All clients are important. All meetings are important. This is not to say all meetings are equal in their importance. Discussing the best way to put together an air condition does not hold the same social/political implications as a bilateral meeting. This story is about the latter.
It’s Monday morning at 8:35. Both parties are sitting in a large room in downtown Tokyo. The Japanese have greeted and welcomed their American counterparts. After a few words are spoken about the importance of this meeting, the host says the Director of the department, his superior, will come in for a few minutes and extend his welcome as well. On cue, a man enters the room, sits at the head table and facing everyone says the following:
“Good morning. My name is (insert name here). I’m the Director of the (insert department name here) and I have been in this position for two years. Welcome.”
I repeat his words. Verbatim. I did not omit, change, or embellish anything. I used his words in the exact order they were spoken. That’s my job.
Suddenly, he looks over at me, and next thing I know I’m the target of serious public humiliation.