For people with social anxiety disorder (SAD), anxiety during work meetings can be a problem.Maybe you missed the promotion opportunity because you don’t speak at the meeting like your colleagues. Or, you may have avoided promotion altogether, because it means you will have to attend more meetings.
You can use a variety of coping strategies to help alleviate social anxiety in work meetings. These methods are most useful if your anxiety is not severe or you are already receiving SAD treatment.
If you need to speak in a meeting, or just want to improve your speaking skills in a group, there is no substitute for regular exercises. Consider joining a group like Toastmasters. This organization will help you improve your presentation skills, independent thinking, and informal conversations with groups. During the first few meetings, you are free to observe and decide whether you want to participate.
If Toastmasters is not for you, you can still improve your communication skills by yourself. Be sure to tell a story in front of your friends, or ask each guest a question at the next party you attend. Think of each social event as an opportunity to practice and improve communication skills.
Perhaps you have successfully passed the business meeting through adequate preparation, so that you have a scripted answer to each question. Although preparation is important (see below), over-preparation is a subtle avoidance.
Believing that you can answer questions spontaneously and discuss unplanned questions is equally important. Realize that in these situations, it can be said that you are not sure about something and that you will investigate it.
Other avoidance behaviors may include not looking at anyone’s eyes, covering your mouth when speaking, or not speaking at all in a meeting. If you find yourself avoiding behavior, please allow yourself to feel anxious during the meeting.Realize that if others notice that you are nervous, this is not the end of the world, you will feel more comfortable in the end.
Know your advantages
If you suffer from social anxiety in a conference, you may never be the most eloquent speaker in the group. However, this does not mean that you cannot gradually improve your speaking skills to make you look professional and composed.
In addition to being a good speaker, being a good listener is also a valuable skill in a meeting. If this sounds like you, please make the most of your listening skills. If you listen carefully to what others say and choose your words carefully, they will admire your wisdom and patience.
Reasonable preparation will make you feel confident. Over-preparation or under-preparation may make you feel more anxious—especially because these are often a reflection of your anxiety.
- Prepare and research questions before the meeting so you can keep up with the progress.
- Wear comfortable and professional clothes, which will make you feel good.
- Talking on the phone with a friend or family member makes you feel relaxed before the meeting, and then brings that feeling into the meeting.
- Arrive at least 10 minutes early so that you can meet people when they arrive.
Use visual effects
Visual effects are an excellent tool for conveying information and attracting attention away from yourself. If you are talking to a group, use some kind of visual media as part of the presentation. This will enhance the message you are trying to convey-and it will reduce the stress of being alone in the spotlight.
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If you have severe social anxiety disorder, there is no substitute for treatments such as medication or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).Combining the above tips, you should be able to successfully manage social anxiety during work meetings.