Last weekend over 700 public relations professionals descended on the Goan shores from India’s major metros to attend what is arguably the largest residential gathering of Public professionals. There could be bigger gatherings elsewhere but at this one, two entire hotels with over 350 rooms are booked for two nights where most of the delegates stay.
Here are my eight observations from the summit that just concluded:
- People in PR enjoy listening to non-PR people. We introduced five sessions that were different from previous years. Besides the regular global CEO keynotes, we brought in a corporate CEO who should actually start a training institute that teaches people public speaking. Shiv Shivakumar speaks like a Rockstar because he is one. We also had three young women who made a mark at TedX Gateway and this session may become an annual feature thanks to Yashraj Akashi and a generous grant from Aditya Birla Group. We also had a session with Devdutt Pattnaik, thanks to Adani Group supporting part of the cost. And a special address by Richa Chadda, thanks mainly to Viacom 18’s sponsorship.
- Organisations holding side events during breaks in partnership with the main organiser is a new trend. While MSL has partnered in creating the Super Night, we also had SPAG creating a special breakfast session where they brought out a special report. However, some organisations planning events in the middle of sessions smacks of irresponsible and unethical behaviour. Sadly, one media organisation created a side-event which they also did last year, bang in the middle of the evening without permission of the organisers taking away over 25 participants for drinks. I would never do something like that.
- Accommodation at one venue is ideal. However, we were advised by someone who organises a similar event at that venue to take up over 100 rooms at a resort next door. We realised once people had checked in, that the accommodation was not upto the mark. I want to apologise to those who were put up there and will find a way to make it up to them in the future.
- Trust is the greatest currency. Richa Chadda’s new look that has not yet been revealed is a great example of how Trust still plays a big role in human relationships. The actor had a haircut for a new movie she is working on and requested the 700+ strong audience not to share her picture on social media and the audience has complied so far, which is not surprising though, because the audience at PRAXIS is mostly classy.
- The congregation has grown large because everyone longs to belong. Every year there is an increase in number of delegates. This year the content was compelling, and the venue was inviting. I feel the number will be lesser in Kolkata next year though there will be a large Bengali population from the profession that will ensure they do not miss the first PRAXIS in the east.
- Corporate communication participation has increased – There were close to 300 corporate communication professionals. This is a ten-fold increase from the first edition when there were barely 30. I hope some of these men and women are able to convince their CEOs to come and speak at PRAXIS in the coming years.
- Except one, almost all the Top 20 PR firms were present. The presence of all the leading firms and their bosses is super encouraging, both to organisers and to the younger professionals who are always seeking inspiration. The Batch of 2020 from SCoRe was the biggest beneficiary of this leadership presence in full force.
- Planning for next year has already begun. The ninth edition will take place in Kolkata in 2020. And several delegates were already talking of how they have availed the early bird offer.
Separate mails will go out before the 7th of October to Speakers, Partners and Delegates. In one line, all we can say is – We are Grateful.