Organizing a TEDx Event: A beginning in the non-tech world

Rishabh Singh

Rishabh Singh, an electrical engineer by profession & currently exploring the fields of marketing, brand management and brand strategy has always believed in action rather than words.

Here, Rishabh is sharing his journey being a co-organizer of TEDxJuhu, TED Talks Event and joining in the non-technical world. His apprenticeship will certainly propel him ahead of the curve.

Go ahead and know what his story has to offer to aspiring youth so that you can easily find a path of self-growth.

How did your journey begin in the non-technical world?

I co-organised a TEDx and a Harvard delegate and from there my journey in the non-technical world started. I have been a campus ambassador for IIT-Delhi, IIM-Bangalore & IIM-Indore. I received a letter of appreciation from IIT-Delhi in recognition of my work. I mentored several startups regarding their ideation plans and marketing strategies. I received leadership lessons from TEDx speakers and worked under Harvard scholars and my application was accepted by the International Youth Leadership Conference in Malaysia and Dubai but those events have been cancelled due to the pandemic.

I love exploring new opportunities and like to keep learning continuously. I contribute towards social initiatives by working with various NGOs across Mumbai. During this lockdown, I was able to scale my connections from 1500 to 27000, by sharing my learnings with my network. I also started my own talk show called Ignition Talks, where I invite TEDx Speakers, National and International Entrepreneurs and Forbes Asia 30 under 30 entrepreneurs, to bridge the gap between the young students and the people they admire.

What was your role while organising the TEDx talk?

I was working with an NGO when I came across this opportunity where they were hiring members to the core team. I was among the 10 core members that organised the TEDx talk. My role was principally in Marketing and PR, although as we were a small cohesive team therefore we helped everybody else however we could. TEDx is all about creativity and originality hence the procedure to shortlist speakers required everybody to work together and present their views.

We weren’t associated with any college so right from booking a venue to searching for sponsors, everything had to be done by the team. In a college, the event is remarkably easy as the venue is sorted and the core audience is already there but as this was an independent event so we had to get people to sign up to the event and book a venue and look after the finances of the event and managing sponsors.

My role was in Marketing and PR but I also worked in getting sponsorships. I hired another 10 people under me to help us out with the marketing and sponsorships. I organized two pre-events and around 100 people attended each event. As I signed up with Colleges to do this therefore I did these events for free and saved the 20000 budget that was allotted to me.

We also ran multiple social media campaigns and reached many colleges via campus ambassadors. We also sold tickets via these campus ambassadors.

Share your proudest achievements while organising the talk and how were you able to achieve them.

As I mentioned earlier also, I was in the core team so when we were organising a TEDx talk, I was given a budget of 20k but I did everything for free by hiring campus ambassadors and doing the events in colleges.

How did you juggle between your roles and academics? Pen down the challenges you faced.

I did miss a few classes, to be honest. I thought it was necessary as I was getting the exposure to the real world and TEDx isn’t a small event so I was completely involved in the event for those 2 months although I was able to avoid being on the defaulter list somehow.

I remember once we had to postpone the event due to heavy rainfall, and now imagine preparing for an event tomorrow by 5 pm (one day before the TEDx event) but had to cancel the event by 4 am, because of extremely heavy rainfall. Then we called everybody and told them about the situation. There were a few cancellations so we had to refund the amount. Also, we had to bring in a new sponsor.

Nobody remembers as such what you do in the four years at college. But these real-life exposures and experiences always help in the long run. And so we should be ready for real-world experiences and a small risk of missing classes. My learnings were all outside the college

How did you manage exams and attendance?

I tried to maintain the attendance just above the threshold, but I believe even getting a 10 GPA for all semesters will not do anything about your career. There were my classmates who were 9 pointers but weren’t placed simply because they didn’t work on their skills.

Also, college matters. IITs and NITs have lots of engagement and connections so there we can be involved in the activities of the campus but in other colleges, you have to step out and acquire skills and experiences. And in the end, your skills matter the most.

What are the top learnings, skills and values that you acquired here?

Contributing to social initiatives improves ourselves too. And I realised my privileges, which helped me a lot. I stopped complaining about the small, unnecessary kinds of stuff. It provided peace of mind to me. It was all about self-improvement. My top learning skills were good communication skills, team building, leadership and most importantly problem-solving.

Moreover, getting to know new people is very very important. Networking is very important, you learn a lot of new facts, skills and values.

Do you feel your current role fills you with pride and gratitude? Illustrate how the experience gained will help you going forward.

Yes, it definitely does. I dedicated my weekend to social initiatives. I was also invited as a guest speaker for a career guidance session. I volunteered with Feeding India. I taught leadership and event management to kids with Iccha Foundation. I am also participating in different competitions and events.

Overall it helped me to find my true passion and interest. My whole career will grow from this base, I found out my real interest and now my ultimate goal is to become a successful entrepreneur and inspire the people around me.

How do you persuade others to accept your ideas/ways?

You really don’t need to persuade anyone to accept your ideas if actually, you make them believe in the idea.

When I hired campus ambassadors, some were not so good at communication so I gave them content writing tasks. I pushed them towards their potential. They ultimately came out of their comfort zones and overcame their fears. And all this was possible because I always tried to be a better listener than a speaker or a dictator. And also always remember to give them respect and not to be egoistic.

What is your message to students, aspiring to the same or a similar role to do?

Always follow your passion instead of blindly running behind money or jobs. Moreover, connect with people, make a LinkedIn profile, find mentors and most importantly have patience. Do not rush.

Also, during this pandemic period, I believe instead of running behind jobs and internships, sharpen your skills or learn new skills. There are a number of hackathons and workshops that can be done online. Students should do them to gain experience, acquire skill sets and then master them.

Anything else would you like to say to the YI learners who’ll be reading your experience?

Be patient. Work hard till you actually find your passion. Brand yourself, it’ll help to give a unique turn to your image. Collaborate to grow smartly.

We at Young Influx would take this opportunity to thank Harsh for taking a leap of faith and sharing his impeccable story. We are humbled and grateful, your efforts mean a lot for the youth seeking growth and development.

And hello, dear readers, we welcome you to explore the platform with an open mind. Help yourself gain the most out of the experiences and opportunities listed here.

And before you bid us adieu, we would like you to know that you can read more such stories here.

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