Bill Benjamin Profile

With 25 years of real-world business experience as a senior leader, leadership coach and motivational speaker, Bill Benjamin knows what it takes to succeed in high-pressure environments, and his thoughts on this have been sought out by groups including the U.S. Army, NASA, Intel, Marriott, Coca-Cola and Goldman Sachs, amongst many others.

Bill is very candid about the fact that early in his career he found leadership difficult when under pressure. The techniques that he teaches as a leadership coach are the ones that he has developed for himself, teaching him to become a better leader, father and husband. He looks at the way in which the brain responds to pressure, and offers a series of straightforward techniques that can help it to cope.

With a background in mathematics and technology (he has advanced degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Waterloo) Bill employs a scientific approach to the increasing of leadership performance.

Currently at IHHP, Bill worked as Vice President at a computer software firm with responsibility for sales, consulting and marketing. He led the company from $2 million sales and a number 10 ranking in their field to $75 million and the #1 slot.

  • View Extended/Alternate Bio

    As a math and computer science guy, Bill discovered the power of managing emotions while he was working in the technology industry. Bill is very honest about the struggles he had early in his career as a leader. He was so impressed by the Institute for Health and Human Potential [IHHP]’s brain science based approach to Emotional Intelligence, and even more so by its practical applications, that he became a partner in the company. Now that’s commitment!

    Bill’s experience in technology and sales gives him real-world experience in the types of challenges that organizations face today. His analytical background in math and computer science drives him to take a practical and scientific approach to helping people understand how the brain responds under pressure, and how that can help increase leadership and performance.

    Bill has an authentic approach that resonates with the audience and especially with those that might be typically resistant to the important relationship between ‘soft-skills’ and exceptional leadership. A natural storyteller, he balances anecdotes with science and research to engage all types of participants. When he is not speaking, Bill spends time working with senior leaders and their teams at Fortune 500 companies helping them overcome the barriers that often hold them back from reaching their full potential.

    Bill loves to write and contributed to the New York Times and Amazon bestselling book, Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When it Matters Most, co-authored by IHHP’s JP Pawliw-Fry and published in 65 countries with multiple translations. Bill is also a regular contributor to CEO magazine, Training Magazine, as well as other leadership publications. Bill is originally from Canada and moved to New York City in the nineties. He now calls Chicago home and it is here you will find him indulging in his other passions – his family, scotch, and cycling.

Bill Benjamin Speaking Videos

Bring Bill Benjamin to Speak Live at Your Event


Check Speaker Availability

Bill Benjamin's Speech Descriptions

Bill Benjamin brings a scientific approach to the art of leadership, combined with his own personal experience, to help leaders to see where their weaknesses are and how they can develop their strengths. He shows that when brilliant people fail it is not due to a lack of intelligence or technical skills, but a lack of emotional intelligence; they don’t know how to manage their emotions and those of others when the pressure starts to tell. Bill lays out a series of practical measures that can help leaders to cope with their own stress under pressure and that of their teams.

Bill shows how to maintain the ability to have conversations with others under pressure, and how to make sure that you get that crucial “Last 8%”–the difficult end of a conversation which so many people avoid so that they do not have to face pressure, the part of the conversation which often contains the things which really need to be said.

Other programs Bill offers show how important it is for leaders to consider their reputations; he demonstrates that every aspect of your business life, from the way people react to you in a meeting to their response to your direction, is shaped by the reputation which precedes you. Once you have listened to Bill, you will be able to leverage your reputation so that it becomes an asset, not a handicap.

Are you an Exceptional Leader?
Why Meeting Your Biggest Challenges has Everything to Do with Leading Under Pressure

Your organization, like many others, is facing big challenges: whether it is an accelerated rate of
change, threat of disruption, ambitious targets or aggressive competition; your people experience
these organizational challenges as pressure. If not managed skillfully, this condition can result in
diminished performance, lower engagement, and an inability to deal with change. It doesn’t have to be
this way.

Research is clear that some leaders are better prepared to handle and lead their people through these
challenges more than others. In this powerful keynote, based on the NY Times best-selling book,
Performing Under Pressure, The Science of Doing Your Best When it Matters Most, your audience will
learn how to leverage pressure to help them get to the other side of performance and succeed in
achieving their most challenging goals.

In this cutting-edge keynote your team will learn:

    • What exceptional leaders do differently from the average, to help their people manage change
      and perform at their best.

    • How to build a culture ready to take “smart risks’ and innovate.
    • Specific tools to leverage pressure and help others get to the next level of performance.

The Science of Emotional Intelligence:
The Missing Ingredient Behind Building a Highly Engaged Organizational Culture

Why would anyone want to be led you? This is the single most important question a manager or leader
needs to ask themselves if they want to unlock the potential and creativity of their people. The reason
your employees get up in the morning and choose to be engaged and productive has nothing to do
with a manager’s level of IQ or technical capabilities, it has everything to do with their manager’s level
of Emotional Intelligence (EI).

The research is clear that Emotional Intelligence is the single most important driver of an engaged,
results-driven, highly effective workforce, especially in environments that are undergoing significant
change and disruption.

In this interactive keynote, your team will discover:

    • What the brain does under pressure and specific tools & strategies to effectively manage
      situations of tension and conflict.

    • Self-awareness: understanding the impact of your leadership style and how to win the hearts and
      minds of your people by connecting to the emotions that drive their behavior.

    • Engaging stories from the frontlines of leaders who are stepping up and winning in the most
      challenging, pressure-filled circumstances.

Why the Conversation You are Not Having is Holding You Back: Getting to The Last 8%

When facing a challenging conversation, most managers adequately cover the first 92% of content
they want to cover. When they get to the more difficult part of the conversation, more often than not,
they avoid the last 8% of the conversation. What’s missed is the critical information and feedback an
individual or organization needs to improve performance, grow and achieve objectives.

Having the “Last 8% Conversation” is one of the key differentiators of world class organizations and
while having them is not easy, it is a skill that can be learned and mastered.

In this powerful keynote, your team will learn:

    • What is a “Last 8% Conversation” and why most people avoid them.
    • How to have these conversations in a way that the other person can hear us.
    • How to navigate the difficult emotions that typically prompt us to avoid the Last 8%

    • How to inspire your team to be more courageous and skillfully step into having the conversations
      they need to have.

All Change is Personal:
Why Leading Through Disruption and Change is About People Not Technology

If the Hippocratic Oath main directive is ‘first, do no harm,’ then the brain’s is ‘first, keep alive.’ Yet the
usual approach most organizations take in managing change and disruption does not take into
consideration this neurological reality. Leaders bring their ‘five-point strategies’ or get overly focused on
the latest technology and completely miss that real change happens in the mind, and more specifically, in
the operating systems (the brains) of their people.

To get your organization to successfully adapt to external disruption and the new world of work, requires
managers and leaders to accept that all change is personal and that until they start managing from this
point of view, their people will not step into uncertainty and take the risks required to achieve successful
change efforts.

In this provocative keynote, your team will hear about other organizations that have succeeded in adapting
to change and disruption by leveraging the operating system of the brain.

Your team will learn:

    • How to identify the traps leaders fall into as they attempt to manage the pressure of change.
    • How to create an environment of risk-taking and learning to adapt to disruption.
    • Concrete tools to help leaders manage their emotions, thoughts and conversations to lead more
      effectively in the face of change and uncertainty.

    • How to help your organization take action and approach the pressure associated with change and
      disruption with more confidence and enthusiasm.

Performing Under Pressure:
The Science of Doing Your Best When it Matters Most

Why are some people able to deliver under pressure while others fall apart? This program, based on
the ground-breaking New York Times bestselling book, Performing Under Pressure, The Science of Doing
Your Best When It Matters Most
, answers this question. After studying more than 12,000 individuals from
around the world, over seven years, IHHP learned what the top 10% performers do to succeed under

In this innovative, case study driven program, you will learn:

    • How to better manage pressure so instead of becoming a ‘derailer’
      it becomes a competitive advantage to grow your career and help your
      organization drive performance.

    • Research from our study of 12,000 people and what the top 10% did to
      excel under pressure.

    • Three pressure insights that will help you avoid the sabotaging effects of

    • Stories of leaders and organizations who have managed pressure
      effectively to get to the other side of performance.

    • How to build your ‘COTE of Armor’ (Confidence, Optimism, Tenacity,
      Enthusiasm) to help inoculate you against pressure and increase your
      confidence as you walk into any pressure situation.

Bill Benjamin on Speaking

I want to leave them [audiences] inspired and believing that they can be better leaders, spouses, partners, parents, etc. – when they are under pressure.

SPEAKING.COM: What do you want people to learn from your presentations?

BENJAMIN: I want people to gain insights, tools, and strategies that they can put into practice to be a more effective leader under pressure; and learn from the mistakes I’ve made. I want to leave inspired and believing that they can be better leaders, spouses, partners, parents, etc. – especially when they are under pressure.

SPEAKING.COM: What kind of special prep work do you do prior to an event? How do you prepare for your speaking engagements?

BENJAMIN: I take time to understand the needs of the organization and the audience. I want to know:

  • What challenges is the group facing?
  • Where are they feeling pressure?
  • What are the business goals for this group? Where are they meeting their goals and where is improvement needed?
  • What’s going on in their environment and culture – i.e. has there been a recent change, a missed target, or is this a “good to great” opportunity?
  • What behaviors do they want to see changed – what are their 10% performers doing well?
  • Is there specific theme for the event that I can tie in?
  • Has the group had other training, assessments, etc. that I can build on?

    I will then take all this information and apply it in the program I deliver.

    SPEAKING.COM: Have you had any particularly memorable speaking engagements / unusual situations arise while on the road?

    BENJAMIN: A recent memorable speaking engagement was delivering the Performing Under Pressure program for a group of 100 U.S Marines. I don’t’ have a military background, so I was very nervous about whether I could connect our work to their challenges. The good news is I had lots of scientifically-based strategies to help me! I am pleased to say they loved the program, bought books for everyone, and have asked me to come back.

    SPEAKING.COM: What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?

    BENJAMIN: That’s a hard question because everyone faces pressure. I have worked with Intel engineers in Russia, nurses, the IRS, student athletes at Georgia Tech, and many Fortune 500 companies. The audiences that benefit the most from our work are the ones that are part of an organization or a team that have a learning culture, where both the participants and their leaders are aggressive learners and come to a session ready to learn and engage.

    Having said that, I’ve had many skeptical groups – NASA scientists, auditors, teachers, surgeons, etc. – that have told me my session is one of the best they have ever attended.

    As a guy with a math degree, I was very skeptical at first too, so I get it!

    SPEAKING.COM: Which of your keynote speaking topics are your favorites and why?


    “Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Emotional Intelligence” – I’ve delivered this to over 10,000 people, and I’ve had so many stories from people telling me how it’s helped them be better leaders better spouses/partners and better parents.

    “Performing Under Pressure: Doing Your Best When it Matters Most” – It gives me great pride to put so much time and effort into writing a book, then have the book become a New York Times Bestseller and a highly-regarded keynote and training program.

    SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to start doing speaking engagements?

    BENJAMIN: I spent 14 years at a computer software company, and I struggled early in my career with how to be an effective leader (I wasn’t). Attending IHHP’s “Performing Under Pressure and Emotional Intelligence” training programs made a huge difference for my career and personal life. After 6 years of applying the learning, I was inspired to leave a successful career in technology to share my experience with others.

    While our work is “inside out” and it’s key for people to gain insight and awareness about themselves, sharing examples and personal stories provides relevance, credibility, and inspiration for the content. And you have to have humor to make the learning fun!

    SPEAKING.COM: How much do case studies, personal stories and/or humor factor into your keynote speech content?

    BENJAMIN: These are very important. While our work is “inside out” and it’s key for people to gain insight and awareness about themselves, sharing examples and personal stories provides relevance, credibility, and inspiration for the content. And you have to have humor to make the learning fun!

    SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the successes you’ve helped clients achieve?

    BENJAMIN: This is the cool thing about my job and the work IHHP does – we have impacted people in so many different walks of life.

  • Helped sales teams at Unilever reach their sales targets
  • Helped leaders at New York Presbyterian Hospital increase patient satisfaction and employee engagement
  • Enabled senior leaders at UnitedHealth Group – a Fortune 13 company – to drive their culture initiative deep into the organization.
  • Helped leaders at HBO create a more innovative and high performing culture
  • Provided training for leaders to handle conflict at International Teams, a charitable organization that works with trafficked and oppressed people around the world

    SPEAKING.COM: How do you use your background in sales to inspire audiences?

    BENJAMIN: It’s interesting. With my background in technology, I work with a lot of analytical people and groups. And with a background in sales, I often deliver programs to sales and clients service teams. For these groups, I leverage my experience in sales – the ups and downs, the frustration with internal bureaucracy, etc. , along with my knowledge of sales language – quotas, pipeline, consultative selling, bluebirds, etc.

  • Exclusive Interview with Bill Benjamin
    Keys to Performing Better Under Pressure
    In this interview, Bill discusses:
      • How pressure moments affect our brain.
      • How to identify pressure moments.
      • What we can do to perform our best under pressure.
      Read the Full Interview

    "We looked at the top 10% performers, and we discovered that the bottom 90% have a haphazard approach to dealing with pressure. The top 10%, though, plan and prepare, utilizing scientifically-based strategies to perform under pressure."
    - Bill Benjamin

    What People are Saying about Seeing Bill Speak

    Rating Entries

    “At the risk of repeating myself several times, your presentation (content, style, slides, exercises, etc.) was one of the best I’ve seen in all of my years of training and seeing other professionals train. I wish we had your presentation videotaped to show as a role model of how to give a truly engaging and learning presentation.”
        M. Spool, Ph.D., Management Development Solutions

    “You really kept everyone’s attention with your great stories and analogies. Your passion for what you do is refreshing. Thank you for making the conference a truly inspiring event.”


    “This was an insightful and practical session. I liked the way you had us practice the strategies rather than just telling us about them. That way, I’ll actually remember it!”
        Intel Corporation

    “What made Bill’s session exceptional was the way he connected Emotional Intelligence to the ‘warrior mentality’ of the Air National Guard. Our work is war and combat, dealing with natural disasters and homeland security. We learned techniques to improve our ability to deal with tense and stressful conditions. In a couple of challenging situations after the session, my Squadron immediately put the techniques to use. You know a program is successful when you see people applying what they’ve learned! Thanks, Bill.”
        Air National Guard

    “This program is having a very powerful impact on my life! By sharing his experience of applying Emotional Intelligence to his business and personal life, Bill inspired me to make changes in myself. Bill is a very passionate and effective speaker; I believe everyone could benefit from attending his presentations!”

    “Bill’s presentation was one of the most inspiring I’ve ever been to—and I’ve seen a lot of presentations. Bill has a wonderful delivery style that combines intellect and emotion … I could listen to him all day!”
        YMCA of USA

    “This program was a great way to kick off our conference. His passion and energy, combined with his knowledge of EQ in business make him a unique and powerful speaker—our executives were impressed and we are definitely going to invite him back”
        Concentra Medical Centers

    “Awesome presentation! Bill exceeded our expectations—his presentation offers a unique perspective on personal leadership. I like the way Bill brings science to our understanding of human behavior in an accessible and inspiring way. This session helped our people think differently about their personal relationships, their motivation and their performance. Bill’s enthusiastic presentation really made a difference for our team.”
        RBC Royal Bank

    “This was a wonderful learning experience! Bill is an energetic and motivating speaker, with a style that is very real and authentic. He took time to understand our group and incorporate issues that they are facing right now. We wanted someone who would challenge us to think differently and motivate us to find ways to improve ourselves; Bill delivered!”
        York Regional School District

    “Bill’s speech was absolutely phenomenal and was enjoyed by all delegates and sponsors. It was a perfect start to the conference and I am still receiving positive feedback till this day!”
        Schulich School of Business

    Partial Client List

      • Air National Guard
      • Alcon Labs
      • Avaya
      • BlueCross BlueShield
      • Chicago Mercantile
      • Exchange
      • CIBC
      • Durham Police
      • Eli Lilly
      • Federal Reserve Bank
      • Franklin Templeton
      • Investments
      • GlaxoSmithKline
      • Hannaford Grocers
      • Intel
      • Intercontinental Hotels
      • HBO
      • Johnson & Johnson
      • Level 3 Communications
      • NASA—Johnson
      • Space Center
      • Nextel
      • Northern Trust
      • Novartis
      • Sprint
      • Pemco Insurance
      • Pershing
      • Pfizer
      • U.S. Army
      • U.S. Probation Office
      • Verizon
      • VHA Surgeons
      • Conference
      • Wells Fargo
      • YMCA

    Have You Seen this Speaker? Leave a Star Rating.

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Related Speakers


    Need help filling the seats at your next meeting / event?

    Call us / email us / check availability and fee for your favorite speaker.

    Get in touch
    Call us: (760) 656-8770
    Toll free in the US: (877) 717-5327