23:33 31 January 2021
Post by: WBJ

Got stage fright?

The best way to tackle stage fright is “good preparation and the right training,” Magdalena Fiałkowska, a celebrated public-speaking trainer, confides.

Got stage fright?

WBJ: Why is public speaking so difficult?

Magdalena Fiałkowska: Public speaking fear is pretty common. In the past centuries, the fight or flight reaction was necessary to survive. Higher cortisol levels motivated our bodies to do the only reasonable thing. But right now we don’t have to fight or run away from a tiger or a bear. The reaction has stayed but we deal with a different reality and the worst thing that can happen is that audience will not like our presentation.

How to deal with stage fright?

Glossophobia – the strong fear of public speaking – is one of the most common fears. We have to deal with public speaking starting from kindergarten plays. As adults we attend job interviews, give business presentations or make a toast at a wedding. There are many ways to deal with stage fright but many examples prove that the best way is good preparation and the right training. Even the best relaxation techniques will not help if we have no clue what we are going to talk about.

What would you recommend to someone who wants to start public speaking?

I would advise on attaining knowledge and practicing. Two factors here are crucial: theory and practice. There are plenty of interesting books on the market about public speaking. You can join local Toastmaster clubs, workshops for amateur theater, watch TED Talks and get a coach or join workshops about public speaking.

Can anyone learn to be a good performer?

I believe yes. This is a skill like driving a car. In the beginning, you have to think about changing gears, looking at the correct mirror, remembering road regulations, etc. but afterward, it becomes second nature. I’m even convinced that public speaking can become as pleasant as driving a car. Being a good speaker means having the skills to create interesting content and being conscious about the dynamics of your speech, gestures, body language, voice, and stage movement. These are things that you can definitely work on if you are motivated and willing to learn. I have worked with a variety of clients ranging from students to CEOs and artists. Regardless of your position or title, anyone can become a good performer. 

Six tips for a good  presentation:

• prepare interesting and engaging content for the audience

• use storytelling techniques

• practice breathing and mindfulness techniques on a regular basis

• practice in front of different groups of people

• continuously build your speaking skills as this will give you confidence and fortify your toolbox

• visualize your performance at the real location or try rehearsing at this spot

Magdalena Fiałkowska is the head of speakers at TEDxWarsaw, an ICF professional certified coach (PCC), and the owner of

magdalena fiałkowska

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