In an entirely unexpected turn of events, I ended up presenting to a gathering of over 700 people at a Mozilla event today. The event, titled “MozBoot Camp”, was organized as part of Kshitij, the IIT Kharagpur techfest. Initially, we had hoped to have around 70-80 participants, but later on it turned out that there are way more people interested to attend a Mozilla Session.
Our workshop was actually planned to be conducted in a lab at the Computer Science and Engineering building, which had a capacity of 120 seats. But due to popular demand, it had to be moved to an auditorium with a capacity of around 900 people! And that was because all the people who were left out, were practically rebelling to getin! The enthusiasm was at its extreme!
What were the challenges?
We had to move to a larger venue at the last moment. This involved moving the entire setup to a new place, and setting up projectors, power cables and microphones there. This took up around 45 minutes of our time. But we were glad we did that. In the end we were able to accommodate everybody who wanted to listen to our talks!
For the first time, I faced something akin to a stage fright. Never having presented to a crowd of this scale before, it was somewhat unnerving at the beginning. I took some time off from the stage before I began my talk. I told myself that the people waiting out there are here to listen to me, and not to scare me! It is just a biological reaction of facing large crowd staring at me. So, I took pulled up my shoulders, took a few deep breaths and forced a smile on my face. Once the body relaxed, the mind relaxed too. And everything went uphill from there.
The audience had to wait for over 1 hour for us to do the setup and we began 1 hour after the proposed time. Some of the people were drowsy by then. I took up the task of boosting them. I introduced Mozilla and Firefox OS and showed them the pathways to contribute to Mozilla. For all it was worth, I ended up boosting the crowd to the extent that they were cheering with every question I ask them! And for all this, I needed to feel energetic myself!