When doing business in Japan, it’s important to be aware of the cultural differences and etiquette rules that guide social interactions. Although the standards of business conduct in Japan are generally similar to those in Western countries, according to Kavan Choksi Japan, there are a few key areas where Japanese customs differ from the norm. By familiarizing yourself with Japanese business etiquette, you can create a favorable impression and build strong relationships with your Japanese counterparts.
In Japan, greetings are formal and structured. When meeting someone for the first time, it’s customary to exchange business cards. Be sure to present your card with both hands and use two hands to receive someone else’s card. It’s considered rude to write on someone else’s business card, so make sure to put it away in a safe place as soon as possible.
When meeting someone who is of a higher rank than you, it’s important to show respect by bowing deeply. You should also use an honorific title when addressing them, such as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” For example, if you’re meeting with the president of a company, you would say “Hai, prezidento-san,” (“Yes, Mr. President”).
Punctuality is highly valued in Japanese culture, so be sure to arrive on time for all meetings and appointments. It’s also important to be prepared and have all the materials you need before the meeting starts.
Business meetings in Japan often start with small talk before getting down to business. Although this may seem like a waste of time, it’s actually an important opportunity to build rapport with your counterparts. Once the business portion of the meeting begins, things will move quickly, and decisions will be made quickly. As such, it’s important to be clear and concise when presenting your ideas.
Business dinners are an important part of doing business in Japan. They provide an opportunity to build relationships with your counterparts and solidify deals.
When attending a business dinner, it’s important to be aware of the etiquette rules that govern dining. For example, it’s considered impolite to begin eating until everyone at the table has been served. It’s also important to pour your own drink and refill the glasses of those around you.
When it comes time to pay the bill, the person who initiated the meeting will usually foot the entire bill. If you’re the one hosting, be sure to pick up the tab.
Mistakes to Avoid
There are a few key things to avoid when doing business in Japan. For example, it’s considered impolite to blow your nose in public, and it’s also considered bad manners to step on someone’s shadow. Additionally, avoid gesturing with your chopsticks or pointing at people with them.
When giving a gift, be sure to wrap it in beautiful paper and avoid using white flowers, as they are associated with funerals. Also, be sure to avoid giving gifts that are odd numbers, as these are considered unlucky.
By following these simple tips on Japanese business etiquette, you can avoid any potential missteps and create a positive impression with your counterparts. Remember that punctuality is key, and be prepared to engage in some small talk before getting down to business. And finally, don’t forget to exchange business cards! By following these simple tips, you’ll quickly build solid relationships with your Japanese colleagues and lay the foundation for a successful partnership.