Ideas, tips and reports about event display construction and management

Not open to public – a „good advice“ you can see on many homepages and entrance halls at Japanese exhibitions. So, what can people do, if they´re interested in business-exhibitions, but no part of a highly important industry?

The answer is as simply as possible: business cards. The business card not only shows your name and contacts, it´s a proof that you are in business, showing which company you work for and also which position you´re in – and that´s proof enough!

Now, many people may think: „I can create such business cards with every freeware image-editor from the internet, and print it out. So what’s the problem?“

I can tell you: there is none. You could do it like that. You create a nice emblem, give yourself a very important-sounding position-title and the doors to many business-exhibitions open up wide.
The staff at the entrance usually won´t ask embarrassing questions, they just don´t have the time for that, because there are too many people.
But I think that´s a typical European manner. Japanese people won´t give themselves a title they
don´t deserve.

Hierarchies and respect for other people are very important columns of the Japanese culture. If anyone found out the fake, it would be a huge disgrace for the liar.

You can get those business cards at every single stall. In Japan, it got a more highly esteem than in Germany (at least, that´s what the German „handbook of manners for Japan-tourists“ says). So, if you want to hand over a business card to a businessmen, you´ll have to attend some rules. It´s like a little ceremony: the order, which person takes it first, the way you have to read it, the place where you put it after reading – there are many defaults.

Like I said: Hierarchies play an important role in the Japanese society. So, the position in your company on your business card is not only to improve yourself. It shall give your business parter an idea, what kind of person he is dealing with, to avoid misunderstandings.

When the time has come for an exchange of business cards, it´s important to know, that you should hold the card with both hands and give it to your partner, so he can read it immediately. If you ever got a present from an Asian, you will know: it´s an usual ritual. It shows, that your attention is completely to your partner.

If you get a business card from someone, read it carefully – and show respect to your business partner. Then it´s time to make a curtsey, but be careful: this can also be a trap for gaijins. The person with the lower rank have to bow lower than the person with a higher rank.

Sounds complicated? Well, maybe for the modern, German businessman it is. In Germany, people often put these business cards in their pockets. Later, it will be thrown away together with some tissues and candy packaging, or they forget in in their trouser pocket and it get washed in the washing machine. In Japan, such behaviour would show lots of disrespect. So, it´s better to buy a little case for business cards (you can buy it nearly everywhere in Japan, in all price ranges).

So, be careful with business cards: It is an important part of the Japanese business. You should treat it like that. If you are not sure how to behave in Japanese business: there are courses where you can learn all these rules.

the Welkam boys Kojichu, Japanese for 'under construction,' is an ongoing notebook of ideas, tips and discoverys we've picked up over the years building displays and managing events around the world.

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