Japan is one of the countries that have very unique culture and tradition. Moreover, their business etiquette has rules that must be strictly observed. Japanese people put so much value in doing business and so foreigners are not exempted in doing so. If you are planning to expand or start a business in Japan, these are just some of the most important rules that you must observe:
1. Appearance and Dress code – If you look around, Japanese employees regardless of the position and status in life, commonly wear a coat and tie for work or school. They believe that a formal attire should be worn in any type of business. A business casual attire is seldom preferred and worn only when appropriate. In addition, Japanese are conservative in nature that’s why formal attire is always a good choice. In their business world, formality denotes trust and pureness of intention.
2. Social Interaction – Japanese businessmen interact in a very formal and traditional manner. They are never aggressive and talkative especially during a business meeting. For them, silence or less talk is a way of showing self control and wisdom. In contrary to other nations, Japanese people prefer a formal and introverted approach as a business relationship starts. Never fill in silence with unnecessary talk for it can ruin an important meeting.
3. Behavior and Attitude – Always bear in mind that Japanese people are respectable, formal, conservative and never aggressive. It is very essential to consider these traits in order to act accordingly. Since it is widely known that they highly value privacy, don’t ever dare to ask personal questions or be pushy in any situation.
4. Manners and Actions – In many countries, giving and accepting of a business card is just a casual thing. In this country, there are certain rules related to it. A business card is given due respect for it is the extension of one’s identity. When accepting it in a standing position, one should hold it with both hands, read it briefly and keep it in a business card holder. When in a seating position, it must be placed on top of the table during the meeting and be kept in a business card holder afterwards. It is also worthy to remember that Japanese don’t do hard selling. They don’t like pushy and aggressive people and so business presentations should be done in a persuasive and gentle manner.
Be guided by the rule “Patience is a virtue.”
5. Small yet important things – There are so many things that need to be learned before one starts up a business or sets up a business meeting in Japan. Some of these small yet valuable pieces of information are: seniority is based on the age, giving gifts during meetings is a nice gesture, decision making is done as a group, there are certain rules in gift giving, and many more.
You will never go wrong if you do your homework. Business meetings in Japan are treated with high priority and so one must be ready for it.