Working in a Japanese company and coming into contact with the Japanese side, surely you will gradually get used to the personality and working style of Japanese people. However, each person's personality and working style are different, so getting along with everyone is not easy.
The purpose of this post is to share a little of my experience in nearly 10 years of supporting project members to communicate with Japanese members (members of parent company).
For me, to communicate and work effectively with the Japanese side, we need to pay attention to the following points:
- Always in time
Punctuality is a habit that is deeply ingrained in each individual and gradually becomes an implicit rule, a basic consciousness. Japanese people always avoid bothering others. Therefore, being late for an appointment is considered impolite behavior, causing harm to others. Being on time is the right thing to do in every situation.
- Pay attention to the time in everything.
- Remember the meeting time and always arrive at least 10 minutes before.
- Whatever time you report to do (release, submit report, etc.), remember to do it on time. In a force majeure situation, at the time you discover that you cannot respond in time at the reported time, you must immediately contact the Japanese side and explain the situation (reason, cause, etc.) fully.
- Create a habit of greeting
The greeting in different situations will have different ways of saying it, and Japanese greetings are extremely important in daily life and communication. Therefore, we must pay attention when communicating with Japanese people, remember to say the greeting no matter what you do.
When sending email or chat message:
|Thanks for your effort
|I apologize for the inconvenience
|Thank you for staying up late yesterday
|Thank you very much for your understanding
|Please consider this
|We look forward to hearing from you
When meeting online:
|Thanks for your effort
|Long time no see
|Thank you very much
|Thanks for your hard work
- Don't be surprised to hear the word “Sorry” a lot
While Vietnamese people only thank when they receive a favor and apologize when they cause something really annoying to others. For Japanese people, constantly using the phrase "Sorry" is a daily habit, their minimum politeness. Therefore, you do not need to be surprised when the story always starts.
申し訳ございませんが、(I'm really sorry but …)
Therefore, when working with Japanese people, do not think too deeply about the word "Sorry", consider it just a word used to say hello.
- Listen patiently and don't be afraid to confirm
With the above mindset of avoiding offending others, Japanese people rarely say "No" to people who are not close to them. Instead, they often talk in circles and hope to receive the other person's understanding when communicating. They do not express their feelings and thoughts clearly but always keep those feelings within a very vague limit. Therefore, it is not easy to know what the other person is thinking or feeling.
For example, when making a request, they won't say "I want you to do this" right away but will explain the context surrounding the request. And they won't say directly "you should do this", but they will say "I think we should do this". That's why many times the interpreters are confused after hearing the request, not knowing what they want them to do in the end. At that time, your job is to confirm the request again if you do not understand the request clearly.
For example, you can confirm that "So we understand that we will do ABC, right?" If they confirm that you got it right, then just do it. If you make a mistake, they will explain again until you understand what they want.
Please listen patiently and confirm if you do not understand clearly.
- Should not directly say "No"
If you pay attention, you will see that it is very rare for Japanese people to answer you "No" right away, because they care about your feelings, so instead of bluntly saying "No", they will be more flexible. They will say "I think it's unlikely, but I'll reconsider" for example.
To respond to this gentle behavior, we should do the same, right? For example, when receiving a request, even if you know 80% of it is "impossible", instead of bluntly answering "No, we can't do it, it's too unreasonable", please answer that "I understand your request, but because we need more research, we cannot answer you right away. Please give me some time, we will reply to you as soon as we have the results of the investigation."
Why do you need to do that, because if you immediately answer "We can't", firstly, with a blunt "No" answer they will be shocked, secondly if they ask you again "Why can't you do it? Can you explain right at that time why it's not possible? Can you give a basis for what you say?”
Therefore, based on the investigation results, it will help them understand your "impossible".
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