Maybe you’ve visited exhibitions, attended industry conferences. Ever wondered what it’s like to be an exhibitor?

My working life has seen me visit lots of exhibitions and attend a variety of conference sessions. This May, however, we were on the “other side of the fence” for the very first time. Our team was invited to co-exhibit at MedTec UK in London, by a company with whom we’re developing a partnership. They’re a great bunch to work with, so we leapt at the chance.

The two days at MedTec gave us the chance to learn more about how each other describes what we do, test different ways to say that to visitors and watch how potential clients responded. An early lesson on day one was that people engaged with usability when we talked about some of the strange things that “real users” do during testing as well as how products really benefit.

When conversations turned to quality and regulatory, a surprising number of visitors sounded visibly relieved at the idea of someone being around to guide them through the requirements and look after documentation.

The result of the lessons; we noticed that visitors moved from saying things like “oh, we don’t need that yet” or “we already have a leaflet” , to “I need to talk with you about CE marking” and “I could use some help“. Others asked for more details about how usability and quality support can be part of their device projects.

Day two, and we were in a groove. We were comfortable with working together and moving around the exhibition floor meeting new people, talking with exhibitors that looked interesting. We met up with a few people we’ve worked with before and were introduced to people that we will likely work with in the future. At one stand, it turned out that we’d worked on the same automated testing systems for a client, albeit a couple of years apart!

It was more tiring than I’d expected, standing up for two days, talking with lots of different people. The $64,000 question; would we do it again? We came away with lots of creative ideas to entertain and engage with visitors. So if we decide to jump over the fence again, it will be a lot of fun turning some of these ideas into reality.