite


love what you do 🙂 Janie


Happenstance – Fit, Young, Talented and Male..

Happenstance ?

When you have three young CEO’s, one who works on water, one who understands Sentiment and one who optimizes health and leverages technology for the greater good, we’ll be as challenged in our beliefs as our assumptions are challenged, just as they have been. I hadn’t planned to bring three guys together, pure happenstance!

Join me, Charlie Byrne, CEO of Engager, Sean Greif of Moon Tour and Gary Kealy of Night Raven at our next Dublin Breakfast Event..

March 22nd. Bank of Ireland, Montrose. Places limited. Registration advisable.

I may not be as young as I was, as fit as I’d like to be, though time has increased my abilities to recognise there’s plenty to gain from bringing people like these great guys together for Breakfast !

Join us. Be Challenged. Be part of our ‘Conversation’, A great opportunity to continue the dialogue we started in January with Dr. Annette Clancy.

Love your work !


087 8572005


Challenging Assumptions – Changing Perceptions

Sometimes, you’ve got to take a stand and question whether current thinking is perhaps a little warped – or still works

Sometimes it is not enough to ‘go with the flow, to feel you’ve met the brief, ticked all the boxes.

Sometimes you have to question the decisions you’ve made and continue to make and maybe re-evaluate if you’re getting the best outcomes from the decisions you’re making – which generally…. are being made using our past experiences and may not be reflecting current needs.

This day in two weeks time, we’re doing just that and getting to hear what some of today’s younger CEO’s are thinking.  And we’re getting a male perspective too.

What does human centric really mean in the mindset of emerging leaders?

How much can we learn from them – and them from us?

22nd March. Breakfast Event. Bank of Ireland, Montrose.  Registration Essential.


Organised by Janie Lazar: 086 857 2005

22nd March. 8am. Challenging Assumptions

After the success of our January event, we’ve brought together extraordinary people to challenge us even more – the question is will you be there – or miss out?

Challenging Assumptions – at the Bank of Ireland, Montrose, 

Click to book your place – space limited

Event starts: 8am sharp.

Organiser: Janie Lazar 086 857 2005

Much More Than Words – Creating a Culture of Conversation

Real support When you Need it

Jan Cooke, Events Manager Bank of Ireland with MMTW Founder Janie Lazar

It has to be said that without the consistent encouragement and support of people like Jan Cooke, Events Manager for the Bank of Ireland, there are days I would just…. give up!!

Launching something new can be terribly exciting but once the novelty wears off, then the hard slog begins and having people around you like Jan and Montrose Branch Manager Gavin Leech makes all the difference. Their drive and interest in what you’re doing, where they can help keeps you going, as let’s face it, keeping momentum can be challenging.  Talking of challenging…

On the 22nd March, we’ll be having our next breakfast meeting at the Bank of Ireland Enterprise Lounge, Montrose  with a diverse panel of contributors to ‘Challenge Assumptions’.  My vision for the breakfast meetings is simple:  in bringing together HR and leadership professionals, we gain a better understanding of what’s important.

‘creating a culture of conversation’.

As we bring people together to work collaboratively within an increasingly multi-cultural workplace, we’re shaking things up with lively dialogue before the day has begun, great connections are made and amazing things unfold..

Later the same day, thanks again to the Bank of Ireland, we’re launching Much More Than Words ‘Multi-Cultural Exchange  in the evening at the Trinity Enterprise Lounge.  My vision here is building a collaborative community where non-native English Speakers working across a wide range of disciplines can boost their language competency and become more effective communicators, whilst using their skills to help other people.  Again a place where  it’s a WIN/WIN. Not everyone works for larger companies where training is available and this, we feel is a good way to help fill what our research shows is a much needed skills gap.

If you’d like to know more about what we’re doing, let’s talk!  Janie Lazar: 086 857 2005








3 Key Survival Tips

There are many things we can control. Over recent months, there have been several occasions when I’ve been swayed off course and forgotten I am the one in control. Inevitably there has been great learning in this. But the clock is ticking and who knows how much time there is to get back on track, stay on track and do whatever it is we are all on this earth to do. Clarity comes with sitting it out. Taking the time to simply be still. To see what is right in front of us. Not be afraid to ‘put it out there’.

It’s not possible to get it right, all of the time. It’s not easy to get to where you want to be. To where you need to be. As fast as you’d like to. What is important above all else is knowing what you stand for. What matters. What is important. What to focus on.

I’m not religious. But I am an optimist and I believe that people are inherently good.

I fervently cling to the belief that that most people are honest. That given the opportunity, the majority of people will rise to the challenge and ‘do the right thing’ if they can. And it takes a brave person to make a stand when the tide is going against them. Resilience is called upon and just how resilient we are determines how we come out of the most challenging of situations, how we cope and ultimately the direction we find ourselves moving in. It may be 10 steps forward and 8 back in the short term. And that’s ok too. It’s still moving on.

Spring is the time of year in my mind for re-setting standards. Daft resolutions of hiking up hills, joining a gym, learning whatever skill you thought you needed have been put in perspective and realistic habits are emerging. Now it’s about reviewing what is acceptable in my life, an opportunity to look it all, to see what’s worth pursuing and what is not. I am ‘work in progress’, in constant evolution. How about you?