Looks like trade shows with their face-to-face experience are back.

These photos are from the recent Nepcon electronics exhibition in Shenzhen, China. We didn’t attend that one on this occasion (though we did produce some of the graphics displays) but we have several events on the calendar across a handful of our technology industry sectors over the next few months.

We’ve missed shows. While Zoom, Teams, FaceTime and WhatsApp video meetings proved crucial to keeping business communications going during the pandemic, there’s no real substitute for trade events to enjoy interactive encounters with people and products.

For us, trade shows are not just about being able to deliver in-person support for our clients on their stands or the creative work in producing banners, display graphics and pre-show publicity initiatives – important though these are. Anyone familiar with exhibiting at or simply visiting an exhibition will know how pleasurable it can be to bump into industry friends, colleagues and even sociable competitors. That’s never the same online – and you can’t dash off to the concourse to chat over a coffee.

Some of the best opportunities for Swordfish come from being able to meet up with members of the trade press. Many of these people are long-term friends that we really only get to meet at exhibitions. Next month in Munich, I’m meeting with Andreas, the Sales Director of one of Germany’s leading electronics publications. Neither of us can remember how many times we’ve met over the years, or for how many years. It’s lots!

Meeting our friends in the media further strengthens relationships that often benefit us with more editorial opportunities, leading to better press coverage for our clients. That’s not cynical, it’s simply productive for all parties. And trade shows are the places where that happens.