October 25, 2016
Intercultural differences have always been of prime value in such industries as tourism, business, politics and communication. Making sure you stick to these intercultural subtleties will ensure the success of your trip. That is why here at MeetnGreetMe we decided to launch “Doing business in” series of articles to help you learn more about business etiquette around the world and make sure your business trip is successful.
Nothing can go wrong, especially, when you are about to sign a business agreement with your partners, especially, when these partners come from Japan. This island nation has always been famous for it’s authenticity and uniqueness, its picturesque landscape and the latest technologies, sushi, anime, and Toyota.
Or maybe these are just stereotypes? Here we’ll share with you some true facts about Japan you might not have known and some top tips on doing business in Japan. So, let’s start.
Curious facts about Japan
– 70% of landscape in Japan is mountainous with over 100 active volcanoes. Japan suffers 1,500 earthquakes every year.
– They have square melons in Japan for easier storage. What’s even more unusual, melons tend to be overpriced with prices reaching as much as $400.
– The Japanese company Toyota is the 3rd largest automobile producer in the world.
– Whenever you are invited to your Japanese friends, make sure you take off your shoes when you are at their home. Where? Pay attention to raised floors, they’ll give you a hint.
– Japan boasts about one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world. It stands only at 4%.
– And there is definitely one more reason for Japan to boast about. Japanese trains are among the world’s most punctual ones. The average delays reaches as much as 18 seconds only.
– Despite the popular belief, black cats in Japan actually bring good luck.
– If you have a tattoo, you are not allowed into many hot springs and public bathhouses.
Japan has definitely a lot in store and a lot to offer to its international visitors.
Japanese business etiquette is not less unique and sometimes unusual, compared to what people in North America and European countries are used to. Make sure you read these tips below to ensure success of your business trip.
Tips on doing business with Japanese partners
1. Apply “poker face” at all times
It’s considered to be absolutely unacceptable and inappropriate to display emotions during meetings and negotiations. If you demonstrate any anger, shock or excessive happiness, your Japanese partners will not take you seriously and question your level of self-control and reliability.
2. Junior executives should be quiet and let seniors speak
If you are looking for ways to find out how your offer or meeting went, Japanese junior executives would be the best source of information. Seniors generally prefer to convey important information and their attitude via younger members of their team. So just let your junior team members go out with your potential Japanese clients and find everything out.
3. Breath out and answer to all questions the Japanese will shoot at you
The thing is that the Japanese language is very complex. It takes them time to find the perfect address to fit you. In fact, most sentences in Japanese can be expressed in at least four levels of politeness. Therefore, they’ll ask you about your job, title, number of employees and so on. It is of utmost importance to the Japanese, so be respectful and patient.
4. Apology and apology
One important and inseparable component of the Japanese culture is apology. And it’s common not only among individuals, but also highest-ranking officers on behalf of the companies they head. So do incorporate “I’m sorry” into your vocabulary just to be polite. However, don’t overuse it.
5. Punctuality is key
The Japanese is one of the most punctual nations. Tardiness is considered extremely rude, so stick to deadlines and always be on time.
6. The real ‘yes’ and the real ‘no’
It’s not always the way you see it and the way you hear. The response “I’ll consider it” in fact may actually mean ‘no’.
7. Negotiations are to be done in a positive and persuasive manner
Quite hard-sell techniques, they won’t work in Japan. Build upon the points on which you and your partners see eye to eye with each other. High-pressure confrontational approach would not do.
8. Age equals rank
Show the greatest respect to the oldest members of the Japanese group at all times.
9. Shaking hands is also preferable when working with Western partners
The Japanese are very aware of Western business protocol. Their handshakes, though, will be more gentle and lengthy than those you are accustomed to. Please mind that the bow is their traditional way of greeting. As you bow in return, lower your eyes and keep your palms against your thighs.
10. Wear only smart clothes at formal meetings.
Casual dresses are absolutely unacceptable.
Stay tuned for more MeetnGreetMe articles on business etiquette and tips on doing business in different countries around the world.
Meanwhile, we wish good luck to your every business endeavour!