Recently, our very own Laura Espiau had the opportunity to take part in a TEDx event in Mumbai that focused on a the social enterprise she is working with. While the rest of us fellows certainly wished we could been there with her, she was kind enough to share her experience with us.Q. How were you lucky enough to get involved in this?
My fellowship role with Biosense – a Mumbai based revolutionary medical engineering company - is managing relationships and communications. I was asked by Myshkin Ingawale, the CEO, to take part in a ‘small entrepreneurs event’ in the city to speak about the company and its recently launched ToucHb, a portable and non invasive device to screen anemia in rural areas. This was about one week before TEDx, through emails I was suddenly CCed in. I learned that I was supposed to speak in front of 800 people, it was already too late to reconsider my participation! Despite the task ahead of me, I was very excited about the opportunity in front of me!
Q. What can you tell us about the crowd and the energy?
I was feeling like I was in the middle of a huge TV show production with lots of people running around and making it possible. The TEDx staff was formed by A LOT of young, really nice, and motivated people, who made sure at every moment that everything was going well. With everything I mean everything: the stage, the public, the coffee and chocolate cookies for the speakers.. Also being able to listen to the other speakers from the public side was amazing, to be in the middle of so many people with true interest for innovation and “ideas for a better world.” I know this may sound a little bit ‘marketinian’ but it really was encouraging to discover that many other people shared the same feelings as me.
Q. What was going through your mind before and during your presentation?
Before going on the stage I had some moments of feeling my heart escaping through my mouth! I was nervous and shocked looking from behind the curtains at the public (did I say 800 people already?) who had paid a considerable amount of money to attend the event. I remember feeling my adrenaline rising when a member of the TEDx staff besides me, microphone in head, said: “Ok Laura, now go, go, go…!” I found myself walking towards the red circle on the stage floor (where speakers were instructed to stand) and starting speaking to the crowd. Actually, as I couldn’t see anything except the strong focus light in my face, it didn’t matter that much whether there were 800 or 8 people looking at me. But the sounds… that was different. I remember doing a silly joke – or what was supposed to be – and hearing zero laughs. That was hard! But I continued speaking and felt more comfortable as the time went on. Finally I called a ‘volunteer’ on the stage to do a live demo of ToucHb, I started feeling completely at ease and enjoying the moment, feeling the energy of the people around me.
Q. What was the best part of the experience? The worst?
The worst part of the experience was the nervousness before speaking. It was also the uncertainty about my participation as it wasn’t confirmed until the night before! However the overall experience was great, a challenge and an opportunity to go beyond my limits. It was a great feeling knowing that I was sharing the stage with so many wonderful and accomplished innovators even though my presentation was considerably shorter since a 4 minute update of our CEOs speech at TED global was shown on screen. It was also a great opportunity to personally meet the other speakers and share our experiences. One funny feeling that stands out is meeting a fellow speaker who was also from Barcelona, where I come from! I knew he would be speaking and had heard of him long ago, but its was surreal being in the middle of Mumbai and speaking with a fellow Barcelonian in Catalan. At the end of the event, some attendees were asking ME for autographs and for pictures together… they really made me feel like a VIP! Overall it was a great experience that I am thankful for!
Q. What now?
Now I keep working on communications and partnerships with Biosense. The next time that Myshkin asks me to take part in a ’small entrepreneurs event,’ I will ask for more details (but will be very happy indeed!).