As we gear up for the seventh edition of PRAXIS in about four months from now I’m reminded of the summer day in 2012 when a random tweet seeding the idea of a weekend, offsite conference caught the attention of a few professionals that led to the creation of this event property. While I have mentioned the uniqueness of the summit in a tweet or in personal conversations I felt it was time to write about the seven unique features of this summit which very few conferences can call as its unique features.
- A new city every year. This was created to give professionals a simple new reason to sign up for every PRAXIS. Having the summit in the same city every year would not excite someone who is still in the early years and would prefer to spend money on visiting a new city. The cities are chosen based on their historic and touristic popularity so that attendees get the Sunday to explore the city.
- A new set of speakers annually. This has worked well. There are some who boycott us because of this rule and there are some who respect us more for this. This has helped PRAXIS become stronger and credible over the years. Whether the person is from the company that is a major sponsor, or the person is a great orator we do not repeat speakers because we have a long list of 200 to tap.
- A new performance at each edition. An important highlight of PRAXIS is the live concert on the first night. We have had the likes of Swarathma, Sivamani, Ambili Menon, Raghu Dixit, Indian Ocean and Voctronica perform. By choosing a new performer every year we ensure there is no monotony in the music and we also support a different talent each time.
- Most partners pay vendors directly. We do not take unlimited sponsorships. We have four categories of sponsors and in each category, we only take a certain number of sponsors and at a fixed slab. So, in 2018 there will be only 10 bronze partners, 8 silver partners, 6 gold partners and 4 platinum partners where one platinum partner can pay a premium to get the presenting partner position and 20 of these 28 sponsors pay the four key vendors (hotel/production/entertainment/transport) directly.
- We do not pay for flights for any speakers and Indian speakers pay for registration. They are generally invited if they have been to a previous edition. PRAXIS is unlike most other conferences where a large number of the audience has been to one or more previous edition. In order to ensure a better vibe and a stronger audience connect we insist that the speakers are those who have previously attended.
- This is a volunteer run and managed platform. With full-time volunteers taking a nominal stipend for their time the overheads of the conference are low and the team is lean. Three volunteers manage the conference and another dozen join in at the time of conference days to ensure a smooth operation. We have had the same anchor for all the previous six editions.
- Lastly, this is probably the only conference not run by a media outlet or a trade association but has led to the creation of the former and in some ways virtually the latter. Reputation Today was born out of a discussion at the second edition of PRAXIS. Even the idea of a school dedicated to Public Relations was born at the third edition of PRAXIS.