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Succeeding in a Japanese Company: 6. Avoiding Meeting Madness

A one hour conversation between Michael McKenna and Rochelle Kopp on avoiding meeting madness in a Japanese company (audio file)

Meetings are one the things that tend to be most frustrating for the non-Japanese employees of Japanese organisations. There are so many of them, and they don't always feel very productive. In this conversation, Michael will address the different assumptions that Japanese and non-Japanese people tend to bring to meetings, and how this can lead to misunderstandings and marathon conversations. How to plan the timing, topics, and approach to meetings to improve efficiency and effectiveness will be discussed.


During Michael's call you will discover...

  • Why Japanese organizations have so many meetings and how to cope
  • Ways you might reduce the number of meetings
  • The surprisingly different expectations that Japanese and many non-Japanese participants tend to have about meetings
  • How does the Japanese sense of formality affect the way meetings are conducted?
  • Suggestions for non-Japanese people to successfully manage this formality difference
  • Why direct disagreement, debate, being challenging or playing devil's advocate can cause you an immediate loss of face, and what to do instead
  • How Japanese decision-making differs greatly from other cultures
  • What is expected of you when a decision needs to be made (it's not what you're accustomed to)
  • How the language barrier affects meetings
  • How to make meeting content more accessible despite the language barrier
  • When and how to successfully use a translator


Your Instructor


Michael McKenna
Michael McKenna

Michael is a veteran consultant to the U.S. operations of Japanese firms on matters concerning human resource management, having worked for Buck Consultants, Towers Perrin, and Marsh USA. Having lived in Japan for over a decade, he is fluent in Japanese, and also served as Manager of Towers Perrin's Tokyo International Consulting Office for several years. At Japan Intercultural Consulting, Michael continues his work in advising Japanese firms on human resource management issues as well as matters of cross-cultural communication.


Class Curriculum


  Avoiding Meeting Madness: a conversation between Michael McKenna and Rochelle Kopp
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