When you go to the toilet, you will have yet another pair of slippers reserved for use in the toilet. Don`t forget to remove them before returning home. While you`re not supposed to know all of this, it`s noticed and appreciated when you do. It just means you`ve done some homework to honor your hosts. There`s a lot of goodwill in this – or as David Syrad, CEO of AKI Japan Ltd., put it: “Use your knowledge of Japanese business etiquette to demonstrate your flexibility and sensitivity.” It will pay off. For Japanese businessmen, a business card (Meishi, pronounced “MAY-SHEE”) is an extension of their identity. Therefore, it is important to observe some deeply rooted rules of etiquette that signal respect for the person. Accept the card with both hands, read it briefly and place it in your business card holder when standing; When you take a seat, put it on the table for the duration of the meeting, then put it in your business card holder. The Japanese company pays meticulous attention to punctuality in business, which is at the heart of Japanese business etiquette. Being on time for meetings shows that you respect your Japanese host, reinforce their positive impression of you as a reliable partner, and create trust and collaboration.
It is advisable to come to an appointment 10 minutes earlier. Whenever you do business in Japan, be polite and wait until you are approached. This will show great respect and avoid missteps. The most obvious facets of Japanese business etiquette affect personal behavior during and around business meetings, but there are other, less obvious things that affect how your company`s Japanese subsidiary should behave. Fortunately for foreign business leaders doing business in Japan, Japanese businessmen will not adhere to the same strict standards expected of their Japanese counterparts: to the extent reasonable, they will tolerate fairly serious transgressions, while minor transgressions that would condemn a Japanese salesman to failure could even help break the company`s ice. Japanese businessmen will make presentations, starting with the highest-ranking person and going down. Wait for the presentations to finish before exchanging cards. Always start with the highest ranked person. Having an interpreter shows respect and consideration for the Japanese you do business with. Although business cards may seem like a small thing, in Japan there are appropriate ways to give and receive them. The order to issue business cards begins with the senior officer making his way to the youngest.
Japanese cultural values will affect how you are perceived – and whether you can be trusted to do business with you. Throughout Asia, a lot is invested in your personal reputation and how you appear to others. Keep in mind, wherever you travel, that the laid-back, non-hierarchical approach that Americans often take can be considered quite rude. At the beginning of a meeting, business cards are exchanged. The highest-ranked person starts the exchange. Give each person a business card. Throughout Asia, it is common to give and receive polite practices, business cards and gifts from both hands. The font should be oriented towards the recipient, Japanese side up. Japanese society is unusually formal, polite and conformist; Attributes that, in particular, permeate the formality of how Japanese businessmen behave at business meetings and social gatherings. To avoid slippages, I recommend that foreign leaders take the following simple precautions: Japanese society often deals with relative status in social relations. Of course, higher-ranking employees are considered higher-ranking, but the same goes for guests, those with more experience, and those who are simply older. The diagram above shows the right place for everyone, with the entrance at the bottom left and the meeting leader or gicho (議長) in the middle.
As you can see, there are different rules for different room layouts, as well as for trains and taxis, but usually the person with the highest status (#1) is next to the meeting leader. Treat all business cards with all respect. If you receive one, easily bow and say thank you. The Japanese are notoriously private and reserved. As businessman Jeffrey Hays says: “Privacy is important in Japan. People can have their name removed from phone books if they wish. Windows are designed so that people cannot look inside. Asking a lot of personal questions at the beginning of the relationship – which is a way for us to build a relationship – can be considered intrusive or rude.
This could be the reason why Japan is lagging behind the world in social media adoption. According to a 2012 article in Ad Age Digital, only 28 percent of Japanese internet users visit social media sites each month, and the time spent on social media in that country is only 2.9 percent, compared to 16.8 percent in the United States. So be on time. And if you can`t, let your business partner know well in advance. Even if you call him an hour before the meeting and tell him you`re on the road, it makes you more reliable. Always stick to the schedule and pay attention to appointments. Last but not least, prepare the content of the meeting well, because the schedule of Japanese companies is very strict and you will not have more time than agreed. Inevitably, at work, the vast majority of them reduce long-term planning, but until they do, this little in the Japanese commercial way can be a real pain in the neck, just like the lower back! Leave the contact card on the table or desk for the entire meeting. Never forget or leave a business card. Adhering to the etiquette of another culture opens the door to more successful communication. This is especially important if you do business in Japan, where cultural elements can have a profound impact on decision-making and, ultimately, on the effectiveness of a business relationship. As Boye Lafayette De Mente said in Etiquette Guide to Japan: Know the Rules That Make the Difference, “Japan is an example of a country where the Code of Social Conduct has become so formal.
and it is important that proper behavior becomes the supreme law of the land. It is important to understand that adherence to cultural norms within a culture varies from individual to individual. Communication takes place between one person and another and, of course, not between one culture and another. Thus, when considering the rules of Japanese etiquette, it is wise to consider them as guidelines rather than as a gospel. When in doubt, it`s worth sinning on the side of conservatism on issues of Japanese corporate culture. Invest in a nice business card holder to show respect for the company you represent and the time of the company you`re engaged with. Unlike other parts of Asia, Japanese businessmen are not willing to share personal information. While the first meetings will be very formal, they will soon become clearer. Don`t confuse relaxed formality with close. Especially among senior executives, Japanese businessmen have not fully trusted a foreigner for many years.
Keep showing good manners. Time is an important resource in any business. But in Japan, the time is strictly adhered to to the point where it is normal and respectful to come to a meeting at least 10 minutes earlier. In addition to courtesy, possible delays or setbacks, as well as unexpected problems, are also taken into account. Nevertheless, it is easier to be taken seriously as a businesswoman in Japan if you follow these tips for business clothes: in a business environment, silence about an overabundance of conversations is appreciated. Silence speaks aloud of wisdom and emotional self-control. This may run counter to a Western approach, where a more extroverted approach can facilitate communication. Japanese corporate culture is characterized by an introverted and more formal approach, especially at the beginning of a business relationship. This approach is likely to be better received by companies in Japan. To respect the etiquette of Japanese business, resist the urge to fill the silence with more discussion on a topic that your Japanese counterpart would prefer to avoid for now. Many people assume that what is logical and common in our home country is also ipso facto the right way in the rest of the world.
This mindset can inadvertently go against what we are trying to accomplish.