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  • Isabelle Ulbrich


As always, the new year started with the organization of our appearance at Europe's largest e-learning trade fair, Learntec. Even though I didn't have much experience in this area, I quickly realized how extensive the preparations would be and, above all, how exciting it would be to attend this meeting of the who's who of our industry. I was already able to make questionable contact with the people at the neighbouring stands in the run-up to the event, as it seemed to be clear well in advance who had the longer tie at the start.

And before you knew it, the madness was already underway. Live and in colour. At full volume and with lots of biscuits.


Monday morning - 7:12am. Preparation day.

I drive the A8 - or rather, I "stand" on the A8 towards Karlsruhe. After getting my shirt wet in temperatures of over 30 degrees in June, I arrive: Hall 1 - rear entrance. I park my car in a sunny spot and successfully forget the give-away chocolate bars in the boot. Within the next 90 minutes, I set up our almost finished stand and await my colleagues who are still on their way from Biel to Karlsruhe. A great atmosphere of departure! And what a beautiful stand this is!", I think proudly as I literally pull a "big whole" of chocolate out of the boot of my car …

Tuesday - 8.02h. First day of the fair.

Our TEAM is ready and we smell great. Everyone's dressed up to the nines and is scuffling with their motivated hooves. I'm standing at the edge of our stand with a bowl full of biscuits (no more chocolate ...). It's loud. People are scurrying and talking everywhere, the last flyers are being unpacked and from some other stand, questionably group-dynamic motivational cries are booming through the hall. The noise doesn't stop me from exchanging a suspicious glance or two with the good-smelling employees of our competitors at the stand opposite. I call him Olaf, the handsome man in his mid-twenties, who acknowledges my glance with a winning smile as he adjusts his handkerchief.

I eat a biscuit.

Tuesday – 11.34h

Without wishing to offend the Scandinavians, but - old Swede, it's exhausting. Yes, it's my first time as a trade fair organiser and the go-to person for everything. I'm not even the one who has to speak to the many visitors or even convince them. I'm just the person in the background, the person who quietly brings the coffee and inconspicuously disposes of empty biscuit wrappers. But we all work well together, very well in fact! Our stand is always well attended and full of all kinds of people, company representatives, HR managers and ... a child. Huh? What? Why is the little one here alone?

“Can you tell me where my mum is?” Holy moly – that wasn't exactly in my plans. I bravely take the little one by the hand, give him a drink of water and a biscuit. Off to the technical office, because there should be people there who know what to do. After a half-hour conversation on site, dozens of questions about the child, all of which I can't successfully answer with "I'm not the father", I eat a biscuit. The people in charge of the fair assure me that they will take care of the little toddler. Reassured, I make my way back. It occurs to me that I should take this opportunity to visit the local toilets.

“Aren't you the ones with the pink stall?” I hear from the urinal next to me. “You're probably glad you don't have to wear work clothes, aren't you?”. Muaaa-aa-a. Funny. “You mean SWISSTEACH AG from stand C40 with the eye-catching stand, the extremely competent staff, and the huge crowds? Yes, exactly - that's us. If you need any tips, feel free to drop by!” I say back, leaving him to linger in awkward silence. He, who I know is part of a competitor's team, leaves the toilet slightly irritated and with two glances back at me.

Tuesday – 17:30h

The first day of the fair was a complete success. We gave it our all. In the afternoon, I also had the pleasure of enticing various passers-by to our stand and directing them straight to our experts. Of course, not without offering them a coffee and – tadaaaaa – a chocolate first. (Yes, I was still shopping.) In the end, like my colleagues, I was pretty exhausted, but it was still a lot of fun, this trade fair madness. We are looking forward to the next day..

Wednesday – 8.13h. Second day of the fair.

It may still be a little early, but the SWISSTEACH is ready to go again with its entire team groomed and groomed. Let's get started – a new round, a new amazing ride.

My gaze falls again to the other side to Olaf. What's going on there? While he's still letting one espresso slide down his throat, the other is already running to the next cup to meet the same fate. When he turns round, I'm the one smiling winningly and adjusting my handkerchief. I quickly realise that I don't have one, but, still smiling, I run my hand over my jacket to clean it. The very red eyes looking at me with suffering suggest a night of drinking. And the rest of the crew don't look any better. `So my dear friends,` it goes through my head. `We are the SWISSTEACH. WE are the experts when it comes to E-LEARNING FOR COMPANIES. WE are well rested. And that means WE are a real threat to you today! Everyone is in competition mode and somehow it's really fun to battle each other here.

Although I'm getting really fed up with them, I pop a biscuit in my mouth and try to whistle in a good mood. Doesn't work, of course. Pff.

Wednesday – 15:03h

Yes, it's still loud. And yes, it's no less exhausting today than it was yesterday to watch the crowds. But honestly: this is simply a state of emergency. And it's still a lot of fun! Many people have been to our stand in the meantime and even though I only overhear most of the conversations in passing, I realise how satisfied and excited most of them are to talk to my colleagues again in the coming weeks. We don't just have run-of-the-mill solutions for DIGITAL EMPLOYEE TRAINING that are slapped on somewhere. Olaf has now realised this too. Resigned, he takes a stealthy peek.

Thursday – 11.45h. Third and final day of the fair.

The last day of LEARNTEC is slowly drawing to a close. Olaf has already started packing up the first displays and equipment at 10.00 am. Is he not in the mood or what? He doesn't seem to be any fitter today.

We, on the other hand, have the self-evident credo of being available with everything you need right up to the last minute. Brochures, videos, DEMO platforms, drinks, chocolate, brains - everything is at the start. And as we can see today, this usually pays off.

An unassuming woman strolls past our stand. She is a visitor, as I can see from the passport around her neck. "May I offer you one of our postcards and a chocolate?". I walk towards the friendly person and realise that she is smiling at me. "That's nice - not exactly extravagant, but nice!" Yes okeeee - chocolate and a card are not necessarily THE unique selling point at a trade fair. But I have learnt to be quick-witted over the last two days. “If we had a worse product and not so much experience, we would have to iron out the better giveaways. But as you can see, that's not necessary. And it's best if you see for yourself!” I reply as I point her towards our product manager with my outstretched arm. She laughs and enters our stand. As it turns out later that day, the nice lady was actually a representative of one of Germany's largest automotive suppliers. She was looking for a new LMS for a total of 13,000 employees. She was in the right place! “I like coming to LEARNTEC quite late. Firstly, it's not so crowded and you can quickly see whether it's wheat or chaff.” We more than understood this sentence.

Thursday – 17.15h

While the last items from our stand are being distributed to the available cars, I analyse the current status of all the contacts made over the last three days. It was good - even very good! There were lots of great, interesting conversations and the feedback on our stand and the commitment of each and every individual was fantastic. I would say it was a complete success!

Sweating slightly, I carry the last bits of chocolate and biscuits into my colleague's black estate car. A foul smell of petrol hits my nose, and we see a large pool under the vehicle. "Seriously?" shouts from the driver's side. "Yep - I think there's no doubt about it!" I sigh to him. While we wait for the ADAC with two remaining bottles of water in the June sunshine in front of Hall 1 of the Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre at 32 degrees, we have to admit that despite our failed after-work planning: It could always be worse.

We apply sun cream and eat the last two biscuits..


Would you like to experience this madness up close, or get sound advice from our experts? (Chocolate and postcards are free - and biscuits, of course).

We will be happy to send you tickets. Simply send a short e-mail to

Meet us at stand C40 in hall 1 and it's guaranteed to be exciting!

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