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The International Man Larry Kulchawik
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The International Man: The French Way

by Larry Kulchawik

Author’s Note: The second edition of Trade Shows from One Country to the Next was recently released. The guidebook is about international marketing with a focus on global tradeshow differences. Although dedicated to the venues, top events, exhibit design and regulations, much of the information speaks to effective communication and culture when spending a week or less marketing a product in a foreign country. No one person, or company, is the expert everywhere in the world. Taking the time to learn and trusting the opinions of local suppliers is a good first step when planning a tradeshow abroad. When it comes to international exhibiting, we will never stop learning something new. Below is an excerpt from the book; I hope to share highlights about doing tradeshows in several select countries for upcoming ECN issues.


The French adhere to a strong and homogeneous art of values. They cherish their culture, history, language and cuisine, which are considered an art. The French have been, and are today, world leaders in fashion, food, wine, architecture and the winners of the 2018 World Cup.

The French embrace novelty, new ideas and manners with enthusiasm as long as they are elegant. To the French, language is sacred and to be handled with due care. As a newbie traveler to France, you might enjoy reading a fun and informative book entitled French or Foe, by Polly Platt. “The French people are different, wonderfully different, and differently wonderful. The trick is knowing what the differences are. You have to know the French concept of good manners and behavior to understand that it is the foreign visitor, not the French people, who are being rude in their country. Whether a tourist or business traveler, trying to function on any level in France with the same mechanisms as in other countries is like putting an Intel chip into a Motorola operating system. It simply does not work!” explains Platt.

When you arrive in France, show respect for this beloved language by apologizing immediately for not speaking proper French, and then feel free to continue the conversation. French pride and the French way of doing things are evident and extend onto the tradeshow floor of any event you attend. Speaking a little French will go a long way when doing a show in France.  Located in the heart of Europe, France hosts nearly 700 tradeshow and exposition events yearly, with the majority held in the Paris region. French exhibitors will invest to create an attractive exhibit to enhance their image. The French are very style conscious. It is common to acknowledge an exhibitors’ stand for its unique style and for its sustainability at shows in France. Attending a tradeshow in Paris provides an ideal setting to make business contact with Europe, as well as the world.

For exhibit set ups in France, labor authorization is strict. When more than one supplier company works on the same stand, a form must be submitted (PPSPS) describing tasks and responsibilities of the different suppliers. May be a good idea to work with a French exhibit supplier partner. EDPA and IFES can help you identify a trusted supplier to work with. So much more to say here. Enjoy your business travels!

Larry Kulchawik is the head of Larry Kulchwawik Consulting and author of “Trade Shows from One Country to the Next.” For more info, visit www.larrykulchawik.com.

This story originally appeared in the July/August issue of Exhibit City News, p. 18. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecnflipbook_julyaugust_2019_web.






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