Asia is the largest and most diverse region in the world and is home to over two-thirds of the world’s population. It is also home to a number of economic powerhouses, notably one of which is Japan. It is currently ranked as the world’s third-largest economy, making it a lucrative and profitable place to do business for many Australians. With these tips we’ll help ensure your Japanese business meeting is a success: 

  • Respect and politeness are a must do, the business environment is rather formal when compared with Australia so respecting these customs will help you get the most out of your business meetings. 
  • Business cards are important and taking the time to study your partners card when you receive it, perhaps even ask a question about the address or something on the card
  • Take advantage of the Australian networks in Japan, for example the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan is great for getting support and introductions with Japanese business partners.
  • Research the ownership structure and company that you’re meeting with to understand the size and scope of their business. There may be broader opportunities than you originally found. 
  • Have patience for the time it takes to get feedback from the company you’re working with, sometimes the team will review with management before sharing feedback with you
  • Arrive early for meetings or appointments, punctuality is a sign of professionalism and respect for the other participants 
  • Do not rush conversations, there are 2 reasons for this, firstly to help with understanding your points clearly and secondly, it may take time for the business relationship to form. Unlike discussions in other cultures, getting straight to your point or forcing a decision at the time of meeting can come off as impolite. Be clear about your intentions and next steps but often the decision and feedback will be made amongst the team and shared afterwards
  • Be prepared to speak through an interpreter, avoid jargon or technical terminology to minimise the risk of missing something important 
  • Patience can pay dividends. You might not have deals completed during your first meeting, this rarely happens in Japan. However, if the meeting goes well, you may be invited to a night out with your potential partners. This could mean going to dinner, Karaoke or other social events. Much of the actual relationship building and getting to know your partners will happen during this time. Be prepared to put in those late nights in order to earn the team’s trust and secure an enduring partnership.

Hopefully you can put some of these tips into practice, they may sound simple but will go a long way to showing respect for your Japanese partners and building the relationship.

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