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Published on 06.01.2016
Having worked in Japanese firms for more than 5 years, and local firms in my own country for more than 3 years, I do feel that the culture is really different when it comes to giving name cards.
So, in my country, after giving your business cards to the counter party, usually most of the people in my country would put it inside their pocket or notebooks after looking at it once.
As for the Japanese, they are very much different. After exchanging their business cards, they will first look through on the details written on the name card, and then place the exchanged cards on the right side of the table.
Prior to that, even before exchanging the name cards, one should have the name cards ready, faced up and in the direction of the party whom you are giving to. And this usually comes with a light bow, and while you pass your name card with your right hand, your left hand will need to receive the name card of the counter party.
The reason why such rules are needed is to show politeness to the other party. Take for example, if you place the other party’s name card in your book, and suddenly have a question to ask him, naturally you would want to call him by his surname rather than “Hey”, and also won’t it be rude if you were to start searching for his name card in front of him, hence there is a need to place it on your right hand side for your own convenience to refer to. Well, that is what my Japanese ex-supervisor taught me. I’m sure that are loads of other reasons that I may not know.
So to sum up, here are 3 things that you should not do.
1. Do not place the exchanged business card immediately to your wallet, pocket, notebooks or even card holder.
2. In a meeting where there are more than 3 people, always exchanged your name card with the person who has the highest ranking among them, and then down the ranks.
3. When you are doing a self introduction, make sure you are not grinning from ear to ear, as it can be somehow rude to the other party.