Lilian Ong: A Public Speaker Empowering Women with Opportunities
Lilian Ong
Lilian Ong

In a situation of dire need, an individual learns how to sail the ship through the storm. One of the most remarkable displays of bravery is overcoming fear, which is no less than a storm in life. To accomplish this, one needs determination and perseverance because a step towards the transformation process is a step toward success.

Lilian Ong, Founder and Director of Class Living Pte Ltd., is an aspiring personality who worked on her fear of public speaking and won over it. Her narrative serves as motivation for anyone aspiring to be a public speaker and has a significant impact on numerous other students and workers who struggle with communication. She is a socialist with unique plans for women’s empowerment.

Initially, Lilian didn’t understand the underlying reason for her fear of public speaking until she set out on a path of self-awareness and growth. As a child, an incident during the morning assembly at her school is still ingrained in her mind. She was thrilled to lead the school in reciting the national pledge during the assembly. Sadly, Lilian, then ten years old, stammered and ran short of words.

Recalling the incident, Lilian says, “My heart was thundering so hard it was about to explode from my chest. I was gasping for air and felt like I had a frog in my throat. My hands shook uncontrollably, my knees turned to jelly, and I could hear a pin drop as all eyes were on me. I just wanted to find a hole and jump in!”

After this incident, the teacher who had chosen her told her not to lead the pledge the following day. Her confidence dropped from the sky to the ground.

Even in small groups, she battled the fear of public speaking throughout her childhood. Every time she was asked to speak or give a presentation, she would always experience a panic attack. This impacted her career, academic background, and, eventually, her business.

She was tired of constantly maintaining silence when someone asked her to speak. But she decided to overcome her fear rather than give in to it. She eventually faced her fear and stopped self-sabotaging behaviors and self-doubt by joining leadership programs and a networking platform. She gradually discovered how to get over her fear of public speaking.

The most notable achievement was when she introduced her first book, “Women of Courage, Breaking the Fear Barrier,” and told her courageous story in front of 5,000 people in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Empowering Women

Lilian established Class Living Pte Ltd., an organization whose mission is to support women in realizing their goals and aspirations while transforming their communities via leadership. Through coaching, mentoring, and an ecosystem of community support, they hope to inspire and empower women to break free from self-doubt, fear, and limiting beliefs to live a life of courage, purpose, and significance.

Winning Over the Challenges

Lilian faced many challenges in her journey as a public speaker. First, conquering fear and anxiety was her biggest challenge because of her early trauma associated with public speaking. She would experience a panic attack before speaking, so she needed to learn how to control her mental, emotional, and physical states. This includes mastering her physiology, calming her nerves, managing her emotions, and refreshing her mind. That starts with the “Awakening Courage” journey and introspective self-discovery.

Also, her lack of confidence made her highly self-conscious in her early years. Her next task was to get better at recognizing and dismantling those limiting and self-defeating beliefs so that her audience would be the center of attention instead of her. To keep the audience from becoming disinterested or lost entirely, she also learned to engage the audience emotionally and maintain their attention.

She will remain mired in a cycle of self-doubt and insufficient confidence to command the stage until she truly understands and believes that her speaking mission is to inspire and empower women to live their dreams and destinies by providing them with the tools and strategies to become leaders and influencers.

Her delivery presented the third difficulty. She had trouble committing the script to memory. She got so reliant on reading the script aloud that she lost track of what she wanted to say and became confused.

She thus allowed herself to explore and experiment with the various speaking styles to find her delivery style rather than memorizing the script. She also took a long time to develop ideas for rapport building at the opening to engage the audience or immerse them in her experiences, stories, or world. She eventually discovered her voice and created a structure to aid in internalizing her speech.

Star Performer

Lilian owns the stage from the moment she steps on it. She also entered the stage with the perspective of a friend, storyteller, coach, and leader. She recalls instances in which the slides had technical issues. Instead of waiting for the technical staff to wave their magic wand, she is prepared to engage the audience through interactive activities rather than just waiting helplessly.

She is a champion who constantly emphasizes internalizing one’s speech or narrative. The purpose of the slides is to support and enhance the speech; they shouldn’t take center stage. She wants her audience to connect with her and not get distracted by the slides. With confidence and efficiency, she handles every mess on the stage.

Gadgets to Connect with the Audience

Everybody learns differently, even Lilian, who prefers kinesthetic and experiential learning. She spent years researching, testing, and assessing before developing her unique “Courage Blueprint,” which consists of several straightforward frameworks that enable her to interact with her audience and give them the confidence to act.

As a gift to her community and those participating in her five-day masterclass and challenge, “Courage to Impact” and “SPEAK! With Courage,” Lilian offers two frameworks: “The Victorious Model” and “The 3A Approach.”

Communication Connecting Communities

As Lilian’s mentor, John Maxwell, said, and she quotes, “Leadership is influence.”  Influence is the capacity to motivate and uplift people, inspiring them to take intentional steps that open doors for themselves and others by utilizing effective communication.

Beyond methods, effective communication delves deeper into comprehending, relating to, and influencing others. In the professional world, a person can have a transformative effect and produce outcomes that may surpass their expectations if they teach students how to communicate their message with conviction, clarity, and connection. They can also inspire and motivate their team, report to a board of directors or other stakeholders, or work in sales and marketing.

Relationships in the personal sphere would exhibit more significant levels of intimacy, trust, and authenticity in marriages, parent-child relationships, families, and friendships. The bravery to raise one’s voice and participate in challenging discussions may prevent marriages from ending in divorce. To prevent their children from being misled and leading wayward lives, parents should establish a stronger connection with them to direct and guide them to conduct themselves with solid core values.

Communities can become more vital and closer when people communicate effectively and align their goals, dreams, and purposes. This will help create a safer society and culture that will benefit all community members and future generations.

Maintaining a Healthy Mind

Lilian knows that her actions are motivated by her identity and purpose. Actions precede clarity, which ignites confidence, and conviction awakens courage, manifested as intentional and committed action. She, therefore, makes sure that as soon as she gets out of bed in the morning, she embraces her identity and reminds herself of her purpose. She developed a framework known as “Mindset Check-in,” which she uses with her coaching clients and community volunteers, such as “HER Courage Biznetwork” and “Women of Courage Asia.”

Since her company reflects on herself, maintaining a daily “Mindset Check-in” habit keeps her optimistic in her personal and professional life. She also scheduled “Silence and Solitude” time. To tune in to her inner self, her subconscious, and her spirit to establish a connection with God, she would purposefully immerse herself in nature regularly while turning off all outside voices.

Memorable Events

At the “Building Courageous Women Leaders Conference” in Cambodia in 2023, Lilian was asked to address and mentor a group of roughly 150 leaders from various industries.

The Learning Gateway is a professional platform that offers chances for professionals and businesses to thrive in a forward-thinking atmosphere, and the SCIA Cambodia – Singapore (Cambodia) International Academy collaborated to organize the half-day event.

She didn’t anticipate this leadership development program’s influence on the younger leaders in attendance that day. After hearing each group’s sharing, she recalled how the entire atmosphere in the auditorium changed, and she encouraged everyone, expressing how inspired and overwhelmed she felt.

She encouraged them to persevere in pursuing their goals and aspirations to transform Cambodia via brave leadership! Many people approached her after the training to express their gratitude for giving them the courage to speak up and take charge and for inspiring and enabling them with leadership skill sets.

This conference stood out because it demonstrated and accomplished her vision and mission!

A Dream for Revolution

As a public speaker, Lilian wants to see the women who have listened to her speak or participated in her coaching and training programs make the brave decision to act and bring about the change they desire.

These women’s spheres of influence contain success stories, testimonies, reviews, and reports of them leading courageous lives and making a positive difference. The strength of the volunteer and community leader team supporting her and the expansion of women’s communities in terms of quality and quantity are testaments to what success looks like.

Advice for Aspiring Speakers

Lilian adores the quote by St Francis of Assisi, “Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly, you’re doing the impossible.” She was inspired to act by this quote and began empowering herself to become a courageous coach and public speaker.

She says, “We don’t know what we don’t know.” Look for a coach or mentor who has been there before, who one can relate to and connect with, and who has the coaching abilities to empower and equip. A person wants to be sure that their vision, mission, and core values are all in line. They also want to be sure that the person they are receiving from is trustworthy and always has their best interests at heart.

Lilian always reminds her community, “Courage is the choice to take action in the face of fear, and it takes intentional action to create the change you want to see.” It’s alright to make mistakes; learning is messy, and actions precede clarity. She advises to focus on making progress, not perfection.

She believes that a person’s life experiences contain their message. She also enjoys hearing about other people’s lives. Every event in life has a vast amount of wisdom. One should do introspective reflection to uncover gold in one’s life story!

Plans for 2024 and Beyond

By 2024, Lilian hopes to have opened doors to opportunities beyond her wildest dreams to use her coaching and speaking to have a more profoundly transformative impact. Over the past five years, she has begun to explore and experiment on her home territory in Singapore and a few other Asian countries.

She feels empowered to reach out to more Asian women worldwide and advocate for courageous leadership because of the influence and testimonies she has witnessed and received.

In terms of personal growth, she sees herself maturing in character and stepping up to the next level of courage and boldness as she grows in her intimacy with God.

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