Andreea Zoia: I Have an Insatiable Desire to Become Better Than I Was Yesterday
We met with international presenter, public speaking coach and luxury brand ambassador, Andreea Zoia to discuss why she loves speaking in front of thousands, the importance of first impressions and how we can overcome our fear of speaking up.
Thanks so much for allowing us to interview you, Andreea. We love your energy, confidence, and your story - how did you go from being a model to a public speaking coach?
I must confess, I love the stage. I have been modelling on the most glamorous catwalks across the world, been on the film sets of Hollywood’s directors and shot over 80 TV commercials. Transiting from the ‘’modelling stage’’ to the ‘’speaking one’’ seemed only natural to me. Little that I knew that I would embark on a three-year-long journey of acquiring the skills of a professional presenter. It took me about three years to reduce my regional Romanian accent, master English, and learn the A to Z of public speaking. Workshop after workshop, mentor after mentor, I have moulded into the presenter I am today. I started my public speaking journey from a beginner level. Throughout the years of training, I have stayed curious and I have maintained an insatiable desire to become better than I was yesterday.
What is the biggest concern that your clients have and come to you for?
My mother asked me this question quite frequently. She enjoys learning about the different cases I get to work on. Most of my clients are in executive roles, own their own business or are emerging entrepreneurs. They need to prepare a business pitch, practice a presentation, give speeches and talk to the media. The common denominator that prevents them from speaking with ease is the famous public speaking fear and lack of preparation.
First impressions are important. How can we create a positive one with a new connection?
The rules of impeccable impressions are very easy to follow. Most people need small tweaks and corrections after which they become experts in creating a first impression themselves. The key is acquiring awareness.
Few things to keep in mind is your overall hygiene and personal grooming, personal style and demeanour. Because all form a picture in the other person’s mind. Imagine as if the person you are meeting ‘’clicks a mental picture’’ and attaches emotions to it. The more stylish, groomed and confident you present yourself the bigger the chances to be perceived in a positive light. Among few tips for creating a good impression are smiling, walking straight, making eye contact, giving a confident handshake and having a resonant voice. Aside from looks, your voice has a major role in coming across trustworthy and likeable. And to top it up, remember to give genuine compliments. No one can resist a compliment!
What has been the biggest achievement of your life, do you feel, to date?
If I were to pick just one, I would mention my campaign for Emirates Airlines. When I became the face of Emirates Airlines, friends from across the world were sending me photos from different airports. My campaign for Emirates Airlines gave me international recognition as well as an extra boost of confidence. Being chosen among thousands of international models represented the peak of my modelling career as well a moment of pride for me and my family.
Many of my readers expressed that they struggle to share their opinions and use their ‘voice’ at work – what would you advise?
The inability to speak up, share our opinions as women in the workplace is rooted in many years of cultural and personal conditioning. Not being able to voice our thoughts has become a habit. And every habit has a cycle of being learned and unlearned. However, there are many quick and long-term fixes to get one’s confidence back. Among others, one should try journaling. Writing in a diary gives you the opportunity to unload trapped emotions. Aside from that, I recommend keeping track of interactions. I often guide some of my clients to take small steps towards being more expressive and monitor it.
Do you still get nervous when you speak in front of audiences of thousands? How can we overcome our fear?
Feeling nervous means our nervous system is alerting us that something of bigger proportions is about to happen. Imagine we all live inside a circle. Everything in that circle is familiar to us. We feel safe. Each time we do something unknown, we step outside this circle and then our system makes us feel edgy due to the possible danger. Our brain wants to protect us from what it doesn’t know. I often ask my clients, how come we don’t get nervous when we travel for the first time to a different country? Well, simply because we associate pleasure and contentment to the experience. And I do the same. I visualize and affirm the benefits of presenting or giving a keynote. I imagine all the possible positive scenarios, replacing the unpleasant images of my protective nervous system with exciting ones. Last but not least the five years of stage experience have reduced these moments of nervousness helping me to create a positive state faster.
When you aren’t presenting, coaching or being a luxury brand ambassador, what are you doing? And what is next on the cards for you?
In my free time, I enjoy doing nothing. Being an A-type personality, I have conditioned myself to learn to do nothing. You know the famous line from the movie ‘’Eat, Pray, Love’’? ‘’Il dolce far niente’’ – it means the sweetness of doing nothing. Because I spent a good chunk of my time on stage or coaching, I need to balance it with a lot of quiet time. Many coaches and teachers will confess that the art of growing and developing people is very exhausting. So when I unwind I like to press the off button and gaze into the horizon.
Since the success of my first public speaking workshop for women only – ‘’The Art of Connection For Women,’’ I’m in discussions with several brands to take the workshop to more countries and allowing women in the region to come together, master their public speaking skills and voice.
Thanks, Andreea! You can visit her website or connect with her on LinkedIn and Instagram. Exciting news for our readers - Andreea will be on the Deals in High Heels stage next Tuesday the 13th of March to give us tools to overcome our fear of speaking.