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A quick guide to surviving ISE (mentally and physically)

With 1,300 exhibitors spread over 15 halls and 80, 000 people to dodge, here are five expert tips to make it out of ISE sane 

If you’ve never visited ISE before, there are a few things you should know. The first thing is, it’s absolutely massive, with the RAI and its 15 halls covering over 1,207,710 sq. feet, with every spare corner filled with 1,300 exhibitors, and 80,000-plus visitors.

“Imagine you are about to climb Snowden – you’ll feel like that’s what you’ve done by the end of the day.”

The show, therefore, takes almost militant like planning. To help, we spoke to some ISE regular about their experiences and what advice they would give to newcomers.

Kicking it off, is the University of Huddersfield, IT Technician (Audio Visual), Julie Berry who is attending her fourth ISE show, offering her five tips to surviving the world’s biggest AV tradeshow

  1. Wear comfy shoes – your feet will be killing you by the end of the day so why make matters worse by trying to look smart/fashionable?
  2. Have a good breakfast before you go. The queues for food can be long at lunchtime. Or take some sandwiches and a drink or two with you if you can
  3. Don’t forget what you have gone out there to look at. Make a plan of the stalls you want to visit before you go and stick to it. Do them on the first day if you can and then spend the rest of the time looking at new things
  4. Get lost! You’ll be amazed at what you find when you do
  5. Don’t get carried away with the free-flowing booze on an evening.  A day at ISE with a hangover is not something to repeat. Or take plenty of hangover cures with you

Other tips from previous ISE survivors:

  • Chris Power (CP), Chairman, AV Cultural Forum (AVCF): Book meetings early and prioritise. Find a good place to sit down from time to time. It’s exhausting.
  • Graeme Massey (GM), JacobsMassey Ltd, Managing Director: Plan your visit! Make sure you identify which companies you wish to visit and then timetable when to do so and where within the show.
  • Jon Sheldon (JS), National Gallery, Audio Visual Production Manager: If you see something that catches your eye while passing by, stop and look at it, you might never return to the same spot again.
  • Douglas McLeod (DM), Learning Spaces Product Engineer, UoD IT, University of Dundee: Your first half day there will pass and you will think I haven’t done anything yet!  If there are key things you need to see plan them out.  It is also useful to arrange appointments in advance if there is an opportunity to do so.  Stands can be very busy, but your account holder will set time aside for you, if you have, plan ahead.
  • Liam Helm (LH), The Royal Society – AV Services Manage: Wear layers, it can get very warm. Be prepared to queue a long time for the cloakroom.
  • James Thompson (JT), University of Kent – Project Manager (Templeman library refurbishment): Be aware of the size of the event, have clear objectives about what and who you want to see, spend at least a day focused on your aims for manufacturers and suppliers.

To learn more about ISE from those that keep returning for more every year – including their thoughts on the value of the show and what they most look forward to – click here for the full Q&A special 

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