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.
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 Exchangein 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
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?
You may be fluent. You may even be confident, But are you doing enough to keep improving your communication skills as a non native English speaker? Are you using your skills as effectively as you could?
Our Multi-Cultural Exchangeis an opportunity to learn how to think differently, boost your confidence together with your ‘people skills’ – and be part of a diverse multi-cultural community.
Run at the Bank of Ireland Enterprise Lounge in Trinity, this series of mini workshops has been created specifically for non-native English speakers living and working in Dublin who are looking for ways to up-skill and make real connections.
If you have a reasonable, working knowledge of English and are an employee or business owner, job seeker or perhaps someone who is looking to develop a business or creative idea, this is an opportunity to become a more confident communicator by helping yourself and others as you learn with and from each other.
Creating a 'Culture of Conversation'for today
The MMTW Multi-Cultural Exchange is based on the belief that success comes from collaboration and the most sustainable relationships from creating a ‘culture of conversation’. Using your working knowledge of the English language, you will be improving your communication skills and gain confidence through the sharing of experience and expertise with the guidance of the Event Facilitator Janie Lazar, MMTW Founder and Business Owner.
It was one of those mornings. Maybe you don’t get them. I was feeling just a tad sorry for myself whilst simultaneously knowing how fortunate I am. Sitting there, clutching my coffee cup with both hands, looking out at the grey sky, rain drizzling down and yep, I was feeling apprehensive as I had a fairly serious meeting lined up. You know the type, one chance to make a good impression and yet all the odds stacked against you.
A sudden uplift. On my tablet, I see a most welcome comment on a recent blog post about the difficulties encountered when living overseas, fluent in another language, yet lacking the courage and confidence to 'pipe' up, to speak out and add my voice to the conversation.
Great content. Would love to quote you on my site, is that ok?
Only when I scroll down later and I see the website wishing to quote my post…. it is for, yes, you’ve guessed ‘Life Enhancement Products ‘ – You’ve got to laugh and I just roared. In future, I’ll think at least twice about headlines. When you headline a post with ‘When Words don’t come fast enough’…. why was I so surprised ! Naive would be an understatement.
More on meaning, alternative uses and interpretation another time.
Oh so cleverly! Technology is making monkeys of us.
Rather than creating a 'Culture of Conversation'where people think for themselves, we're moving on autopilot. Increasingly failing to question what on earth we're doing and more importantly why.
Every day we’re overloaded with images, subliminal advertising, thousands of messages which slowly, oh so cleverly are taking over our minds. Influencing how we think. What we think. Directing us towards products and services companies think we might like. Even this blog, our web-site. That’s the reality of the word of commerce. Pressure to canvas support, for charities, for political parties, for local campaigns. We are free thinkers. Aren’t we? Sometimes I wonder whether we really think at all. Edward de Bono felt thinking is a skill that should be taught in school and I agree.
HOLD ON. It’s time to challenge yourself. take the time to think out loud.
RATIONALISE what you’re thinking.
QUESTION the basis for judgement and use a little more reason to challenge any assumptions you or a colleague are making before finalizing key decisions..
We use our ‘gut’ almost instinctively. It can help guide us to make the right decisions, using a combination of knowledge we’ve accumulated based on fact and our experience. We don’t always pick up on what it’s telling us. Hear the signals. From the ‘unsettled’ feeling in the stomach to perhaps ‘tingling’ when something is right.
Think about the word disease. See it again perhaps as dis-ease. Consider it as discomfort, an alert. A way of telling us to be careful.
Sometimes though I believe it is there to stop us rushing into things. Making the wrong decisions The problem is often we don’t give ourselves time to think. We get caught up in the excitement of something and don’t make time for that ‘internal dialogue’. I’ve done it so often myself as I don’t always take the time I should. And there is often a cost. Usually an emotional cost. Consequences. So my thought for today in this blog post – which is one way for me to having a conversation of sorts with you – is to ask you to challenge your emotions and any assumptions you’re making. Don’t just blindly accept what you’re thinking especially on the bigger issues. Emotions are triggered by what we think and therein lies the opportunity to use reason and make sure your mind and heart is really working in tandem and your intentions are coming from the right place.