Barry siskind

Barry Siskind

In 2010 I wrote a blog for UFI titled, “Success Attributed to Resilience.” The impetus for me writing that piece was the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland that caused enormous disruption to air travel across Northern and Western Europe which in turn forced many trade shows to either postpone that year, or limp along hoping that next year would be better.

So far, the current global pandemic has caused serious damage to every aspect of our lives, both personal and business and still, the end is nowhere in sight. But disruptions whether caused by acts of nature, runaway viruses or wars are what the exhibition industry has always faced. In a recent article in the Toronto Globe and Mail, author Margaret Atwood wrote a wonderful opinion piece titled, “Growing up in Quarntineland; Childhood nightmares in the age of germs prepared me for coronavirus.”

In her piece she reflected to the 1940’s and 50’s when such worldwide health issues such as Polio, Scarlet Fever, Diphtheria and Whooping cough forced governments to post quarantine signs on houses that had an effected household member. For many of us who lived through those times it seemed to be a world without end. The exhibition industry suffered as did the economies of the world. What seemed unthinkable soon became nothing but a bad dream.

The point I’d like to make is that our industry is all about people. If these people feel threatened in any way, our industry suffers from the brunt of their fears. But the good news is that the exhibition industry throughout its long history has relied on its resilience to rebound after facing a multitude of crises. The dictionary describes resilience as,” the ability to be able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.” Calling the Coronavirus a difficult situation may be an understatement, but, human beings are social animals. Once this pandemic is over, and sometime in the future it will be, then the basic human need to meet face to face will prevail.

Remember the words of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who wrote, “That which does not kill me, strengthens me.”