Travelling can be a challenge, but it’s even more challenging if you’re travelling to another country to conduct business. It’s more important than ever to make sure you know a lot about the country you’re travelling to so you don’t accidentally end up offending someone you’re trying to do business with.
If you’re planning a business trip to Japan, doing a little homework can ensure your trip goes as smooth as possible. Here are three tips that will make conducting business in Japan a breeze.
Be Familiar With the Language
You don’t necessarily need to be fluent in Japanese in order to conduct business there, but being familiar with the language is extremely helpful. Learning a few words and phrases will not only make it easier for you to communicate with others during your stay, but it will also show those you speak to that you respect their language and their culture.
You can spend a lot of money taking language learning course, but why not try learning Japanese for free online first? Not only can you learn important words and phrases from the comfort of your own home without spending a penny, you may also be able to practice your Japanese language skills with others before you take your trip.
Learn the Proper Way to Greet People in Japan
When greeting someone before a meeting in the United States, you probably lean in for a handshake. If you’re especially friendly, you may even offer a hug. Both of these options aren’t good ideas if you’re doing business in Japan.
Instead, you should learn the proper way to greet people:
- Maintain a respectful distance of two or three feet
- Allow your host to take the initiative in greeting you
- Keep your gaze lowered
- Bow from the waist at a 45-degree angle
In some cases, a handshake may be appropriate, but only if your host offers one as a sign of respect and good faith.
Keep Plenty of Cash on Hand
If you’re doing business in Japan, chances are, money is involved. Plastic is king here in the states, but cash is still surprisingly common in Japan.
When doing business in Japan, make sure you bring along plenty of money, and make sure you have an easy way to get more cash if you run out. That way you aren’t stuck trying to pay for dinner with plastic when the restaurant doesn’t accept credit.
Having cash on hand doesn’t mean you have plenty of money to tip with. Tipping is considered an insult in Japan. Instead, gratuity is added to your bill, so keep your cash in your pocket to avoid offending the waitress and the group you’re dining with.
Doing a little prep work ahead of your trip will better prepare you for your meeting. By taking the time to understand the language and culture in Japan, you can ensure your meeting goes smoothly, which will certainly enhance your business relationships.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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