Sunday, 16 March 2008


So how much people watching did I get done while away? Not as much as I'd planned.

There was the bloke who put a DVD on for his product then hid behind the plasma screen for 3 days. Each time we looked he was wading through a 8" high stack of paper, carefully turning each page. So we decided he was a novelist dragged out of his garret.

We did consider sneaking over and replacing the manufacturing process DVD with a Life on Mars one. But then his stand would get more attention than ours. So in future we might make an animation of Sam being hit by a car using our software. After all our animation of a boyscout sliding down an aerial-runway always gets a big response. Especially when he flies off the end and bounces along the ground.

We had the manic nose drillers. How can you walk around in a crowd with a digit shoved up your nasal passage? Doesn't it make breathing tricky? There were the bosses hiding out from their own stands. Juggling, playing rugby, how old are they? I met one panicking kiosk staffer who hadn't had a chance for her double caffeine fix and the queue was building. I made them wait so she could get human.

And there was the usual waltz around at the stall edges. It's like hunting.

1) They stand in the middle of the corridor and watch."I'm just looking, Come near me and I'll run." If you approach they'll go all flustered. They may take some details but only to dump in the bogs later. Conference centre cubicles are full of dumped brochures. Best you can hope is a smile will tempt them in. You let the lure lie still at their feet. Don't even touch the string.
2) They make eye contact and step forward. "OK I'll let you approach but be gentle with me." A reassuring voice can work here but carefully. They could still bolt. Tug the string a little so the lure twitches, ever so slightly.
3) They hover on the edge of the stand. "I'd like to talk but you seem scary". A chance to rest their feet while you show them some pretty pictures usually works. You slowly draw the string in, moving the lure closer.
4) They step onto the stand. "Ready for business?" Yank the lure home. You've got them.

OK. I'm not as ruthless as that. I just love to chat and if we get a sale in the process then all the better. But I don't worry if they walk away. It killed some time. I'm just not a salesman and to prove it:-

......ME and COLLEAGUE on a stand. ME chats to a visitor, LAMB.
Me: Why don't you sit down and I'll show you the software.
Lamb: I can tell your a salesman.
Me: Are you kidding? I'm completely undiplomatic. I once went to a meeting with a client and
slagged off their software, forgetting they wrote it. This is the only sales thing they risk
sending me on.
.....Lamb sits.
Me: So what part of America do you come from?
Lamb: Australia.
Me: See, I can put my foot in my mouth anywhere.
....Colleague collapses in corner, head in hands.

Still the bloke stayed and is looking to buy so maybe ditsy is a legitimate sales technique. I also asked the same question of a Canadian. Annoying thing is the brain was telling me where they were from but the gob carried on regardless. I've got to slow down talking and give my brain a chance to step in sometimes.

A few of you may have noticed I have the same problem typing. I touch type as fast as I think (or faster sometimes) so there's no editing as I go and I can't fight that little devil that whispers "Press Post. Go on. What can it hurt? Go on...Go on...Go on...Go on..." . Ooops.

And before the testosterone brigade ask, no the grunts seem to have finally lost at this show and all women were thankfully suitably clothed.

I also got some decent meals this trip. Traditional Chinese (so lots of veggie options), Caribbean (Yeeees. I can't get decent plantains and okra round here) and my first trip to Wagamama.

That was my baby sister and an old student buddie. They wanted to see my face when people started scribbling on the tablecloth. They weren't so sure when we struggled to find it and I just walked up to a stranger and asked. In the middle of a city. A big city. Where they think you're nuts if you even make eyecontact. Can't see what all the fuss is about. I asked. They answered. Problem solved. City folk huh.

Anyway, winding up now. Tea to cook for sprogs now they'll let me out of their sight. I think they missed me. That or we've been having another earthquake and they've been clinging to my arms and legs to stop falling over. And yes, Dave missed me too.

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