Ninja Van’s CEO delivers masterful interview
There is a fine line in interviews between coming across to viewers and readers as sincere and honest, or conniving and contrived.
On the one hand, candour and vulnerability can make you appear more accessible, relatable and believable. S/he's just like us, your audience might say.
But on the other, trying too hard can make audiences suspicious that you are being disingenuous.
In both cases, making yourself too vulnerable might lead you to making uncomfortable admissions or exposing embarrassing truths.
Ninja Van CEO Lai Chang Wen treads this line very well.
He strikes an amiable figure as he tells candid stories and shows he is not afraid to poke fun at himself.
We love that his qualities for fielding such a conversational interview are so subtle, which is why we have nominated him for the Hong Bao Media Savvy Awards 2021.
Watch and read below for my assessment.
We launched the Hong Bao Media Savvy Awards in 2018 to recognise local business leaders for their communications skills, and to showcase authentic and credible home-grown communicators.
Supported by the Asia Pacific Association of Communications Directors and joining us this year – the Investor Relations Professionals Association Singapore and the Public Relations and Communications Association – we highlight 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.
Lai is honest about his mistakes and misconceptions from a younger time, when he thought a fashion and logistics business would not take much time to conquer. By framing his mistakes as a self-deprecating story, without cringy anecdotes, he comes across as humble and approachable.
The CEO even provides a photo of his time sleeping in the office during his first venture, which adds to his story.
But Lai does not need the help of photos to tell his stories. He gives examples and makes his stories snappy, like he tells one about Ninja Van delivering parcels by ox cart in the Philippines as a point about the company’s comprehensive coverage in Southeast Asia. He also keeps business jargon to a minimum, making the interview seem breezy.
When asked about Ninja Van’s growth plans, Lai says he is not concerned about growing too much. Instead, he turns it into a message about the company’s focus on people and customers and building services around them. It is an indirect way of answering the question, but one which serves his message rather than acquiesce to the interviewer. Kudos to Lai for this move!
If you know Lai Chang Wen, share this article with him and congratulate him on being nominated for the Hong Bao Media Savvy Awards 2021.