Oshigoto rules: Exchanging business cards
What are the must-have items for a business person?
When you are meeting your business partners for the first time, a neat and smart self-introduction is one of the most important factors that could lead you to success in a business partnership. A proper self-introduction includes the words and body language you use, the sincerity in you, as well as providing a summary of yourself. A business card helps you with summarizing your self-introduction and shaping it into a physical first impression that your prospective partner can refer back to in the future. However, as a business card is something that is so customized and personalized that you will not be able to purchase in any convenient store in case you forgot to bring one, it is definitely an item that you need to carry wherever you go.
A Japanese Business Card, or meishi (名刺), typically features the company’s name in the largest print, followed by the job title, name and contact information of the individual. This information is mostly presented in Japanese and sometimes in both English and Japanese.
Steps of exchanging business cards:
- When presenting a business card to the other, the card should face up and to the person who is receiving the card so that it would be easier to read. A business card should not be presented over any obstacles such as tables or desks.
- Introduce yourself by saying out your name, position/rank and the company that you are from. At the same time, bring the business card up to the receiver with your right hand.
- Upon receiving a business card, look at the card and note the information on it. Take the card by holding on to the blank space on the card (usually the bottom corners) and make sure no words on the card is covered by your fingers. Reply with “お名刺頂戴致します (o meishi choudai itashimasu)” , which means “Thank you for the card, I will now keep it”.
- Repeat aloud the name of the person who just presented you the card to confirm and end the sentence with ” よろしくお願いいたします (yoroshiku onegai itashimasu)“, which means “It is my pleasure to work with you”. Don’t forget to do the right ojigi here!
A received business card is usually kept in a smart case that is separated from your own business cards in order to avoid confusion. A case with partition can be used to keep both your own cards as well as received cards. Note that it is considered as rude if you write on a received card or just place it in your pocket.
The Japanese way of presenting a business card to another person is more ritualistic than any other places. Showing respects to a business card is as equally important as showing respects to a person. Therefore, it’s necessary to ensure that you present and receive a business card in the right manner.
Learn Japanese words!
名刺 (meishi) – business card
交換 (koukan) – exchange
確認 (kakunin) – confirm
必携品 (hikkeihin) – must-have item
パーテーション (paateeshon) – partition