It’s here, the region’s most manic event. Gitex, the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition, is to public relations and media people what Christmas is to parents of little children who believe in Father Christmas; a ruthless, insane, once-in-a-year event where everyone wants what’s on their wish list and you have to deliver.
From someone who’s done his fair share of Gitex exhibitions both as a journo, a PR person and as one of the organizers, here’s my five top tips on how not just to survive Gitex but thrive despite all of the noise, confusion, and occasional tantrums (you know whom these executives and organizers are). So here we go!
1) A phone with an endless battery
At Gitex your phone will be ringing incessantly. No one has died, there’s no new births to report, and the world is not coming to an end. But if you’re a journalist you’ll be every PR person’s best friend for five days (especially if you work for the official publisher ITP). And if you’re a PR person the pressure to deliver interviews will quickly build to a crescendo. Every single journalist within a four-hour flight will be on your quick dial list. Just don’t let the phone die.
2) Lots and lots and lots of caffeine
You will not eat or sleep during Gitex. What you will live on is caffeine and taurine. You will drink coffee, tea, and Red Bull like its water. Gitex veterans will normally lug around with them a couple of cans of energy drinks. And for those new to Gitex, bring lots of small change. The venue doesn’t sell cheap beverages (there is however a supermarket around the corner in the DWTC residences, besides the metro station and opposite Pizza Express).
3) Ear Plugs
Gitex is noisy. Actually that’s wrong. Gitex is deafening. Exhibitors assume that the higher the wattage from their surround sound system, the more people will stop and watch the models… ahem, executives talking about their business. Gitex is the exhibition equivalent of a Tuesday night club which is hosting a drum and bass session combined with a ladies free-entry policy. If you want to ensure that you leave with your hearing intact then take ear plugs with you. Just don’t forget to take them out when you’re interviewing/arranging for interviews.
4) Panadol, Ibuprofen, Vicodin…
You get the point. At some time during Gitex, you’re going to be hit by the mother of all headaches. Be prepared, take lots of meds with you. And if you don’t have any and the dreaded throbbing and pain strikes then head on down to the pharmacy on the concourse to grab your pain killer of choice.
5) The Patience of a Saint
At some point you’re going to be surrounded by screaming, nagging executives who are behaving like a bunch of toddlers/prima donnaa. There’s really thing that you can do, apart from swallow your pride, paint a smile on your face, and remain calm. Gitex would test the patience of the Dalai Lama, so remember you’re not alone in your frustrations. For the week however, you will have to suffer in silence. Remember that patience is a virtue so stay calm!
What’s your top tips for Gitex? Share and share alike. Remember, we’re in this together!