Ideas, tips and reports about event display construction and management

Communication with visitors

by welkamro

When you look up the word „exhibition“ in a dictionary, you would find „reach for potential customers“ as an importat goal for trade shows. If you had ever walked through Japanese exhibition halls, you would know: Japanese booth assistants will take the word „reach for“ literally.

When you go though an exhibition and show just a little interest in one of these glittering booths (and „showing interest“ means to look at them in a split second), a young booth assistant will hurry to you.
Sometimes, you only get a booklet, but quite often they pull you on your arm through their booth like a dog on a lead, so there´s no chance to escape.

Next, you will have to go through a little walking-tour of their booth. The assistants become your guides, showing all potential customers, what´s so special about their products.
If you want to be polite now, you will have to hear the assistants saying their memorized lines. If you don´t have any interest in their products, you should pretend a little, take some flyers and wait for the moment they release you from their show with a friendly „Arigato gozaimaaaaaaaaasu“ („Thank you“). This manner may be annoying for some people, but it works: If you get in touch with the booth assistants, you´ll automatically get some information about the product.

Japanese exhibitions often decorate their titles with the word „international“. That draws the conclusion, that they count on people from overseas. Also, there are always some registration desks only for foreign visitors.
But neither at the reception nor at most of the booths the people speak english. If you go with the assistants on these little information-tours through the booth, a flood of japanese words will come towards you.

If you comment, that you don´t understand her, there is this awkward silence for a short moment.
Even though Japanese people learn English in school, most of them learn it only in theory. They don´t have much opportunities to english conversation. So, most of them can speak a few words in english (also due to the fact that the Japanese language has adopted some English words), but often that´s not enough for a fluent conversation.

So, often you can see the fear in the eyes of some assistants when they see some gaijins (foreigener) like me, walking through the halls. They just don´t want to disgrace themself in showing that they don´t speak english.

If a booth assistant accidentally took a gaijin to their stall, their solution to get out of this situation: They give you lots of flyers and booklets. So, the gaijin can read the information by himself.

But the booklets also are in Japanese language. Mostly, you´ll get some business cards. Even if the hostess made clear, that they are NOT available for queries.

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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