Thomas Cheah – the Speaker Idol winner



"The experience in Speaker Idol competition at TechEd SEA 2008 was great. It reminds me of those debating competitions that I participated when I was in high school. Presentation skills are something that will go a long way in your career. Most people have no problems giving presentation, but not many can see how well they are presenting. Speaker Idol is a good testing ground for this. With the 10 minutes time limit, it requires you to focus on giving the most captivate presentation that is within the attention spans of most audiences. Most people tend to be long winded and afraid to miss out every single detail in the presentation. This risks losing the audience attention before the core message is presented. Some of the tips that I would like to share are:

1. Make your presentation simple and logical. Presentation with smooth flow of thoughts is more important than thoroughness and details, as you don't really know which details are interesting or boring to the audience. Specific details can be addressed during the questions and answers session. Keep reinforcing the core message throughout the presentation.

2. Break your audience guessing machine. In order to capture your audience attention, you must present something that seems obvious to them, but then  end up something unexpected. There is a caveat in this, the key is you must establish the obviousness beforehand, or otherwise the audience will get confused and irritated before you show them the unexpected outcome.

3. Speak in a concrete manner. We are so used to these jargons and knowledge and take granted for it without realizing what is like for those people without. Try to give concrete examples during presentation that relate to your message. If you can find a powerful metaphor, that's even better.

4. Touch the emotion of your audience. This is not an easy feat, but if you can bring out the emotion of your audience, you had given an impactful presentation. The easiest way is telling some real world stories that are related to your presentation.

5. Finally, some of the standard presentation tips are: Engaged the audience by looking at the them and not your slide; Do not stand still, but trying to pay attention to different audience. (So that they don't get jealous. 😛 ) Do not make your slides too wordy as the audience will be busy reading it instead of focusing on you. (Prepare presentation notes if you afraid of forgetting important points.); Do not read your presentation slides; Use animation and sounds sparingly and appropriately or otherwise it will cause more annoyance."

DSC_0133Speaker Idol Day 1 judges - (L) Dennis Chung, Tony Krynen, Hoong Fai Lai, Steve Riley (R)

DSC_0580 Speaker Idol Day 2 judges - (L) Walter Wong, Darien Nagle, Loke Uei Tan (R)

DSC_0412 (2) Speaker Idol Final judges - (L) Hoong Fai Lai, Daniel van Soest, Steve Riley (R)


DSC_0822Thomas in action

DSC_0442 (2) the captivated crowd

DSC_0558 (2)Thomas being interviewed by TechNet Edge


More about Thomas

"I am the CTO of Objective World Sdn. Bhd. We are an MSC Status Company located in Microsoft Innovation Center (Cyberjaya) that specializes in R&D and commercialization of software that manages and visualizes information over the complete building lifecycle in the construction industry. As a young company, we have a diverse responsibilities range from software development and project management, to product and marketing strategy planning, as well as involving in the commercialization process.

I enjoy my job very much. Developing great software has been my hobby since I was little, and I have great passion of doing it. To me, I often say software technologies is the representation of knowledge economy, as it is the key driver that transforms intangible knowledge of various domains into tangible and practical applications that lever up business capabilities. We should be proud as programmers of these contributions to many industries. On the other hand, working in Objective World is fun. As a small but dynamic company, it provides me plenty of opportunities to gain exposure from the technical and commercial side of software business to harness my capabilities further."

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