reporters presenting in Nerd Night Phnom Penh

It is another free entrance sharing session that might be the only event you could find in Cambodia in term of the presentation platform. On 16th July, 2012, three CambodiaCircles writers got an invitation to present their new launching magazine entitled ‘STHAPATYAKAM, the Architecture of Cambodia’. Here they worked together to produce this article to share experiences of being a guest speaker and help you to find out more what is Nerd Night and what you could benefit from this event.

What is Nerd Night Phnom Penh?

- by Leng Len reporters presenting in Nerd Night Phnom Penh. / Photo by Lim MengY Aiming to provide gateway for socializing and experience sharing, Nerd Night Phnom Penh was created in early 2011 by a small team of expats. Each topic was presented in Pecha Kucha platform which originated from Japan. Presenters are allowed to display 20 slides with 20 seconds to explain each slide.

It hosted twice a month on Monday at any assigned venue such as bar, café, lounges and other night café that allows around 200 or 300 of audiences enthusiast to have glasses of beers, chit chat and other forms of idea and experience sharing. The starting time expected at 8p.m., but most people usually show up around 7 p.m. in every presentation.

There are around 4 or 5 topics in each event. The organizers try to embody at least one presentation by local inhabitant and along with other presentations by outlanders.

My Nerd Night Team

- by Rithy LomorPich

(from Left) Leng Len, Vann ChanVetey, Rithy LomorPichAfter finishing my class magazine project, ‘STHAPATYAKAM, the Architecture of Cambodia’, we were invited by nerd night committee to share knowledge related to architecture in Cambodia.  Not only because of luck, but also because of the interesting thing hiding in my class magazine, I would say. (visit this if you want to know more about our magazine,

We are not architecture student but we got some background information from our research in the project of STHPATYAKAM magazine. Under the topic of ‘Architecture in the eye of young generation’, we three, Rithy LomorPich, Leng Len, and Vann Chanvetey, were trying to express our point of view as a young generation.

Our 20-slide presentation was divided into three main parts. I was responsible for the part about what architecture is, the relation between architecture and culture, and its importance. My friend, Leng Len, was responsible for the part about Old Building and Preservation: expressing why we have to preserve old buildings. Vann Chanvetey talked about Architecture in Today Cambodia: describing about color and style of today architecture between concept and client demand.

In short, our message was to promote and raise the awareness of Understanding, Loving, and Preserving Architecture.

Why listen?


Millions of tourists flock to the capital city of Cambodia, PNerd Night Phnom Penh. / Photo by Rithy LomorPich hnom Penh, for a visit but they do not know where and what to see besides must-see places like Royal Palace, National Museum, Wat Phnom, etc. With the presentation at Nerd Night, we had a wonderful moment to spread our voice to audience, mostly are foreigners, about the Cambodian legacy, the Architecture of Cambodia.

This topic is a tool to promote Cambodian architecture, which is a big part they have to take a deep look. If comparing to other ASEAN countries, perhaps only in Cambodia, we can find old buildings and other unique architecture styles.

Base on my notification on audiences, I can say they really enjoyed listening by keeping silent during the presentation and storming us questions in the Q&A session. After this presentation, I do believe they would be able to change their mind and start to take an architecture tour around the city in order to see what they have never noticed or might never thought of before.

Lesson to learn for me

Throughout this event there are two lessons Rithy LomorPich presenting in Nerd Night Phnom Penh. / Photo by Lim MengYlearnt: how to be real public speaker and how to socialize.

Public speaking is not the first time for me, but my heart was beating so fast like it was about to jump out of my chest when it came to my turn to present. Standing on the stage in front of big white screen with spot light focused only on my face, and holding microphone, I could not feel my legs anymore. And I was so sure once I spoke out, my voice would be shaking.  But two things kept reminding me, one is “Even Impossible itself says I-M-Possible, then why not me?” and second was “I am the representative of my school and nation and I am here to present my class achievement”.

Then there was no doubt why I could adjust myself so fast. I was being able to speak out confidently without losing gesture and eye-contact to audiences. That was how I overcame my pressure by keeping reminding that “I can do it, and asking that who I am and why I am here.”

With this event, I realized that to be public speaker is easy, but the real one is hard. Only when you know public speaking is an art, and how to overcome your pressure and how to be flexible, you are on the right track to be the real one.

Like public speaking, everyone can do it; yet, it does not mean they have capability to deliver key points through their speech. One of the effective tools of public speaking is to understand audience and place. As in my case, my audience were foreigners mostly, and my event place was at bar. Hence, my choice of words should be simple but respectful; my language tone should be relaxing and polite but strong; my face should be colorful but confident. Moreover, the charm of public speaker is not only about speaking but also appearance. I had to dress smart and clean, and smiled as much as I could.

“20 seconds per slide and six slides to present, totally I have only two minutes to be on stage. It is ways too short.” This was what I thought at first. But in real situation, I seemed like I hardly found something to say. However, with slide presentation that my team had prepared and confidential feeling, I became very flexible, I was able to express what I had prepared so far and even more than that. Maybe I am a good learner who knows how to overcome and control pressure, plus how to improve eye-contact and gesture.

Nerd Night is not just a sharing session, but time to socialize in society, especially with foreigners. It grants you opportunity to make a conversation with them. You do not have to be afraid of talking to anyone in bar. I find out that people want to talk with person who wears a million dollar smile. Moreover, while on conversation, crack a joke by giving a scene of humor to your partner. Remember, socializing is the only way to prevent you from the lonely world and is needed as an essential skill for success in any situations. From robot to socializing girl, this is me; I love it, socializing.

I also learn something


- by Vann ChanVetey

CambodiaCircles reporters in Nerd Night Phnom Penh. / Photo by Lim MengYStanding on the stage in front many pairs of eyes staring at me, I would have to say it was not something I did very often. We might have been the youngest speakers during the night, but we did what we could to bring the best out of us.

The 15-minute-standing-on-the-stage experience taught me lessons that can be utilized in other aspects of life.

Firstly, it proved me that nothing was impossible. Anyone must have heard this saying, but not everyone seemed to be totally convinced, but I dare to say I am. Public speaking is a universal problem for almost every individual, including me. However, it is not something cannot be done. There is always the first time, and it might not be fun, but the more you involve yourself in speaking to the public, the more confident you will feel.

Time management was very challenging for presenting at Nerd Night. Each speaker was given 20 seconds for each slide. The speech had to be snappy and straight to the point because making your message crossed is always the main goal.

One trick I can share here is that if you think you run out of time, just go with your gut --- forget about following each slide sequent and go on with your prepared speech, because people may focus on the speaker more than the slide sometimes.

Since Nerd Night in Phnom Penh is created by expats, the language used is English which can get some people in deep water if they are not confident in speaking in English. There is nothing to worry about. The audience was very supportive and they understand the language limit. As long as we can communicate and understand each other, what else would be better than that?

Nerd Night is not just a sit-and-listen presentation event, but instead a sharing and expressing session that boosts up the culture of sharing and confidence in those who have stage fright. The expat might have been the first to come up with the idea of establishing such night, but Cambodian too can learn and get inspired to have their own night. It is not called copying, but being inspired. These are completely different things.