A few years ago, I lead an all Asian team to a project with European clients. We were invited to present at a large boardroom with impeccable interiors, upto date AV systems and video conferencing facilities. We had over a team of over 20 client managers to attend our presentation. We were well prepared, we had some strong recommendations for the client. But the whole set-up, noisy audience made my project manager a bit nervous. Although, the content was great the presentation was not. In clients own words “it was interesting, solid but not refined nor pleasing to the eye and mind.” Our progress in that account was a big struggle, thereon.
I had forgotten all about this, till recently. My budding theory of “How they eat, How they do business” made me remember this. It did bolster my theory further. In European food context, a well made recipe is only half the job done. It is not just about the taste or smell for that matter. The food content has to be pleasing to the eye. But what truly differentiates, German or French food from all others is the emphasis on the plate in which it served.
Typically, the plate itself looks really artistic. It is so distinctive, it makes you wonder “why I don’t find such dishes when I am looking for my dinner set”. The portion served in the plate leaves enough space around it to express your creativity. This is complete contrast to most of the Asian dishes which are typically filled to the brim. A European dish is served with some decoration – graffiti by chocolate sauce or a mint leaf that compliments color of the main dish takes the whole experience to the next level.
The emphasis on great presentation differentiates Europeans from all others. This is obvious and most well known in design of cars. Europeans treat the cars as the object of desire not just a machine or something that takes you from place A to B. The car that adheres to certain “standards” or have certain “quality” is like a well cooked recipe incomplete without aesthetic presentation. So Audi, BMW, Daimler, VW spend enormous resources on designing beautiful looking cars. Every square mm inside and outside the car is designed with atmost care, harmonized to present itself well to the customers.
It is the presentation that makes the content so special!