communications in business. Specifically it will discuss communication in business in Japan, including intercultural interactions and successful communications. Often we don't think about the culture and etiquette of doing business in another country, and that's a giant mistake. For example, communication with Japanese clients can be very different that communication with clients here in America. Here are some tips on how to communicate effectively while you're working with Japanese clients.
When we do business in Japan, we must be aware of differing cultural values, language, etiquette, and business customs that can be very different from our own. To ensure that we don't offend or anger our Japanese business partners, we need to ensure that we act and communicate according to their customs, to ensure our success. We also want our staff to feel comfortable while they're working in Japan, and suffer from as little culture shock as possible, so business negotiations go smoothly and effectively.
The Universal Systems Model fits into our account of doing business in Japan. The Universal Systems theory believes that all technology, no matter where it's located, falls under four categories of theory. They are Input, Process, Output, and Feedback. This applies to doing business in Japan to help make us aware that while our cultures may be diverse, the way we view technology and technological procedures is quite similar. When we analyze and communicate about technology with our Japanese clients, we can use this common bond to communicate effectively on the same level. When you use the Universal Systems Model, ask yourself how the technology works, and who does it benefit? Also, ask for feedback, one of the most important aspects of technology use and development.
Japanese cultural values can be far different from the laid-back style found in many U.S. companies. For that reason, you need to learn about Japanese cultural values, so you can act accordingly when you visit Japan. One of the most important aspects of Japanese cultural values is understanding the importance of "wa." A cultural expert notes, "In business terms, 'wa' is reflected in the avoidance of self-assertion and individualism and the preservation of good relationships despite differences in opinion" (Gorrill, 2009). "Face," (called kao in Japan) or reputation and social status is also a very important part of Japanese social culture, and losing face in front of others is seen as a social catastrophe. To cause someone to lose face in a business meeting or setting is a recipe for business disaster. Omoiyari is another term it's important to understand. Expert Gorrill continues, "In literal terms it means, 'to imagine another's feelings,' therefore building a strong relationship based on trust and mutual feeling is vital for business success in Japan" (Gorrill, 2009). Therefore, we must ask ourselves, how do we build trust and empathy with our business partners in Japan? When you do business in Japan, the Japanese will ask you about your personal life and family to get a better sense of you. Open up to them, and ask them the same questions, to gain their trust and so you can be more empathetic to them.
Clearly, language and thought will be very different during business and personal relationships in Japan. The Japanese are more reserved, and their language is often formal. It's important to remember this in your dealings. Never be too casual. For example, you don't need to speak Japanese to do business in Japan. Most large corporations and their staff can converse in English, and most large cities have many English speakers. However, you must understand the nuances of the language and how they apply to business. Ask yourself, how can I gain a better understanding of my business partner through language and thought? For example, the number "four" sounds quite similar to the Japanese word for death, so it is best to avoid it as much as possible in conversation (Gorrill, 2009). What else can you learn before you leave for Japan that will help prepare you for language and cultural differences? Should I use extravagant gestures and talk with my hands in Japan? (The answer is no, the Japanese do not like such gestures and animation, especially in business.)