Becoming a motivational speaker with a stammer

A man looking at the camera, with screengrabs of the same man

Dilpreet Dhinjan tells us about getting past stammering-related shyness to make videos sharing messages of positivity.

I've stammered for as long as I can remember. When I was younger, I was very shy and introverted, and did everything I could to hide my stammer. I didn't put my hand up in lessons or take part in discussions and only spoke to a few people throughout primary school. This could've been because I was ashamed of my stammer and didn't want others to make fun of me.

In Year 6, I went from being introverted to one of the funniest in the class. I was inspired by watching Mr Bean when I came home from school. The character was someone who didn't speak at all but used his funny antics with simplistic actions to create entertainment. Looking back, I massively resonated with this and began using my movements and facial expressions rather than my voice. As a result, I generated lots of laughter and developed confidence, which all my teachers and classmates mentioned in the Leavers Assembly. In the final few months at primary school, I started speaking more by reading my work out in front of the class and talking in groups for the 'Friday Creative' projects.

I was inspired by watching Mr Bean... I massively resonated with this and began using my movements and facial expressions rather than my voice.

When I started secondary school, things were going well. I went to the newly-opened The British Sikh School (now TKAW) with other students from Italy, India and Spain. The atmosphere there was positive and nurturing, which boosted my confidence.

However, we moved house which meant relocating to a different school. I went straight back to being shy, as I arrived after everyone had already made their friendship groups. During the first few years I didn't engage in lessons and rushed home as soon as possible. But one day I had enough and cried in the canteen, where to my surprise a few incredible students came up and comforted me, then brought me into their friendship group. Thanks to their kindness I started to grow in confidence and spoke to more people. I'm grateful to them.

I left school and went to university and during my first year I went back to being very introverted. It was a new world with fresh faces. But in the second year I felt I had better experience. I went out and spoke to as many new people as possible. In classes, I took on the role of leader, assigning roles and allocating tasks, and led group modules and presentations.

Inspiring others

Five years ago I didn't know what my purpose was. I felt lost. I started to watch inspirational videos from people motivational speakers like Tony Robbins, and sportspeople including Cristiano Ronaldo and Muhammad Ali. They really inspired me with their motivational messages. It sparked off an idea of becoming a motivational speaker myself I could use my experiences to help inspire others who are shy because they stammer to put themselves out there and develop confidence.

I could use my experiences to help inspire others who are shy because they stammer to put themselves out there and develop confidence.

I decided to make motivational videos and vlogs and share them on social media. Through my YouTube channel and TikTok account, @dilpreetdhinjan, I give messages around motivation, inspiration, kindness and positivity, as well as make videos centred around stammering, for those followers who stammer. For instance, I made a vlog about how people who stammer can prepare and perform in interviews.

I was quite nervous when I started recording myself speaking in front of a camera, and had to go out of my comfort zone. But by consistently putting myself in those situations, I became more comfortable and gained more confidence in my stammer. I have collaborated with other speakers, stammering vloggers and people raising awareness of stammering through social media too, which has helped me to showcase my stammer even further with higher levels of authenticity.

I've been going at it for 2+ years now. I've made over 500 videos and have nearly 1,700 followers on TikTok. The next step is joining Tedx!

I want to make my voice heard so that I can help keep people going to achieve their dreams. I want to inspire others who stammer to not view it as a limitation, or something that hides your true gift, but see it as something that sets you apart from others. Your stammer is a unique selling point; a gift and a competitive advantage.

You can watch my videos and follow me on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube.

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Two women in running outfits holding flags and looking at the camera
Tayo & Bhupinder
A speaker on stage at STAMMAFest 2023

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