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Nikhil Dey on creating SISA spaces and successfully harnessing stress

After over two years of Covid disruptions, on-ground events are returning. Adgully’s premier event for the Public Relations and Communications industry – IMAGEXX Summit and Awards – returned for its 2nd edition as a physical event. Held in Gurugram on June 16, 2022, IMAGEXX Summit and Awards 2022 brought together the best brains in India’s PR industry today.

This year’s event commenced with a very interesting and relevant keynote address by Nikhil Dey, Executive Director, Adfactors PR, on the topic ‘Soft skills for a hard world – The importance of creating an enabling world environment and culture’.

With everybody just coming out of the virtual meeting mode, Dey remarked how he got used to speaking to a screen with the listeners’ audio and video turned off, even as he sat in his son’s bedroom, facing a guitar hanging on the wall!

“There will be no Powerpoint slides, but hopefully a few powerful points to make,” said Dey at the outset. While stating that this topic is something really close to his heart, Day asked, “In a world of relentless performance, who delivers?” “We do. You do. We are the people who deliver. And managing and inspiring these people in your teams and in your organisations, in your client partner organisations is the hard work. That’s why the soft skills that I want to talk about today, I believe, are what deliver the hard matrix of performance,” he added.

Here, Dey mentioned about an acronym that he had come across in the work that I was doing in the social impact space – SISA. “It is an acronym for ‘Safe Inclusive Self Affirming’ spaces,” he revealed, adding, “I think that really is the secret sauce. If we can create a safe, inclusive, self-affirming space for ourselves first and then for our organisations and our teams, magic happens.”

Continuing further, Dey said, “I am going to offer you three thoughts related to SISA spaces. Why I believe that these three points are important? Specially in the current context today, with the Public Relations fraternity – it’s a tough job. It is rated as one of the 10 most stressful careers in the world. In this world of high pressure, always on, future ready PR professional, it;s a pressure cooker environment, media doesn’t stop, social media is 24x7, there is a lot of stress. And managing that stress is important, but stress is not always bad. Stress is often very useful if you know how to harness it.”

These are edited excerpts. To find out about Dey’s thoughts on SISA spaces, please watch below:


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