Meet Ivana Jozic and Her Approach to Gaining Confidence in Public Speaking

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Image: Claire Newman Williams
Image: Claire Newman Williams

There comes a time when everyone must be in front of an audience, albeit small, or at some point be interviewed and perhaps feel unsuitable or not sufficiently prepared. It happens every day and almost to everyone, be it a professional or a family circumstance. Society itself puts us in front of these daily trials which sometimes become fears.

As always, some people feel more confident and more relaxed than others who get blocked and cannot express themselves just for the simple fear of doing it. Those who are looking for a solution and help in this field could rely on the professionalism of Ivana Jozic. She was born in Zagreb but has built her incredible career as an actress and dancer in Antwerp.


Credit: Masa Lucic

Ivana studied dance at the School for Classical Ballet in Zagreb and the London Contemporary Dance School, but she also studied acting at Drama Studio London.

She started working with the Belgian visual artist, theater director, choreographer, and writer Jan Fabre in 2003 in several performances; she also toured for four years with Fabre’s solo Angel of Death, a worldwide success that won the Golden Laurel Wreath at the MESS International Theatre Festival as the best overall performance. In 2008, Fabre has written and created another solo for her: Another Sleepy, Dusty, Delta Day. She is regularly teaching in Jan Fabre Teaching GroupWorkshops and is still actively performing.

Thanks to her background in education and being professionally active in arts for over 30 years now, she is very well acquainted with the difficulties and limitations that stage fright can create. And that is precisely why she developed an approach for people outside the realm of performing arts and who are presented with the challenge of public speaking, guiding them to overcome their fears and insecurities when on stage, be it an actual stage, podium, a meeting, or an interview. 


Credit: Goran Lepen

In her approach of Speak Through Fear, she points out that we always need to find a way to have a strong relationship with what we are saying. How can we convince others if we are not convinced ourselves? This is the question that we must always answer. Thanks to this redefinition of the person’s motivation in the speaking situation and by guiding the person to a genuine approach towards public speaking, everyone can find the most natural and best way to reach it. 

When did you start this teaching project?

The idea of ‘Speak Through Fear’ teaching/coaching has been present for a long time. I have been teaching in theatre workshops for many years, and at some point, I realized that I could draw parallels working with people outside of the artistic realm on public presentation. Since there is a significant demand for this kind of practical approach to the public presentation, I have decided to create a coaching program. The project started in 2020 as a result o the long-term experience I have as a performer and a teacher. I find it challenging and refreshing to share it with people who are not necessarily directly connected to arts but who can significantly benefit from the mechanisms of presentation skills I am incredibly familiar with.

What kind of professionals and people attend your workshops? 

The workshops are for anyone who wants to improve their public speaking and presentation skills. We have a wide range of participants: creatives who need to present themselves and their work, big companies, managers, freelancers, entrepreneurs, executives, policymakers, representatives of the EU institutions, NGOs, students, sales & marketing experts, real estate agents, yoga teachers, and other professionals. These are not always people having some fear and obstacles when facing a public speech, but they can also be very experienced with public speaking, but nevertheless want to work on the improvement and development of their skills and appearance, both online or offline. And this workshop is created for both categories in order to feel safe and supported while learning how to deal with fear or challenges in the arena of public presentation.

How many people are in your working groups?

It is a workshop designed for every individual type of job. Otherwise, the experience of the participants becomes too passive. Therefore, I have limited the number of participants from 4 up to 10. Everything above that would not be fair and would not give a chance to the participants to experience what I am aiming for. For people who would like a more individualized approach, I also work with them in 1-to-1 individual mentoring, including short-term and long-term mentoring consisting of monitoring, advising, and guiding the person in their process and development.


Credit: Masa Lucic

What’s the difference between the various coaching courses we have now and this one? 

The main difference is that it is a workshop of a practical nature. What does that mean? It means we are not sitting and talking (only), but we tend to test public presentations in practice and, in this way, give participants a possibility to experience and learn. I am using relaxation exercises to enhance focus and concentration and several physical activities to liberate the body and voice. And then, the main part of the workshop is working on each participant’s speech individually. In that way, participants have a chance to test their speeches and, together with me, find out how to improve the speech itself and the way it is presented. There is no specific technique to master. Each participant is encouraged to find their own most authentic and comfortable way. I am guiding them in that process. Participants’ feedback we have received so far is overwhelmingly positive. Recently, one of my participants told me that this was a unique experience for her after she attended many different public speaking workshops. She emphasized the importance of this practical, rehearsing part, and exercises we are doing at the workshop, which is missing from many other public speaking workshops.

You hold your workshop mainly in Antwerp. You have scheduled two workshops in April, the 2nd in Brussels and the 9th in Antwerp. What about Croatia? Last year you organised a workshop on the island of Vis. Will you replicate this year? 

This year, we will organize a workshop again on the island of Vis for a limited number of participants. It will be a 3-day public speaking workshop from 9th to 12th June in a format of business gateway for clients from all over the world. Far away from busy lives, this workshop will combine work with the amazing nature of the enchanting island of Vis, good food, excursions, and relaxation. Along with deep individual coaching and intensive work with me on improving participants’ skills in public speaking, participants will be given a chance to find peace and concentration, allowing their innate skills and talents to develop.  We are preparing a special offer, and soon you will know all the details. Places are limited to a maximum of 12 people, so I would like to take this opportunity and invite all the interested people from Croatia as well, to register already to reserve their place and join us in this unique opportunity of professional development on a beautiful Vis! This would be also a great opportunity for them to meet, connect and network with other international business professionals. You can find all the information on our Speak Through Fear website.

For more, check out our lifestyle section 


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