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Men are more likely than women to be anxious about making small talk for work purposes, but women are more anxious about giving presentations and in interview situations, according to a new study.
The Beating Workplace Performance Anxiety survey of 1,000 workplaces was conducted by RADA in Business, the commercial arm of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art that provides communication skills training for corporate individuals.
It found male employees are 45% more likely than women to feel anxious when socialising with their work colleagues, and 14% say specifically that having to make small talk with colleagues brings on the same feelings.
Team building events were also found to be more challenging for men, with almost a fifth (19%) reporting feelings of communications anxiety in relation to these types of occasion. Work social events followed, with 17% reporting the same feelings.
Claire Dale, Tutor at RADA in Business, said: “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.”
In contrast, the report found that female employees experience greater levels of anxiety when giving presentations in front of a group, to colleagues or to management.
The study suggests that while men require more help with skills around spontaneous communication, for women it is about standing their ground and getting their voice heard when stepping into the spotlight – often in situations that may have a significant impact on their career path. Notably, the research shows that women are also 39% more likely to experience workplace anxiety than men when in a job interview and 37% more likely when negotiating a pay rise.