GREETINGS & BUSINESS CARD EXCHANGES
* In Japan it is custom to greet each other by bowing instead of handshaking.
* The bow is a very important custom in Japan and bowing the wrong way or not bowing all can give you a major disadvantage in your dealings with Japanese clients.
* There are 3 different ways of bowing, depending on the social statusor age of the person you bow to.
* The lower the bow and the longer one hold the position, the stronger the indication of respect, gratitude and sincerity.
* Therefore, it is important that you bow lower than those in a higher position than you.
* Since such respect, gratitude and sincerity for one another is required to build a successful relationship with Japanese colleagues andclients, it is important to understand the custom of bowing.
* When greeting Japanese for the first time, you are often asked to introduce yourself. In your self-introduction, it is often best to include not only your company information but also something personal about yourself.
* Also keep in mind that Japanese introduce themselves stating their company before their own name.
BUSINESSMEETINGS & NEGOTIATIONS
* Always arrive 10 minutes early for a meeting, more if the meeting will be with senior executives
* Plan an exact agenda for the meeting and make sure to stick to it
* Wait to be seated in the meeting room because there is a usually a specific seating arrangement
* Take lots of notes during the meeting as it indicates interest
* Use visual aids during yourpresentation. Make sure to watch the Japanese attendants' non-verbal communication.
* During presentations and especially during negotiations, it is essential that one maintain a quiet, low-key, and polite manner at all times
* Do not show anger, a bad mood or other negative emotions to your business counterparts
* Periods of silence lasting between 10-15 seconds during meetings andconversations are considered useful rather than uncomfortable
* Etiquette and harmony are very important. "Saving face" is a key concept. Try to avoid saying "no" and say "this could be very difficult" instead
* Decisions are usually made only within the group. Outsiders must often gain acceptance before they can have influence on the decision-making process
* The decision-making processcan be very slow
* Generally, the Japanese prefer oral agreements to written ones, and should not be pressured into signing documents
* The first meeting may focus on establishing an atmosphere of friendliness, harmony and trust. Always allow ten minutes of polite conversation before getting down to business
* It often takes several meetings to develop a contract. When the time comes,be content to close a deal with a handshake. Leave the signing of the contract to future meetings.
* Contracts can be renegotiated; in Japanese business protocol, they are not final agreements
* After the meeting, make sure to follow-up with your Japanese business counterparts through visits, faxes and telephone calls.
BUSINESS RECEPTION ETIQUETTE (MEALS)
* When you are taken out,the host usually pays, in accordance with Japanese business protocol.
* To reciprocate either invite your host out for a separate dinner or give your host a present from your home country.
* Customarily, the highest-ranking person hosting a meal sits at the center of the table. The most important guest will be seated to the host's immediate right. The "least" important guest will be seatednear the entrance or door.
* When drinking with a Japanese person, fill his glass or cup after he has filled yours. While he is pouring, take your cup or glass up with both hands so he can fill it easily. Never pour your own drink.
* An empty glass is the equivalent of asking for another drink. Keep your glass at least half full if you do not want more. Although depending on your host, he...