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Are they a) important, b) not important or c) best avoided?

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- Exchanging business cards - being formal or informal
- Shaking hands - being punctual
- Bowing - humor
- Kissing - eye contact
- Small talk before meetings - giving presents
- Accepting interruption - being direct (saying exactly what you think)
- Using first names  

- Here is for you the short texts about making appointments, negotiating and business dressing in Japan, Italy, and Brazil. Compare the information of the texts and make up a short summary.

Japanese business style

Making appointments.If you want to make an appointment, but don’t have a connection, a personal call will be more effective than sending a letter. Moreover, a letter requesting an appointment might go unanswered. Punctuality is necessary when doing business here; the Japanese believe it is rude to be late. In Japanese business culture, the working week consists of 48 hours without overtime pay, completed in five and a half days. Larger firms have initiated a five-day week.

Negotiating.What you should know before negotiating. Connections are very helpful in this country, but choose your intermediaries carefully: the Japanese will feel obliged to be loyal to them. Select someone of the same rank as the person with whom he or she will have dealings. Moreover, an intermediary should not be part of either company involved with the deal.

If you know a highly respected, important person in Japan, use his or her endorsement and connection. Before you enter into negotiations, request a consultation, and then ask if you can use the endorsement and connection to further your business efforts. This method of using connections is standard practice among Japanese business people.

Business cards (“meishi”) are an important part of doing business in Japan and key for establishing credentials. Bring a plenty supply, since your Japanese counterparts will be keen to exchange them.

One side of your card should be in English, and the reverse in Japanese. It is an asset to include information such as membership in professional associations.

Cards are presented after a bow or handshake. Present your card with the Japanese side facing up.



People of high rank often have their business cards presented by subordinates.

When you receive another person’s card, make a show of carefully examining it for a few moments and then remarking upon it. Accepting a business cad and then stuffing it into your pocket is considered disrespectful. Writing on a business card is also perceived negatively.

Be especially respectful to your older Japanese counterparts - age equals rank in Japanese business culture.

Negotiations generally have an atmosphere of grave seriousness. However, light conversations as well as light humour are common before meetings or during breaks. Western style jokes should be avoided.

Guidelines for business dress.In Japanese business culture, men traditionally wore conservative suits, typically in blue or grey, with a white shirt and dark tie. Suits are still conservative in medium-sized and larger Japanese companies and government offices, but pastel shirts are now common.

The foreign business in Japan can wear whatever shirt he usually wears… without any negative impact.

Business women should dress conservatively and use jewelry, perfume and makeup only sparing. It is now common for many Japanese women to wear slacks, pant suits and high heels at work, depending on the kind of work they do. Some old-line companies continue to dictate a conservative style.

Summers in low lying areas of Japan are hot and humid. It’s a good idea to pack several changes of clothes, as this culture places an emphasis on maintaining a clean, neat appearance.


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