More men and women in the workplace are seeking professional training to overcome anxiety around communication at work, new research has revealed.
A study of 1,000 workplaces conducted by RADA in Business published the Beating Workplace Performance Anxiety report, which found a clear disparity between the causes of communications anxiety between men and women.
Male employees are 45 per cent more likely than women to feel anxious when socialising with their colleagues, while 14 per cent revealed that having to make small talk brings on the same feelings.
Team-building events are also more difficult for men, with almost a fifth reporting feeling of communications anxiety in relation to these types of occasion.
“Socialising in a work environment and at networking events require you to improvise as they are full of uncertainty. You never know who you might talk to and you may experience an awkward moment or two if you end up standing alone, deciding what to do next,” said Claire Dale, tutor at RADA in Business.
“The composer John Cage said that ‘chance favours the prepared mind’, so prepare your approach. If there is somebody you would like to talk to: think of your common interest, approach him or her, stand near, breathe, and wait for your moment to introduce yourself confidently and warmly, stating that common interest.
“Use open body posture to show that you are ready for conversation. Be curious about other people and try to draw people in by asking questions about themselves. Breathe, smile and take a chance.”
In comparison, the report found that female employees suffer from anxiety when giving presentations in front of a group.
The research shows that women are also 39 per cent more likely to experience workplace anxiety than men when in a job interview, and 37 per cent more likely when negotiating a pay rise.