So many professionals obsess over trying to deliver the perfect speech.
What people fail to realise is that they just need to be comfortable with themselves, and let their unique personality and charm shine through – at least, according to public speaking coach, author, and professional speaker Benjamin Loh.
“I think anyone can be charismatic enough provided they are comfortable in their own skin,” explains Benjamin.
“It’s about being immersed in your emotions and thoughts.”
As a public speaking coach and professional speaker, Benjamin leads by example.
He speaks with a disarming familiarity that allows his audience to connect with him on an emotional level. As he opens up to share stories about how he was a victim of serial bullying, or about the time his grandmother passed away, it’s no wonder people are moved by his words.
Benjamin reveals that the reason he shares such personal stories is because “that is the moment [he is] most emotionally connected and the most emotionally free.”
Igniting The Spark
Although he had an education in accounting and received distinguished job offers in accounting, Benjamin realised that he had zero affinity for numbers.
“I could spend four years trying to balance my balance sheets,” he chuckles.
“Everyone else in class could do it, but I could not do it.”
Instead, Benjamin took up his first job in sales because he realised that he had a penchant for working and interacting with people.
Sitting across from someone, his eyes would naturally light up, and he enjoyed immersing himself in the fluidity of the process. It wasn’t long before he noticed that this passion burned the brightest when he was on stage coaching and teaching people.
Therefore, his career in sales purposefully prepared and developed himself for entrepreneurship, leading him to where he is today.
At 29, Benjamin Loh has earned a myriad of achievements to his name.
He is the Founder of the Speaker’s Flare Training & Consultancy, a niche outfit founded to empower executives in communicating effectively and persuasively.
He is also the youngest Associate Certified Coach (ACC) in Singapore (and possibly Asia Pacific).
After publishing his book INSPIRIT in 2015, he has even fulfilled his bucket list dream of being an author before hitting 30.
Gaining Strength Through Adversity
However, it wasn’t always a bed of roses in the journey through his life and his career.
After enduring a decade of bullying since the age of seven, Benjamin began attending a life coaching program on the cusp of his adolescence.
Despite a failed attempt to find one of the biggest bullies in his life, Benjamin learned to reconcile his emotions and realise that “even the bullies have a purpose in your life”.
“I learned to appreciate how the scars that he has left on me, whether physical or emotional, are actually like an emblem of strength for me,” Benjamin pondered.
“In retrospect, the bullies made me even stronger.”
When tasked to recall another important learning point from his career journey, Benjamin shares a story of failure.
Early on in his career, one of Benjamin’s mentors found himself unable to conduct a training session, and tasked Benjamin to carry out the assignment in his stead.
Being young, ambitious, and overeager, Benjamin readily accepted.
On the actual day of the training session, Benjamin found himself unequipped to adequately meet expectations, and the client found it a waste of time.
This created one of the most important junctures in Benjamin’s life, and bestowed upon him the lesson that sometimes learning to say ‘no’ is more important than saying ‘yes’.
“Being a young entrepreneur, sometimes the tendency to want to say ‘yes’ is so huge and so tempting. Everyone talks about ‘hustling’ – just say ‘yes’ and everything will fall into place,” muses Benjamin.
“I think sometimes it’s also about listening to yourself, and if there’s really a nagging doubt inside, saying ‘no’ is much better than saying ‘yes’ out of haste.”
Dealing With Doubt
Given that the knee-jerk response for most people is to stubbornly overcome doubt, Benjamin reveals a couple of methods to evaluate whether that lingering doubt in your head is worth listening to.
“You need to find out the source of your doubt,” he says pointedly. “To be able to introspect and retrospect is one of the most important skills that we don’t learn in school and we don’t learn enough in life.”
Self-reflecting will often give you some answers, allowing you to come to a conclusion about whether your doubt stems from emotional inadequacy or something objective such as a capacity and bandwidth issue.
If you’ve identified it as the latter, then you need to ask yourself if you can offload something to take on the challenge or if you should say ‘no’.
Secondly, Benjamin offers and abides by the age-old advice of surrounding yourself with people who are much wiser and more experienced than yourself, so that “you’re never becoming an echo chamber, where you say something and you hear the same words back to yourself.”
For himself, Benjamin has approximately eight different mentors he can approach who can help guide him through the different facets of life – such as relationships, business growth, and spirituality.
If he ever finds himself going through a rough patch, a short conversation with one of his mentors is enough to provide him with the clarity and answers that he needs.
“As humans, we will go through many moments of uncertainty,” says Benjamin.
“The best thing to do is always realise that no man is an island. If you start to form support circles, and you have advice from trusted people around you, then that whole management of doubt would become clearer.”
However, Benjamin sharply points out that, after receiving advice from the people around you, the decision tackle your doubt still rests squarely on your shoulders.
“Part of adulthood is making choices and being responsible for whatever consequences come with your choices.”
This story first appeared in Vulcan Post.