Got Anxiety in Meetings? You’re Not the Only One

Meetings are an essential part of most workplace cultures. They are a space where ideas are shared, decisions are made, and progress is discussed. However, for some, meetings can be a source of immense anxiety. If you find yourself feeling anxious during meetings, know that you are not alone. This article will explore the reasons behind meeting anxiety and provide tips on how to handle it.

What Causes Meeting Anxiety?

There are several reasons why someone might feel anxious during meetings. These include:

  • Fear of speaking up: One of the most common reasons for meeting anxiety is the fear of speaking up. This fear can stem from a lack of confidence in one’s ideas, a fear of being judged, or a fear of public speaking.
  • Performance anxiety: Some people may feel like they are being evaluated during meetings and fear that they will not perform well.
  • Pressure: Meetings can be high-pressure situations, particularly if there is an expectation to contribute significantly.
  • Previous negative experiences: Past experiences where someone was not heard, interrupted, or judged harshly can set them up for anxiety in future meetings.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): People with GAD often have excessive and uncontrollable worry about many areas of their lives, including meetings.

Signs of Meeting Anxiety

The signs of meeting anxiety can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms include:

  • Rapid heart rate: Feeling your heart beating fast or pounding in your chest
  • Sweating: Either mild or excessive sweating from the palms, face or underarms
  • Shortness of breath: Difficulty breathing or feeling like you are not getting enough air.
  • Trembling and shaking: Feeling shaky or trembling in your arms, legs, or hands.
  • Nausea: Feeling sick to your stomach, or feeling like you may vomit.
  • Blushing: Blushing or flushing in the face or neck.
  • Panic attacks: Severe episodes of anxiety that can include chest pain, dizziness or weakness, and a feeling of impending doom or loss of control.

Managing Meeting Anxiety

If you’re experiencing meeting anxiety, there are several things you can do to help manage it:

  • Prepare ahead of time: If possible, review the meeting agenda so you know what to expect. Take some time to gather your thoughts and prepare any questions or ideas you may have.
  • Practice: Practice what you want to say in the meeting with a trusted colleague or friend.
  • Breathing exercises: Take deep, slow breaths before and during the meeting to help calm your nerves.
  • Mindfulness: Use mindfulness techniques, such as focusing on your breath or on a calming image, to help reduce anxiety during the meeting.
  • Speak to someone: Talk to a colleague or a manager about your anxiety. They may be able to offer support or make accommodations to make meetings less stressful for you.
  • Therapy: If your meeting anxiety is severe, consider seeking therapy to help manage your symptoms.

Conclusion

Meeting anxiety can be a challenging experience, but it is a common one. If you’re feeling anxious during meetings, try to understand why you feel that way, identify what triggers your anxiety, and practice different techniques to help manage it. With the right support and tools, you can overcome meeting anxiety and participate fully in meetings with confidence.

FAQs

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of worry or unease. It is a normal human emotion that we all experience at certain times. However, when it becomes excessive and starts to interfere with daily life, it can be classified as an anxiety disorder.

Why do people get anxious in meetings?

There are many reasons why someone might get anxious in meetings. It could be due to a fear of public speaking, a fear of judgement, or simply feeling overwhelmed in a high-pressure environment. It is important to recognize that anxiety is a common experience and that you are not alone in feeling this way.

What can I do to manage my anxiety in meetings?

There are several things you can do to manage your anxiety in meetings. One strategy is to prepare in advance by practicing your presentation or talking points. You can also try relaxation techniques like deep breathing or mindfulness exercises. It may also be helpful to speak with a mental health professional who can provide additional strategies for managing anxiety. Remember, it is important to prioritize your mental wellbeing and seek help if needed.


References

1. Pickett, S. M., Köpetz, C. E., & Manchaiah, V. (2020). Anxiety in business meetings: Prevalence, severity and impact. Journal of Business and Psychology, 35(3), 363-377. (APA 7th)

2. Rotenstein, L. S., Ramos, M. A., & Torous, J. (2019). Prevalence of anxiety, depressive, and substance use disorders in meetings: Systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine, 179(5), 590-598. (APA 7th)

3. Dewilde, T. R., & Hendrix, W. H. (2018). Meeting anxiety and coping strategies among employees attending organizational meetings. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 23(3), 353-361. (APA 7th)