Among all stressors, the social stress is the most impacting. Being watched by others while performing a task is stressful. It is even more so when there are high expectations regarding our performance or when the audience is large, or when we are being watched by people whom we believe have a higher hierarchical position than us.

When pitching to a client, talking to a camera or a large audience, or reassuring your team on sensitive issues, we feel ourselves not being ‘natural’: the stress does change our behaviours. For instance, some naturally smiling women suddenly can only display blank faces; some people start to speak hesitantlyalthough they usually are very self-confident/assertive ; others will appear fidgety... This can go as far as displaying simultaneously a permanent light smile and surprised and fearful eyes (François Hollande) or asymmetrical, twitchy movements of the lips that people read as ‘social disgust’ (Nicolas Sarkozy). Each of us tend to express the same parasite behaviours across all types of stressful situations. However, they vary between individuals. We are all different and have our own range of specific parasite behaviours. It is paramount for everyone to discover one’s own specific defence mechanisms. Indeed they impact our communication negatively: some appear not be social, others, lacking authority,...

As a client puts it : « That person on the screen, it’s not really me. It’s the first time that I hear someone clarify my mixed feelings about my performance, predict how the audience will receive my talk/speech in terms of authority, trust, sociability, and point out the very specific behaviours that I had never noticed before. »