Avoid buzzwords and touch the human being

When I first went to Japan at the beginning of the 90s, it was for a live TV broadcast by Jon Bon Jovi and an unlikely mix of traditional Japanese musicians playing with artists like Bob Dylan and INXS.

I noticed that in meetings the Japanese spent a great deal of time on the formalities of introduction and small talk, all done with a great deal of respect. And by the time these rituals were complete, the business of the day could get done very quickly because everybody felt comfortable and on the same wavelength – part of what they call “nemawashi”, meaning finding rapport.

Expand Close

I had always been short and to the point in meetings, wanting to achieve the results immediately. So I started to experiment with letting go a bit and enjoying the people and the process.

In fact I went so far that I banned myself from using any business-speak at all and trying to find simplistic and naive views of situations. I learned a great deal, and my experience is that the human and open approach works the best.

As we sit around a table and talk – business or otherwise – we are gifted as human beings as arch-manipulators. Even in truly healthy and loving relationships this happens and everybody has his or her ploys.

So to expose ploys, my own and those of others, brings a truthfulness that creates trust and resolution.

Ahh… the old cupboard ploy.

Inspector Clouseau on finding the other detective hiding in a hotel wardrobe

Most of the successful people I have met have a talent for connecting with others at a very human level. That is not to say that they are necessarily charming or amusing, but that there is a sense of knowing who the person is. When somebody tells me something directly, even though I may not like it, I trust them because I know where I stand.