In today’s segment, InternSG has the pleasure of interviewing Benjamin Loh for our Featured Student Write-ups series. Benjamin is a final year Accountancy undergraduate at the Singapore Management University (SMU), founder and owner of a public speaking training company, Speaker’s Flare Training & Consultancy as well as an internationally credentialed and recognized Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coach Federation (ICF).
Q1. Public speaking is something that most people fear. What made you step up to be a speaker or a toastmaster?
Frankly speaking, public speaking was something that frightened me for a good twenty years of my life. It was only until I met my Coach in 2008 that I realized what exactly I feared about speaking and how they came about in the first place. Knowing the truths of my life was what set me free and in the direction to pursue my passion and dream in speaking. I deeply appreciate every opportunity to be on stage as those are the moments I feel the most alive and connected to who I am and why I do what I do!
It is on stage that I become the vessel for the message I want to share, the cause for the change I want to effect and the source of inspiration for my audience whose lives I want to impact.
Q2. Tell us more about being a Toastmaster, how does one become one? Are there any pre-requisites?
Becoming a Toastmaster is a necessary step towards becoming a better speaker and leader. In a nutshell, it is one of the rare environments where you can have the privilege to err and shine as a speaker and hone your skills at the art of speaking. For more information, visit the Toastmasters International website (http://www.toastmasters.org/MainMenuCategories/WhyJoin.aspx).
The pre-requisites are the same as those relevant when you pick up a new skill – commitment and courage to persevere on in the path of speaking even when things don’t go your way or when voices in your head tell you otherwise.
Q3. You said you are an Activist, so how do you define ‘Activist’ in your own terms?
An activist is someone who is willing and able to dedicate his time, energy and resources into a certain direction in this world to effect positive change and inspire hope.
Q4.You described yourself as a Coach, young people are very individualistic these days, would they want to be coached?
I don’t know for sure if they would want to be coached, but I’m for the belief that our world needs a lot more listening and that’s where I come in as a Coach. As a professional Coach, my role is multi-dimensional and changes according to the context and needs of my clients.
In which case, the desire to be individualistic or in another sense of the word, self-aware, is a powerful force and motivation in coaching for clients, both young and old. In fact, my older clients are in their forties and fifties and you’d be surprised at and put to shame by the curiosity and thirst they have for their lives.
Life is a continuous process of self discovery and revelations and there are times we all struggle to make sense of what is happening and how to make sense of conflicting information and signs from both outside and within our world. Having a Coach by your side is akin to have an aide to question your beliefs, listen to what’s said and unsaid and be intuitive and trustable enough to empower you and support you in areas that you like to grow as an individual.
Q5. You mentioned that you were lost or drowning in this world before but you were enlightened. How does one realize this when much of the pursuit in life these days are material possessions?
The path of enlightenment takes a lifetime and I wouldn’t dare say I am so. By virtue of being coached and having coached clients of varying life experiences, I am fortunate to have gradually developed the foresight when it comes to making defining and conscious choices in life. That said, I’m every bit as prone to making misguided decisions and having the responsibility to learn from each and every one of them.
This question will take another interview altogether but my brief response will be the beliefs that I look to in the Four Noble Truths as espoused in Buddhism. Though I like to qualify that my methods in relating to my clients have been still by and large, secular in nature.
Q6. Have you done an internship before? And why the plunge into entrepreneurship instead?
Yes, I have done 4 internships in functions of Public Relations (PR), marketing, management, editorial and corporate tax in SMEs and a NPO. In fact, I’m in the process of securing my 5th one. Those experiences have been most fruitful, as they have exposed me to myriad experiences and personal lessons that have added on to the other aspects of my work and life.
I do not think that entrepreneurship is mutually exclusive with the internships I have attempted, or working for a company or others, for that matter. Both pursuits provide me with their own defining experiences that I feel are important to my growth in this stage of life. My plunge into entrepreneurship is to materialize an intention to pursue my dream as a professional speaker and to take the necessary concrete actions to claim stake and ownership of my dream. By running my own company, I get the ability and freedom to experiment with content and methods to teach and train my trainees, which I may not be able to do so with other companies.
Q7. Share with us THREE key values that you subscribe to that make you a confident person you are today and why are they important to you?
Integrity – staying true to what I commit to myself and others and taking necessary steps to correct my mistakes when I do err.
Courage – sticking to what I believe in and constantly throwing myself wholeheartedly into it without fear or holdback. A quote from late Irish playwright takes the words out of my mouth, “All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Discipline – executing the necessary but oftentimes painful deeds to get me nearer to my goals, one step at a time.
Q8. What do you look forward to in the next 5 years?
Mastery and excellence in speaking and coaching, more fulfilling and rewarding relationships and a deeper level and awareness of myself and the roles I can play in this world we live in.
Q11. How can you be contacted?
To find out more about my personal journey, visit http://www.about.me/benjaminloh.
For enquiries about Public Speaking/Coaching/Activism related matters, visit http://www.benjaminloh.sg and click ‘Contact’ to connect with me.
Thank you for reading our featured article on Benjamin, stay tuned while we will will soon publish another short expertise article on Public Speaking written by Benjamin himself.
We hope you like the “Featured Student Write-ups” article series. If you are someone, or you know of someone who has an interesting background (having great excellence in extra-curriculum activities, or possessing special talents, or can write really interesting articles), don’t miss this opportunity to be featured in this write-up series on InternSG: the most popular internship portal in Singapore!
Please feel free to with a short executive summary of yourself (or the person you are referring to), and we will get back to you with more information.