Business etiquette is an important leadership skill that differentiates any organization from its competitors. Usually, business transaction are made may be even done between two states where delegation meet and exchange ideas (Jeanette, 2012). Many a times, a business deal or potential relationship is unsuccessful or torpedoed by the businessperson's lack of etiquette and awareness in the business arena.
In a business transaction, certain customs like a direct eye contact, hand shake and exchange of business cards are the basics for a successful transaction. Although most of the Asian countries have similar customs, it is important to understand that minor issues such a direct eye contact can be misinterpreted and cause a business transaction to end even before it starts (Jeanette, 2012). In the case study, I will compare two countries: China and Japan on how their business etiquettes are similar or different.
In most countries, business norms are common since they are all meant for a successful transaction (Fox, 2011). Chinese business and cultural practices are almost similar to Japanese hence the same features. Knowing or practicing certain customs helps one to relax, avoid embarrassment and focus on the crucial matters on critical times. This document gives a set of guidelines on both Chinese business customs verses the Japanese based on the experience from both countries.
When meeting a new business partner, it is very important to create a good impression by conducting activities according to the norms of the country. In many states, bowing is considered a sign of respect. In Japan, bowing is very important while in china, they only consider it as a part of introduction (Lillian, 2007). In most countries, handshake is considered as acceptable form of introduction. However, in china and Japan, bowing is preferred to handshake. This shows respect for your host.
For instance, the Japanese believe that it’s unethical for a man to touch a woman in public. Large hand movements are also not allowed. Both countries do not allow communication using hands as it is considered irritating to the client. For instance, in Japan, it is unethical for one to put hands into the mouth while transacting a business. It is also illegal to give gifts to public officials in both states. All these norms are common in most states and have the same purpose to bringing formality and success of business transaction.
Both sates have some common business customs especially when exchanging business cards. When meeting a new person in a business environment, the first thing is to exchange "meishi" (business cards). Consequently, one should also receive the business cards using both hands. It is disrespectful to immediately keep the cards away, but time should be taken to learn the other person’s name or information. Usually, in a formal document, the surname comes first, although of late Japan is adopting the western culture by writing their surname last (Lillian, 2007). Other important points to considered when given a business card is that it is allowered for one to leave a business card on the table especially when going for a short call. This helps in remembering names and titles. Never write on the business card, this is considered an insult by most people.
According to the Chinese, what matters is the idea of what one knows (Fox, 2011).In Japan, networking and doing favors is the key concept in understanding business relations. In both countries, when invited by a friend, family titles are sometimes very confusing hence the tendency of calling relatives by their family relationships but not their first names. For instance, if a person pays a visit to Paul’s house, he does not have the right to call his sister by her first name ‘Sally’ but calling her ‘sister’ is vital for a healthy relationship. In this these countries the culture of calling one another as cousins and brothers is highly accepted (Guide, 2010). Showing a small knowledge of the Japanese traditions and culture indicates that one has a deep and genuine interest in the success of the transaction.
The Japanese people believe that those who dress according to their standards are quite impressive. They believe in dressing to impress. Men should be in dark conservative attire preferably suits. Ladies dress should be conservative and very minimal emphasis is placed on accessories. According to the Japanese, women are not allowed to wear pants in a business meeting since most Japanese men find it offensive. Business dress for ladies in china should have subtle or neutral colors and ladies should not be in high heels or short sleeved blouses.
In both China and Japan, the word “Mistress” is feminine for the word "mister." As with mister, mistress is marital status neutral which describes both married and unmarried ladies. Traditionally "Mistress" was used to differentiate the marital status of women: "Miss" describes unmarried women and "Mrs." for married women.
It is very important to address you partner by his or her title Mr., Mrs., Ms, Director or Chairman. In Japan, it is important to first address the most senior person in the meeting then the other people as a show of respect.
Gift giving is acceptable in both the two countries. For instance, Chinese delegations have the tendency of giving gifts to their visitors as a sign of their willingness to be part of the transaction. If the gift is awarded to a group of visitors then, it should be awarded to the leader of the group. In Japan, gifts should not be too expensive and have special colors used for gift wrapping. The Japanese people are fond of gold, dark red or blue colors and have a preference in them while wrapping their gifts. When to give the gift is usually another important aspect to consider. They both believe that gifts should be handed at the end of a banquet or an introductory meeting. Delegations visiting china are expected to give gifts to their host and also the Chinese travelers to India (Guide, 2010). Gifts are always given and received using both hands, and the funny thing with Chinese people is that they first decline the gift at the first offer. The Japanese don’t allow reception of gifts wrapped in black and white since these colors are associated with funerals.
Recent reports have indicated that the condition and quality of business card speaks a lot about how one intend to conduct himself and transact business. As reservations are compulsory in any business transactions, it’s best to show up some minutes before the agreed time; wait in the visitor’s room until the hostess escorts you to your respective table.
It should be agreed that it is quite difficult to make generic conclusions that can be used by those in business. Religion, Regionalism, and language are considered when doing business in such countries. Etiquette and approach can be changed according to who is addressed or the situation in which they are addressed. Therefore, it is apparent that successful business transaction in both china and Japan depends largely on century long traditions such as exchanging business cards, language, dressing and gifts.