Japanese Business Meeting Etiquette

Business Meeting in Japan - How to Introduce Yourself

Business Meeting in Japan – How to Introduce Yourself

Japanese Business Meetings are often Formal settings where certain etiquette must be observed.  The Japanese are aware of cultural ignorance and will not expect you to perform perfectly, but it is important to show respect by trying to adapt your presentation so that you observe Japanese etiquette.

Starting the meeting:

Most Japanese Business Meetings will start by exchanging cards.  

  1. Prepare the number of cards you will need to exchange.  If there are three representatives, remove 3 cards from your card holder.
  2. When exchanging cards, present the card with both hands extended in front of you, and have the card so that it is readable by your client.  If you do use one hand, offer it with your right hand, taking care not to cover any logos or titles. If there are more than one representative present during the meeting, line up politely to exchange.  You should line up in the order of seniority.  I.E. (President, Vice President, Manager)
  3. If you have a bi-lingual card, offer the side with the native language of the receiver.

If you are selling to this person, it is polite to offer your card first. An important point to note is that you should only use a business card holder as using a wallet or pocket is considered rude.

After you have received their card and studied it, present your card by turning the card so that it is readable from their angle, and pass it over to them with both hands while slightly bowing.  After you have received their card, place the most senior representative’s card on top of your business card holder, with the vice president, and manager’s card placed to the right.

Example:

How to place business cards after exchanging them.

How to place business cards after exchanging them.

 

What to say when you introduce yourself:

はじめまして。[company name]の[name]ともうします。(どうぞ)よろしくお ねがいいたします。 Hajimemashite. [Name] to mōshimasu. (Dōzo) yoroshiku o-negai itashimasu. “Hello. I’m [Name]. Pleased to meet you.”

This literally translates to – First time meeting you – I am Called Name – Please treat me favorably

How to Sit:

Seating chart for Japanese Business Meeting

Seating chart for Japanese Business Meeting

In the above chart, you can see that the Boss will sit in the middle with the less senior representative to the left and the even less senior representative to the right.

The least senior representative will sit closest to the door and the host company will sit on the side of the table farthest away from the door.

Having a Japanese representative allows you to build trust and comfort with your potential client or partner.

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