日本のビジネスマナー「名刺交換」は大切なご挨拶

If you are not fully comfortable with your Japanese language skills, taking phone calls can be one of the most difficult tasks for you at work. Since phone conversations are done solely with spoken language, it is important that you accurately communicate necessary information and understand what the others say. How you answer the phone may determine the impression of the company you work for, so you should prepare yourself to appropriately respond to business calls as a representative of your company.

It is always good to answer the phone as quickly as possible. Keeping the caller waiting for you to get to the phone for a long time is considered unmannerly. As you answer the phone, tell the caller your company's name, department, and then your own name. If the caller tells you his/her name, respond it by saying "itsumo osewa-ni natte orimasu," which is a common business greeting and literally means "thank you for your continued business." Next, ask the caller what he/she is calling for and take notes if necessary. It is convenient to keep a notepad handy. If you don't understand what the caller is saying, kindly ask him/her to repeat what he/she has said with a phrase such as "osoreirimasuga, mo-o ichido onegaishimasu" (excuse me, but can you please repeat what you have just said?). It may be helpful for you to repeat after the caller as he/she speaks of important information. When you are done with the conversation, wait until the caller hangs up first before you put the receiver back. You should never slam down the phone.

When you make a business call to someone, make sure you know who you are calling, including their company's name, department, and the name of the person you are calling. It may be helpful for you to keep his/her business card handy so that you can refer to it when necessary. As your call is answered, state at first your company's name, department, and your name and then who you are looking for. When the person picks up the line, state your name and which company you are from, and say "itsumo osewa-ni natte orimasu" before you start talking about the purpose you are calling for. To make the conversation smooth, it may be helpful to write down in advance what you want to talk about. If you are calling someone on his/her cell phone, it is thoughtful to ask the person if he/she is available to talk, using a phrase such as "ima ohanashi-shitemo yoroshiideshouka?" (is it convenient for you to talk now)? If someone calls you on your cell phone, consider your surroundings. It is not good manners to talk on a cell phone on public transportation such as trains and buses. In addition, remember that it is illegal in Japan to use cell phones while you are driving.

日本のビジネスマナー「電話の受け方・かけ方」

In Japan, every business scene begins with an exchange of meishi, or business cards. When you meet someone for the first time, it is customary to greet while offering and receiving each other's business card. The exchange of name cards symbolizes the starting point of a new business. Your card is considered as "your face" and is invaluable to make a good first impression of yourself to a new business partner. It is unmannerly to forget or run out of your cards, so check regularly that you are carrying plenty of cards with some extras.

There are some tips regarding appropriate manners for exchanging the cards. First, you should never stay seated but instead always stand up before handing your card to someone. Hold the card with both hands in the right direction so that the person receiving your card can read it. It is appropriate to say "yoroshiku onegaishimasu" as you offer a card. If the person you are meeting is older than you or is a business partner from whom you will be getting jobs, you should be the one who introduces yourself to the others and offers a card first. If you are in the opposite situation and are giving jobs to the person or company, let them introduce themselves first. It is ok to ask how to pronounce the name of the person, if you don't know it. A common phrase you may use for such a case is "shitsurei-desuga nan-to oyomi surunodeshoka" (excuse me, but can you please tell me how to pronounce your name?). After exchanging the cards, keep the partner's card on the table so that you can refer to his/her name correctly. Since the name card is considered as an extension of the businessman himself, you should treat the card respectfully, both the partner's as well as yours.

By following these tips, you should be able to give an appealing impression of yourself as a mannered and organized business person. You don't have to be too nervous, but just remember to keep a positive attitude when you introduce yourself to new people. Knowing appropriate manners of exchanging name cards will surely help you make a great start for a new business relationship.

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