Managing social anxiety disorder at work

People with social anxiety may face specific problems in the workplace, such as the inability to network effectively, failure to develop relationships with coworkers, fear of attending business social events, lack of self-confidence, and difficulty speaking up in meetings.

There is no limit to the achievement of shy people when shyness is properly managed. While it is not the same as social anxiety, ideas that help shy people adapt can also be useful for managing social anxiety in the workplace.

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Communication

  • Job interviews. Going on a job interview may be challenging. Proper preparation with mock interviews and engaging in deep breathing practices may help to calm yourself.
  • Job duties that include presentations or cold calling clients can be managed with social skills training, reading self-help books, or groups such as Toastmasters.

The inability to network and build work relationships will make it more difficult to advance at work.

To become more comfortable with coworkers, continually try to expand your comfort zone. Engage in small talk with people you see during the day in the lunchroom, the elevator, or at the water cooler. Greet people with general comments or compliments. Start short conversations. It's less important to say the right thing and more important to show up and be present.

If you live with a social anxiety disorder, you might agonise asking a question about your work or clarifying an issue.

  • See if you can make an appointment. Practice what you will say so your ideas are clear.
  • If you still find it hard, communicate through email. Always prepare a list of points when you go into a meeting.
  • Gradually work up to ask harder questions. Start with the least anxiety-provoking question, then work your way up to harder topics.
  • You probably show up late for meetings so that you don't have to engage in small talk. Instead, try to arrive early for meetings so that you can meet people as they arrive.
  • Remember that others may also feel uncomfortable about speaking up. They are also nervous about voicing their opinion. They will be relieved if you speak up first.
  • Examine the thoughts you have while in a meeting. Ask if the thoughts are helpful and realistic.

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