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PBA Group's Derrick Yap shows the human side to robotics in radio interview

Blog post   •   May 03, 2018 08:36 +08

We have shortlisted around 20 local business leaders who have demonstrated excellence in a media appearance, in the Hong Bao Media Savvy Awards 2018. The winner will be announced shortly.

We wrap up this round of the Hong Bao Media Savvy Awards 2018 with our final shortlisted candidate: Derrick Yap, CEO of PBA Group, whose confident appearance on Money FM 89.3 was a solid effort in a radio interview.

Yap maintained good message discipline throughout the 17-minute interview, but came across as calm and real.

I would be surprised if there wasn't a link between Yap's on-air persona and his company's apparent win of the Promising SME 500 and Enterprise 50 Awards. He seems to understand that in order to build their brands, local senior business leaders must be visible and not shy away from media and public appearances.

Read on below for my assessment of Yap's interview.


We launched the Hong Bao Media Savvy Awards to recognise local business leaders for their communications skills, and to showcase authentic and credible home-grown communicators. Here are our previous nominees:

Desmond Kuek: Will you resign?

Are you a demanding boss, Lee Lik Hsin?

Star Alliance CEO: Local business leader is a star media performer

Budget 2018: Iswaran balances selling it, and explaining it

Kurt Wee: you don't need to be big to be media savvy

Candice Ong: the whys and hows of strong new media interviews

Elim Chew displays a high Sensitivity Quotient in her TEDxNTU presentation

How to win at interviews, even if English isn't your first language

Ho Kwon Ping: no-nonsense media presence builds credibility

David Koh: Cybersecurity chief gives locked-down on-camera presentation

Cecily Ng: The right recipe for coffee with the boss

Razer CEO makes TV interviews look like child's play

Anthony Tan grabs our attention with interview about Uber merger

Liew Mun Leong lands his key points in airport surcharge interview

Appearing well in the media is part of our heritage

TV interview is business as usual for Ho Meng Kit

These are shining examples for other local business leaders to follow, and to build a culture of excellence in communication, to maximise the potential of Asian companies in the Asian Century.

Nominations are now closed, and we will be announcing the winner shortly.


Here are my thoughts on the interview and why I nominated him for the Hong Bao Media Savvy Awards 2018.

  1. Credible messaging – Yap added valuable insights into R&D, robotics and automation, but didn't miss an opportunity to link this back to his company, without sounding contrived.
  2. Succinct introduction – When you are a radio presenter and you ask an open question like "tell us about yourself", there is always the risk that you'll get the guest's whole life story, which you end up having to interrupt. Yap didn't get side tracked, but cut his own company's history short with "so fast forward to today…" so he could deliver his current message about his robotics and automation platform.
  3. Story-telling – whether referring to phones that looked like water bottles, or retelling the conversation with his father to restructure the family business, Yap brought to life parts that could have been abstract and unengaging.
  4. Calm and personable – When Presenter Howie Lim commented that he looked 12-years-old, Yap replied without missing a beat, "Well-maintained, no stress," which summarised his entire approach to the interview.

Yap shows the human side to talking about robotics and automation, and is a worthwhile candidate for the Hong Bao Media Savvy Awards 2018.

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