jp005-Tokyo, Japan, July 1982 - The day after I arrive in Tokyo, I have an appointment with Dentsu, Japan's largest advertising agency.
I am ushered into an office the size of a doctor’s waiting room.
“How can I help you?” asks an American translator, greeting me at the reception area.
No one knows about the meeting setup by the head of the Dentsu New York office.
“Let me see what I can do,” she says. “Give me 15 minutes.”
I am brought into a room and start setting up the project when in come 20 young men with jackets off and sleeves rolled up. They are kept waiting while I fumble around setting things up, one of the worst ways to make a first impression.
The second worst way is having an audience that has no idea who you are, what your presentation is about, and why they are being forced to attend.
“Can someone shut off the lights?” I ask. I cannot even see the image on the screen and can’t focus the projector.
“We’re Dentsu. We don’t need to shut off the lights to see slides,” one young man says in English.
I make my presentation on a cool blue wall in a brightly lit room.
I can hardly see the images so I’m sure no one else can either. When the presentation ends, everyone leaves, except for the young man.
“We are Dentsu Sports Licensing Committee,” he says. “Why did you waste our time with a lifestyle report? You should come better prepared if you expect to work with Dentsu.”
Considering the miscommunication between New York and Tokyo, my addressing the wrong audience who couldn't see the wrong presentation, I thought it went pretty well. I got to practice my presentations and learn what not to do next time.