Japan is home to a culture that prides itself on tradition, hard work and courtesy. As a result, business meetings are incredibly important and few deals are sealed without a face-to-face in one of the many meeting rooms in Tokyo.
However, as with many occasions in Japan, meetings aren’t without their ceremony and businessmen hoping to build new and profitable relationships should be aware of the importance of business etiquette when attending meetings in Japan. Here are a few tips for you.
When entering one of the many meeting rooms in Tokyo it’s important to remember that you should always greet the most senior member of the delegation first.
Both corporate hierarchy and age seniority are taken very seriously in Japan, so try to identify the oldest and most senior businessmen in the room as quickly as possible.
Even when held in luxurious Marunouchi hotels, the seating arrangements at Japanese meetings are very important.
In general, the most senior person present will sit at the head of the table furthest from the door. The next most senior will sit either side with the rank decreasing the further down the table you go.
As a western person attending business events in Tokyo, it’s a good idea to wait until someone directs you where to sit. Try to ensure that you’re not the first to sit down and that you are never the only one seated at any one time as this can also be considered a little rude.
When attending events in meeting rooms in Tokyo, it’s very important to pay attention, look interested throughout and ensure you listen carefully to input from everyone present.
Asking questions, taking notes and repeating ideas are all good ways to show that you’re engaged in the meeting.
Though it is not obligatory, it’s not uncommon for gifts to be given during meetings. If you receive a gift from your Japanese counterparts, make sure you clearly show your appreciation for it and thank everyone involved in its presentation.
If the gift is wrapped, wait until you have left the meeting before unwrapping it.
Following proper procedure during events in meeting rooms in Tokyo will help your Japanese business dealings to go more smoothly.
Japanese businessmen will appreciate the effort you have put into familiarising yourself with their culture and traditions, something that is guaranteed to improve their perception of you and make it more likely your business proposals will meet with success.