In this video, we are going to talk about American workplace greetings. Now America and Japan, we have a lot of similarities; we also have a lot of differences. As you know, Americans are more into big personalities, being more expressive and loud and being an individual. Which contrasts a lot with the stereotypical Japanese company.
Title: American Workplace Greetings | Business Manner
Hi there, my name is Jacqueline and I am here to teach you about some American workplace greetings. Now America and Japan, we have a lot of similarities; we also have a lot of differences. As you know, Americans are more into big personalities, being more expressive and loud and being an individual. Which contrasts a lot with the stereotypical Japanese company.
#1. Shaking Hands
So to give you an idea of what it’s like to meet or interview at an American company. The first thing you go to know is that “You got to Shake Hands.” And when you shake hands, you got to be forceful and, a little bit, almost a little aggressive about it. Don’t give your hand like this, like a soft floppy hand. You know, get in there and shake that hand and, you know, hold on, not too tight, but with a nice firm grip. Something that you know that the other person is holding onto your hand.
This goes for both men and women. Believe it or not, a lot of American employers judge you based on the shake of your hand. If you have a really soft, floppy hand, they don’t think you’re a right fit. Americans like confidence and being expressive. And so when they shake your hand you got to show that through your handshake. So that is very, very important. I’ve noticed that a lot of times that often when I go to shake Japanese people’s hands, especially the women, their hands are like “this” – the softest things I’ve ever felt. So, just keep that in mind. That’s very, very important.
#2. Smile & Show your teeth
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Secondly, Americans love having a big smile. We love showing our teeth, we’re smiling like :D.
And, so, when you’re meeting someone for the first time, like, “Hey, nice to meet you!” Have a big smile and a firm handshake. That’s very, very important.
#3. No “Mr., Mrs. Ms. Miss”
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I know in Japanese culture, a lot of people have like, for example: Jacqueline-san or Jacqueline-chan or Jack-kun and often times, they use the last name. Now if you’re meeting an employer or meeting anybody, no one is going to say, “Please call me Mr. Lee or Miss Lee”. Everyone goes by first names. So as soon as you meet someone, just tell them your first name. Like, “Hey, I’m Jacqueline, nice to meet you!” And that’s that. (※“And that’s that” is mistake)
And then, when that other person will tell you, “Hey, my name is Bob. Nice to meet you.” You call them Bob. Do not call them Mr. Smith or Mr. whatever. We don’t believe in those kinds of formalities: Mr. and Mrs. It’s almost insulting, actually to call them Mr. and Mrs. Because we don’t feel that- we are not our last names, we’re not our families. We are ourselves. Americans feel that we are ourselves. So our first name, Jacqueline, represents who we are. And, in addition, Mr. and Mrs. gives kind of this hierarchal structure, which Americans don’t believe in. We believe that everyone is equal, regardless of age, seniority, whatever.
#4. Business Casual Attire
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When you are meeting someone for the first time (in the workplace). Most Americans tend to dress, almost a bit casually. Business causally. We don’t always wear a white shirt, a black jacket, and black pants. For example, something like this. It’s blue, it’s sleeveless. And very casual clothing. We like to express our individuality, through not only our personality and smile, but also through our clothes. So unless you are working for some government agency where you have to wear a uniform, most of the time, Americans dress, in an office setting in more casual, colorful clothes. Nowadays, not a lot of people, even men, they don’t even wear a lot of ties.
#5. Business Cards
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Lastly, Americans, again, are very, very casual about a lot of things. So one of the things is business cards. When we give business cards, we hand them out very casually. Like, “Oh hey, if you want to call me, take my number.” Often times with one hand, out of their pocket, whatever. And when you receive it, you can just receive it with one hand. “Oh great, thank you.” Don’t receive it the typical Japanese way, where “Oh thank you thank you”. It will make Americans very uncomfortable. Especially, bowing. Most Americans, we have no idea how to respond to that. Myself included. Often times, when I do see people bowing, I’m not sure if I should bow myself. But I do anyways, especially if I’m in Japan. Of course, I would bow to mimic the culture. But in America, nobody bows. That is just not a thing. Don’t be alarmed if an American, instead of getting a business card, just wants to exchange phone numbers with you directly. There is a trend in America to remove the use of business cards. Because we often find that business cards are kind of cumbersome. We don’t want to keep so many business cards in our pockets because we can just find everything online or through our phones. So don’t be shocked if someone says, “Do you want my business card?” And they’re like, “No, let’s just exchange information instead via telephone”.
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There’s not formality. It’s very casual and they might even say, “Hey, let’s just switch information on the phone”. There’s also this really big website called www.LinkedIn.com – which I can go into more detail later, but LinkedIn is basically like a Facebook for all business. Almost everyone who wants a job, or has a job in America has a LinkedIn profile. Now this LinkedIn profile connects you to a bunch of people. So more often than not, people will ask you for your LinkedIn profile rather than your business card. Like I said, there is a growing trend to just get rid of business cards in America because we just don’t like the waste of space. We prefer to do everything electronically. So don’t be alarmed by that.
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So this just a little bit of insight into what it’s like to meet and American company and its workers and employers. It’s a little bit different than it is in Japan because there is a lot less customs and rules, but generally speaking, at the end of the day, the people are the same.