Anxiety At Work Meetings

One of the most common times people feel anxious at work (after getting called in to see the boss) is at meetings where you are expected to speak up in front of many others.

Let me give you a few quick tips on how best to approach those meetings:

Generally these type of work meetings involve a group of people sitting around taking it in turns to speak. Most people anxious about speaking in public dread their turn and hope some divine intervention will save them from having to speak at all.

To get around this try the opposite approach. Pretend to yourself and the group that you are actually dying to speak. Before you enter the room, say to yourself:

“I’m going to speak at any reasonable opportunity that presents itself”

-Be positively itching to speak!

-Before the meeting kicks off, talk to everyone around you. Don’t sit there in silence.

-If you have a short presentation to make and you don’t like the idea of having to do it in one go, break it up by asking those present questions during your talk. This puts the focus back on the group and can help you feel less under pressure.

-If everyone has to speak, it can really take the pressure off to be first up but if you can’t be first then start asking questions of the other speakers when they are finished if that is appropriate.

Come across as really interested and engaged. Give the impression to the room that you want to speak and to be heard. Speaking up works because the anxiety only gets worse if you sit there in total silence waiting to be called upon. Don’t wait for them to call you -speak out.

If you take the above advice on board and it does come to your turn to speak, you won’t feel the same level of pressure because everyone in the room is already used to your voice and you don’t feel the pressure of hearing your voice for the first time in the room.

Everyone is used to you and you are used to speaking to them. Great speakers love an opportunity to talk and present. Believe it or not but you can train yourself to be like that and it starts by pretending to yourself that you really want that opportunity to be in the lime light. Be hungry for it.

Instead of holding back and resisting the opportunity to speak in public, you chase after it! You might think:

“fine but how can I try this out before my next meeting?”

The best way I know of is to join a Toastmaster group in your area (google it) and get started there right away.

If there is no toastmaster group locally find a public meeting or volunteer for something like a research group where you all discuss a topic together.

There are lots of places to practice.

Dive in, speak up.

To learn more visit:

Barry Joe McDonagh


All material provided in these emails are for informational or educational purposes only. No content is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.

42 replies on “Anxiety At Work Meetings

  • carlos

    Thanks Barry for the encouraging words… we hope you will continue to guide us in our daily stress and fight against panic attacks… thank you and god bless!

  • Ferne

    Thanks once again for an excellent article. I am looking forward to trying it out. All your articles have been very encouraging and I went almost a whole week without panic. I will continue to read and re read. Many thanks for being and sharing this valuable material.

  • Jeff Yehia

    Hello there since Jan 3rd i have been on your program and my life has been much better thank you very much. I now can control my massive panic attacks but i am process of dealing with GAD and i will get through this in time.

    Two questions today please are setbacks part of the process because i have two great days and then i have troubles for a couple days please advise?

    Lastly actually the day time at work is fine and then after i go for a workout which is also okay but i live alone and the nights are tough why is that please explain?


  • ylli

    Thank you ever so much Barry for your encouraging words which are so much helping me to get rid the panic attacks. Thank you again and God bless you!

  • Febby Hamunyanga

    Thank you Barry for encouraging me. I have been one of those who is anxious when told to speak in front of the public. I would start shaking from without and my heart would starting beating up. I am sure this feeling will end as you keep on encouraging me. Thank you very much.

  • Lucy Joy

    Hi Barry,
    Thanks a lot. I really appreciate your dedication and hard work and good will to encourage and educate us in this field. It is very informative and useful and it works well. Thank you and God bless you.

  • Santie Van Veenhuyzen

    Hi Barry

    Thanks alot for your continious input about my Panic attacks, it really works and I am getting help from my phsyciotrist as well after the death of my dad. Since he died my panic attacks triggered again and was very servere at first but thanks to your time and effort to help people like us.

    It is much appreciated.


  • Ann R

    Wow, you’re right, I do find I am sooo nervous if I am quiet or the room is really quiet before a meeting starts. But if everyone is chatting right before the meeting begins I find I am more relaxed. In my Toastmasters group at work they seem so advanced and not nervous at all. I appreciate reading your advice as I feel I’m not even ready for Toastmasters.



  • fatma

    how can i reduce the conflict that provokes anxiety and makes unbearable psychological context ?
    Thank you very much for your caring .
    I am a lecturer in psychiatric nursing and mental health department in Faculty of Nursing in Egypt , and I am interested in how to reassure myself and others .

  • Andrea

    It all seems to be easy although it is not but if one wants something one achieves it.Great idea!!! Thank you very much!

  • Donna

    I can’t believe how generous you are with your time and advice! On behalf of everyone you have helped, THANK YOU!!!



  • Ralph


    You are right on! I am a Toastmaster and each group is normally very supportive and discreet with the suggested feedback on where to grow in one’s speaking capabilities.

  • Aurea L.Suarez

    Thank You very Much Barry..All your articles are proven very helpful to me. I print all your articles and read it every time…I also share it with my friends who has the same panic attack just like me….Do really appreciate your help. GOD BLESS YOU!

  • Jose

    Just wanted to share that every thing you email us has been a BIG change in my life in the past 1month. IM finally going out to dinner, movies, hanging out with my love ones and even working over time. thank you so much i just don’t know how to say IM very happy every thing is coming back together again.. thank you,, god bless you..

  • bernie 9 ,4, 2010

    Thank you so much for all your letters they were a great help to me .
    may god bless you.

    Thank you so much for all your letters .They were a great help to me .

    May god bless you

  • marie @ 6:25pm

    Hi Barry,
    THANK YOU very much for your mini courses. Its been helping me and still practicing on some of the techniques. At times, am still having difficulty sleeping at night, but ill read your mini course about anxiety and panic attack during the night. Also, i prinited out all the mini courses your sending me, so that way i can be reading it over and over again. I really wanted to buy your Panic Away, but i live so far in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Island called Tinian, and am still finding a way on how to get it. PLEASE BARRY CONTINUE TO KEEP SENDING ME YOUR MINI COURSES BECAUSE IT’S HELPING ME ON MY ANXIETY PROBLEMS. Once again, THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MAY GOD BLESS YOU!

  • louise

    I enjoy other people input. I don’t have reallly panic attacks, I have some years ago.
    but I am having problems getting settled down with the anxiety.
    I am on a mild med = and I am some better. I keep busy which i believe is the best way
    to solve this.
    I enjoyed your articles.
    thanks so much

  • Adams

    Thanks a lot for your help.I t has made alot of difference. i suffer mild depression can it be completely cured without drugs

  • K.Kant

    Last fortnight academy boss suddenly called a meeting of faculty just before all were preparing to leave. My pulse rate increased to 115, felt uncomfortable and weak. With difficulty accompanied other colleagues to boss’s chamber on second floor. Not able to concentrate and feeling uneasy I left room after 5 minutes and came down to my cabin. Concentrated on breathing cycle. After 20 miniutes pulse was back to 80 and I was OK like many other situations in past. I wish your advice was available before that incident but may be useful in future.
    Thanks Barry

  • K.Kant

    Hi Barry,
    Your article could have been useful had I read a fortnight back when academy boss suddenly called for a faculty meeting as we were preparing to leave for the day. It triggered my pulse rate to 120. I joined colleagues to boss’s chamber unwillingly on upper floor. I was feeling weak and uncomfortable. I was struggling to appear normal but came down to my cabin unable to cope up. I concentrated on my breathing cycle and waited for things to improve. In 15 minutes my pulse was back to 80 and I was normal. It happens every now and then but I have learned to live with it. Your articles do help me and encourage.

  • Juliet

    Much apprecaited Berry,

    Have learnt much from you, how to manage anxiety as result of a problem and at work, for the bible reminds us that be anxieous for nothing in everything bring it to God.

  • Sajjad Khan

    May God bless you Barry for all the advice you have provided, you have actually helped me get my life back on track. I can now work and socialise normally again thanks to your shared knowledge around panic attacks. Keep up the great work, it will always be appreciated. Take care

  • AET

    Dear Barry,

    Gracias, Merci, Gratzie, Tesekkur, Obrigado, Thank you so much in many languages because “anxiety” does not have bounderies…. ; )

  • Emma

    Brilliant advice and i just know it’s going to work. God bless you, you are enabling so many to break away from a life fear and dread.

  • marcosanod

    Billion thanks, for the guidance and advice sir Barry…. perfect it works may you have a long-long life… thanks..

  • hetty

    even if is not a meeting that i have to talk ,i still panic and this is really bothering me anytime there is a general meeting.I’m going to stick to your therapy and see how best i can handle this.thank u Barry for your support.

  • sharon singh

    Barry God bless you abundantly..I have been suffering with this thing for almost 17 years on and mini series is helping me so well..I only take a very small dose of xanax now and I rarely have the feeling of dread anymore..I am on my way to full recovery..Thank you so much Barry and God bless you abundantly..

  • sinead

    Hi barry,
    Just want to say a huge thanks for your encouraging words.On my bad days,which are few and far between now,butit’s great to log on and read your advice and feel so much better for it,Thank you so much and keep up the good work.

    Sinead Bermingham.

  • Rawwb

    Feel the same way Hetty. This never was an issue for me until about 4-5 months ago when I started experiencing anxiety and panic attacks. Very hard thing for me to get my arms around…especially with it being an important part if my job.

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