Tag Archives: mind brokenness

Zone of Normality and the fear of standing out

About a year old* and until now unpublished, here comes an essay about social anxiety theory and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (the main treatment for social anxiety disorders); following a Social Phobia diagnosis a few years prior**… 


Social Anxiety, part 1: defining social anxiety disorders

‘Normality’ is an ill defined, but eagerly used benchmark for human behaviour that has always confused me. The tricky bit is that normality does not exist, and everybody knows it but pretend that it is the standard for how people behave. There does not exist a normal person. Everybody is unique and different in some way.

People’s perceptions of what it is to be normal – what others might think about them and how they ought to behave – depend on culture, gender, age and many other factors, but any culture has a zone of normality defined by subtle rules, exceptions and grey areas. And in any culture, the need to belong and the fear of social exclusion shapes behaviours, personalities, the way people relate to each other and who they accept. Mild worrying about what others might think is a normal and benevolent aspect of being a social creature.


Social anxiety helps us to remain sensitive to the feelings and needs of others, which is a core foundation of cooperation and building relationships.

Social Anxiety Support: Is Social Anxiety Always a Bad Thing?


However, social fear can spin out of control and damage social confidence and the ability to pursue a fulfilling life. That is when social anxiety becomes a disorder.
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No Yes! I got the job!

My last post was about not getting the job as a Research Interviewer. Now I got it anyway!

What are the odds of being called back and offered a job after first being rejected? They called me again and asked if I am still interested. The lady said that they have more work in my area and have reconsidered what I said about being fine with the risks and interviewing people with different socio-economic backgrounds. Yay! I start training next week!

Preparation & probation

The preparation requirements and planning (which I have already received in writing) are thought through and fair and well organised, as everything seems to be with this organisation.

There is a questionnaire to hand in by the start of the course. It seems to be a sort of exam in the organisation’s values and the character and duties of the job. I’ll also need pass photos and a ‘fit for work certificate’ from my GP this week.

The formal job offer will be given by the end of the seven day training course. As is the norm in Australia, the first 3 months of the job is a probation period where I can get sacked without any specific reason and virtually no notice. So the job isn’t secure as such, but this is a start, and an income… which is a great improvement since last week.

Preliminary worries

With this success on board, I have started to worry about the training. Not the training itself, but the seven days of social challenges.
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Non-verbal Communication in a Business Meeting

Project Daisy: Part IV.

Non-verbal communication challenges when meeting a client.

I met with Daisy for the second and last time a few days ago. There is still work to do, but now I know exactly how to do it, and I expect the project to be finalised this week.

The meeting lasted almost two hours again, but otherwise went well. I explained what I have done and why, what can’t been done (one desired function is not an option in the shopping cart), and which solution I’ve made to achieve that function in a different way.

The agenda was to get feedback on all the web pages and the layout of the shopping cart, activate the shopping cart, and make a detailed list over desired adjustments to each web page so I can action them and finalise the job. I strove to time-manage the meeting professionally while also allowing the client to be human. Daisy is a good client: rational, reliable, to-the-point, and flexible. I felt professional, competent and in charge all the time and went from the meeting with good actionable notes and quick drawings so I know precisely what to do.

Post-meeting management

After the meeting, I rewrote my notes into a structured summary/to-do list for the final adjustments to-be-done, which I emailed to Daisy. It sums up what we discussed and agreed on, so that it is clear to Daisy what I think she wants me to do. That way she can correct me if I misunderstood anything.

The summary’s ‘Deliverables’ section with due dates serves as my to-do list for the adjustment work, and reminds Daisy about things she’ll need to action first. I think all that works well.

In the meanwhile, under the surface: non-verbal aspects of a meeting

This post is about the non-verbal aspects of communication in a business meeting. I will in a moment switch from the rational business track of the experience to the underlying non-verbal communications track to explain why I find it challenging.

Non-verbal aspects of communication include face expressions, eye contact, timing, silence, tone of voice, gestures, distance, posture, moves, clothing, and showing and demonstrating things, for example. Ambience* (space, smells, sounds, light… ‘vibe’) also impact and blend into communication; although it is not necessarily an actively controlled element of it.

Guides about non-verbal communication usually focus on how to ‘talk right’ with body language to please others. Continue reading