Salima El Yaalaoui

I am Salima EL YAALAOUI, Vice President of Public Relations for my Toastmasters Club called Radiant Rhetoric and confidence & leadership coach, motivational speaker and podcast host when I’m not serving in the various exciting events all 5 Toastmasters Clubs of Turin take part in.

In this article, I’d like to share with you all an easy-to-remember acronym to fight the stage fright and inspire you to jump on the stage and gift others your perspective on topics that significantly helped you grow into the leader you now are, so that you can in turn each fellow members and prospective ones to do the same!

The only decisions you’ll most probably regret on your deathbed, will be the ones you never dared to make…

This is the number one regret people have on their deathbed, according to Bronnie Ware, the Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives and author of the bestselling book “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.”

Indeed, there’s something worse than death itself and it’s not dinner with your in-laws, do you have an idea?

Ok, here’s another tip: it’s something you can do anywhere and the more you’re creative, the more it’s orgasmic … still no idea?

Ok, last tip: all of you fellow Toastmasters members have been doing it for several months for some, and several years for others.

Here is the answer: a study showed that public speaking is the absolute n°1 fear and outranks the fear of death! Can you you believe it?!

To my understanding, there are 3 reasons for that and I am suggesting you the funny acronym UFO to easily remember them, be able to recognize them when they arise and crush them by taking action and jumping on the stage to share your insights with all of us:


1. the Unknown. A great solution to beat it is to DE-sacralize it all!
How? My advice is to research your topic and feel emotionally what you’re saying & get familiar with room. Because the more you reduce the “unknown factors”, the less your reptilian brain will feel triggered. Indeed, this small part at the back of your brain responsible for primitive drives and which goes into survival mode used to be very useful to our ancestors to protect their tribes and land. However, given that we’re not exactly cavemen anymore and we generally don’t risk our lives in our everyday modern world, most of these stimuli are actually mental limitations that are preventing us to do things that would actually make us significantly grow, as public speaking does, for instance.

2. Failing. Think of the saying “practice makes perfect”. Actually, I owe this tip to the Toastmasters experience at large: Rehearsal is a huge part of what we’re doing here and the feedback we received after each performance helps us improve ourselves one speech at a time. I would recommend to look at Toastmasters like a “public speaking gym”: the more you build up your “speech muscle” in a friendly atmosphere, the more your performances in front of a large crowd of strangers will feel effortless and even enjoyable.
To be honest, I would say that like all things in life, the more we accept how shitty we are at the beginning but still keep working on it anyways, the more we’ll improve our skills!

3. the audience’s Opinion. I can personally guarantee noticeable results if you visualize yourself in advance giving the speech and it being successful from A to Z. Don’t take my word for it, just try it and you’ll see for yourself!

The reason for that is: studies show that the mind isn’t able to differentiate the truth from the imagination. So, I’d say: take advantage of your “brain bug” to make it a strength!

My secret that I’ve just found as an experienced yogi in my down-time is 15min of yoga before a speech is ideal because of breathing, movement with asanas, and mind grounding with meditation.

Other than that, I really truly enjoy the opportunity of sharing thoughts, life experiences but, most importantly, the energy flowing and the emotions exchanged.

So my mind focuses on the pleasure I get from it and stays away from considerations like the Unknown, the risk to Fail, and being preoccupied by the Opinion of others.

In short, I tend to focus on sharing on an emotional level and trusting that I fully master the topic I’m talking about.

Thus, the “monkey mind” is switched off and can’t jump from an interpretation to the next.

Now, if you still feel like you’re too afraid to act on it, think back and tell yourself: EITHER I have to do it ASAP OR I will commit to give a speech every two weeks in this club.

So, what do you choose?!!