11) When going for a meeting, strictly adhere to timelines. You are expected to have taken a prior appointment. An agenda of meeting should be decided mutually beforehand. Required documents should have been shared. Concerned people should have been informed beforehand. There should be no room for surprises, chaos or mismanagement.
Statistical data if any should be kept handy. Wherever possible, create/share data in visual format (diagrams, graphs, pictures) which is easier to understand.
Mention the contents in emails or document in Bullet-points rather than writing an essay-like text.
12) Always remember HouRenSou (Houkoku: Reporting, Renraku: Communicating, Soudan: Consulting)
13) As mentioned in my earlier blog, the Japanese people do not like going ‘paperless’. You can see them carrying bunch of printouts for meeting. If you are hosting the meeting, you may be expected to carry important documents printed out in number enough for all participants.
14) Anticipate the things in advance. If you see any problems/issues, bring them to notice of your Japanese counterpart. The Japanese don’t like surprises in work.
15) The Japanese appreciate innovations. However, they may be slow in implementing changes.
16) Check your understanding by asking questions. Many a times, the Japanese do not clearly state “Yes” or “No”. But, you may ask questions/ ask to repeat certain point and confirm that your understanding is correct. Politely apologize for asking repeatedly.
17) Environment at work places or offices is formal. Informal talks / personal talks or chit-chatting / talking personal matters on phone is not done in offices.
For informal talks with colleagues/customers, there is a custom of after-work socialization (Nomikai飲み会-drinking party). This is not just for relaxing or entertainment, but important from business point of view as one can actually get to know the counterpart through such informal meetings. Even if you don’t drink, it is important that you participate in such meets.
18) Directly coming to point of business right at the beginning of the informal meeting, or pin-pointing might sound stern. Initial warm-up talk like casual conversation should always be there. It helps in building relationship.
Don’t be surprised if you are asked personal questions (about your family, spouse, your age etc.) especially by older Japanese people.
19) If you are invited for a lunch or dinner meeting or a get-together, be prepared to pay your contribution of bill, in most of the situations.
20) Clean and neat appearance is important. Many Japanese people tend to judge a person by his/her appearance and dressing. Dressing formally is a part of Japanese Work Culture. Especially when meeting customers, wearing business suit is a must.
21) Avoid sharp eye contact.
22) If you speak English, speak slowly and without any specific accent. Slow and clear talk always enhances understanding of the Japanese counterpart.
Thus, this ‘Land of Rising Sun’ is definitely a likable place to work at, with warm people having a very high standard of living, highly developed country with all advanced technologies … everything one might want!
So, let’s go EAST 😃…