I feel awkward in work meetings

SilentAndShy

Well-known member
#1
I've been in my job for three years and for as long as I can remember, I've always been shy and anxious. But I do like and am grateful for the job I have as it has provided its challenges and stressful periods (most if it linked to dealing with difficult customers on the phone and in person)

However, I feel I struggle to express myself in meetings. I was in a meeting today and there were moments when I was being asked something and I tended to get nervous and barely say anything expansive. If I did have an idea, I tended to keep quiet.

It's a normal pattern, in a meeting of Board, I minute-take and even though I'm fairly amenable to members outside of meetings, in that environment when they are all together I end up fake laughing on the lighter moments, taking my notes and it feels unnatural being there and trying to act confident.

I try to improve and want to be more comfortable but I've still not mastered it despite being in my job for three years. In a smaller group, I'd say I'm OK but meetings of 8-9 people I just go into my shell mainly and hope I'm not going to be thrown a question I can't answer.

Any tips appreciated.
 

Lionhearted

Well-known member
#2
You really don't have to worry at all. I was(and still am) really anxious when it comes to giving presentations and speeches in front of a whole bunch of people. I have to use a microphone, and that makes it sound even more horrid. I still remember my voice shaking, and it can easily get to your confidence.

What I do is, I usually plan beforehand, as to how I would talk when my turn comes - this doesn't mean some sort of script which you have to follow. Just make up a nice introduction line, and then focus on your topic/idea in a completely honest way. I know telling this to oneself sounds crazy, but nothing's going to happen if you try.

And please, remember that you might actually do better than expected. You're definitely getting more attention, and that can help in finding more like minded co-workers.

Usually, I always get the feeling of my heart jumping near my throat, whenever I hear that I'm going to interact with a group of people. But just stay calm. Take a deep breath, and try not to involve your mind in anxiety-inducing thoughts. What I'd recommend, is to think of something funny or enjoyable, when you feel your anxiety rising. And that can keep your mind off of that. Even though it may sound strange, I usually find it more calm, when I ignore all the hustle and bustle around me.

Just don't react to situations, which you yourself feel not interesting to you...within reason, of course!
 

morrowrd

Active member
#4
I will put in for days off just to avoid meetings. My boss approved my last vacation day, and I told him it was just to avoid the meetings. He laughed, couldn't believe I'd use up personal time to do that. I've been there 27 years and can count all the meetings I've attended on my two hands. I feel most meetings are unnecessary, most information can be put out in an email. I don't fit in, I'm uncomfortable participating, I have nothing to add other than to disagree. It's better that I'm not there.
 

MollyBeGood

Well-known member
#5
I will put in for days off just to avoid meetings. My boss approved my last vacation day, and I told him it was just to avoid the meetings. He laughed, couldn't believe I'd use up personal time to do that. I've been there 27 years and can count all the meetings I've attended on my two hands. I feel most meetings are unnecessary, most information can be put out in an email. I don't fit in, I'm uncomfortable participating, I have nothing to add other than to disagree. It's better that I'm not there.
Kudos for your 27 yrs of employment at the same place and avoiding meetings for that long!

Last job I had we had Skype meetings with people internationally it was crazy and not so bad because I was able to do it from my bed LoL
 

SilentAndShy

Well-known member
#6
I will put in for days off just to avoid meetings. My boss approved my last vacation day, and I told him it was just to avoid the meetings. He laughed, couldn't believe I'd use up personal time to do that. I've been there 27 years and can count all the meetings I've attended on my two hands. I feel most meetings are unnecessary, most information can be put out in an email. I don't fit in, I'm uncomfortable participating, I have nothing to add other than to disagree. It's better that I'm not there.
I wish I could not attend meetings but hey ho.. slightly envious of your arrangement.

Yes, the length of meetings really take their toll on me. There comes a point I think about other things and barely pay any attention. Probably why I stumble when I'm asked something.
 

morrowrd

Active member
#7
One thing I've discovered, is once you start avoiding the meetings, if by chance you do attend down the road, you don't really fit in. Where I work is very cliquiey, and way back when I first started there, I didn't fit in, my social skills were terrible. As a young supervisor, I felt people thought I was incompetent, so I began avoiding the meetings. Now, all these years later, people don't really expect me anymore. My boss is new this year, I've worked here almost as long as he's been alive. Yet I like him. Idealistic, but he has a good sense of right and wrong. He likes me, and accepts my anti-social ways. I get things done, fast. Thats what's important.

Anyway, back to the meetings, at this point in the big picture, it's stupid to even try to fit in. I've long ago accepted who I am.
 

Kiwong

Well-known member
#8
My new boss said I could not go to meetings If I wanted. I gave apologies for one, but I have gone to several more to face my fear because that is how I am supposed to embrace my anxiety. I have faced my fear but it back fires and worsens my anxiety because of the reactions I get.
 
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