Speaking at Product Management Festival – Interview with Saurabh Gupta – Senior PM at AirAsia

Written by Published in Conference, Interviews, Product Management

Saurabh Gupta is a Senior Product Manager at AirAsia.com driving the AirAsia flights pre-booking experience as part of AirAsia’s digital transformation journey. He was previously a mobile product manager at Microsoft Teams, Microsoft’s fastest-growing business app. Saurabh has also worked with Indian startups across different growth stages and is experienced in leading product strategy, roadmap planning and execution for global products.

He is passionate about building a vibrant tech PM community in India and was a speaker at PMF Europe 2018 and PMF APAC 2019.

You spoke at Product Management Festival APAC 2019 in Singapore and in 2018 at our European edition. What made you come back as a speaker at PMF?

The reason I was so happy to be at the Product Management Festival and speak again was primarily because of the diverse mix of product and design professionals I had interacted with during my first time in Zurich. The speaker’s dinner gives you that additional flexibility to meet your fellow speakers and have meaningful interactions and networking.  The conference gave me a chance to understand the broad spectrum of product challenges that different organisations are facing and what approaches different people are taking to solve for them.   

Could you share how you chose the topics you presented on and why these topics exactly?

It was important for me to pick up a topic where I thought I could add definite value based on my experience building products. Also, I understood that Europe and APAC are 2 different markets and that user needs, markets, maturity are different for each. So, keeping these things in mind and how relevant each topic is in today’s context, I picked ‘Accessibility’ and ‘Building for inclusive users’.

For some of our speakers PMF is the first time they are presenting at a conference and facing a large audience. Could you share some tips on how to prepare for a talk and how to better engage with the audience.

Presenting for the first time can be thrilling as well as intimidating. There are 3 tips that I follow and which you might find useful:

  • Time your presentation well in advance and see if you’re going overboard or not. Cut short your talk if required.
  • Be honest with what you share and do not shy away from sharing failures.
  • Maintain an open and composed body language. It will make you sound more confident and your audience reciprocate better based on how you engage them – questions, humour, rhetoric, stories or anything else.

What do you love about public speaking and what do you find challenging?

What I love about public speaking is that it puts you right in the centre of things and gives you that unique opportunity to positively influence a group and even drive change as a result. 

The challenging part, on the contrary, is to establish that connection with the audience in the first few minutes so that they can feel comfortable to trust you.

The call for speakers for Product Management Festival APAC 2020 is OPEN! Inspire and engage at #PMFAPAC20 in Singapore on the 29–30 June 2020 at INSEAD Asia Campus, Singapore! Deadline for submissions: 8th Januaryhttps://apac.productmanagementfestival.com/call-for-speakers/


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