Business Meeting

Don’t criticize or embarrass Japanese colleagues

Be aware that Japanese business culture is hierarchical

Be sure you always greet the most senior people in the room before anyone more junior

Do not try to push for decisions or deadlines

Be humble and apologetic

Go over the same point several times from different angles to check the situation

Do not speak well of yourself but be very positive about your organization

Humor should be avoided during serious business meetings

Avoid strong eye contact which can be seen as threatening or hostile behavior

Show an interest in your contact as a person- An interest in family, hobbies, health etc., can help to cement a relationship

Be aware of your body language and try to maintain a formal posture during meetings

Avoid slumping or crossing your legs as this could give a negative impression

Make sure you take plenty of business cards with you, and have your details printed in Japanese on the reverse when doing business in Japan

You can expect your Japanese colleagues to be comfortable with virtual communication

Avoid physical contact or expansive gestures and facial expressions when doing business in Japan

Most Japanese are modest and reserved in their behaviour and value the space around them

Address your business partners by their surname

Business cards are called Meishi and they are a big thing in Japan

Accept a Japanese business card using both hands, saying ‘Thank you’ and studying it in detail

Don’t write on business cards you receive.

Don’t put the card immediately in your pocket or wallet. Put it on the table in front of you

Take all the business cards you receive at the end of the meeting

”No” does not exist in the Japanese language

The Japanese don’t like to hurt other people’s feelings so they are never straight forward

Read between the lines as to the real meaning of what your Japanese colleagues are saying

You will always be meeting with a team and not an individual

Respect is an important tenet of all professionals

You need to pay attention to your body language

Baseball is definitely a good ice-breaker

You can compliment people as often as you like

If people are becoming drunk, you’ll be surprised where the conversations could head, so just be aware

Keep a steady tone in speaking with people

There is not too much physical interaction, but very often today you will still get offered a handshake because you are a foreigner

When Japanese greet each other, they usually just bow

Punctuality is important — it shows respect for the attendees

Ask lots of open questions to test for understanding

The development of relationships in Japan is often dependent on people’s ability, to read the underlying truth which may underpin the spoken rhetoric

In times of stress or difficulty during a meeting, the Japanese will often resort to silence in order to release the tension in the room

Japanese body language is very minimal, making it difficult for the untrained observer to read

Relationships drive business in Japan. Without the right depth of relationships with the right people, it can be very difficult to achieve anything

It is important to show respect appropriately

Age brings its own dignity and should be respected

Try to be polite and diplomatic at all times

Avoid putting the Japanese in situations where they might be forced, to lose ‘face’

Do not try to push for decisions or deadlines

Be humble and apologetic

Go over the same point several times from different angles to check the situation

Do not speak well of yourself but be very positive about your organization

Humor should be avoided during serious business meetings

Avoid strong eye contact which can be seen as threatening or hostile behavior

Show an interest in your contact as a person- An interest in family, hobbies, health etc., can help to cement a relationship

Avoid showing irritation, annoyance or impatience

These negative emotions could put a strain on the development of the relationship

Always take gifts to give to key contacts

Dress well, but conservatively

Do not pat anyone on the back

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