show episodes
 
Japan's Top Business Interviews is the premier business interview podcast for people who want to know more about business in japan. The guests cover a range of industries and organisation sizes, to present a thorough overview of issues with leading in Japan. If you are a leader, especialy someone leading in Japan, then this is the podcast for you.
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For succeeding in business in Japan you need to know how to lead, sell and persuade. This is what we cover in the show. No matter what the issue you will get hints, information, experience and insights into securing the necessary solutions required. Everything in the show is based on real world perspectives, with a strong emphasis on offering practical steps you can take to succeed.
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show series
 
Normally when we give presentations, they tend to be pretty dry affairs. We marshal the facts, relate what happened, tell stories perhaps but in a one dimensional way. We are relating what happened, but are not making any attempt to bring it alive. However, what do we seek when we are looking for entertainment or education – we are looking for dial…
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For decades I drove myself hard, based on a fundamental fallacy. Fear of a future of living in a cardboard box haunted me. I pushed hard so that cardboard box and I would never become well acquainted. You see homeless people in Japan and other countries living that way and it is a reality for them, that they never chose. It happened to them anyway.…
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“I would be able to sell a lot more except for all the external factors over which I have zero control”. Actually, you have never heard this line of argument before from a salesperson. This is because this statement is an honest appraisal of what they see as the problem, but they don’t express it that way. Instead they bitch about the boss, the mar…
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Knowledge of the specifications, functionality, inner workings are all fine and dandy but not enough anymore. Increasingly technically specialised people are being asked to deal with people other than their normal counterparts. Once upon a time, the engineers spoke with other engineers on the buyer side and that was about it. A nerdy lovefest on th…
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Sometimes you see a confident leader really bomb their presentation. It doesn’t happen all that often, but when it does, the contrast is vast. If they are totally hopeless and they bomb, well that is understandable. But a competent leader shouldn’t bomb their presentation. He did and I was wondering why that happened? It was only at the end, when i…
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Sales is a tough enough job without having additional complications. Clients can be very demanding, often we depend on logistics departments and production divisions, to get the purchase to the buyer. We can’t control the quality, but we have total responsibility, as far as the client is concerned. There is the constant pressure of producing revenu…
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Previously Tony was in the Financial Accounting Group-Advisory and Administration, Nomura Holdings, Head of Real Estate Finance Macquarie Group, Chief Financial Officer Merrill Lynch, Area Financial Controller HSBC, Manager PWC and Auditor KPMG. He has a Bachelor of Economics, Accountancy from the University of Sydney.…
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I have often thought there are so many lessons from the martial arts for our businesses. Here are my musings after 53 years of training in traditional Karate. Stepping on to the floor The dojo is the ultimate equalizer. Whether you arrived by chauffeur driven Roller or took Shanks’s mare, once you step on to that dojo floor only your ability and ch…
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Everyone hates to be rejected, but not many people have this as a fundamental aspect of their work. We ask colleagues for help and they assist, we ask our bosses for advice and they provide it. Buyers though are a different case. They can easily find a million reasons not to buy and unashamedly tell us “no”. The rejection itself is not so much the …
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Salespeople don't set the price of what they sell. This is usually an obscure outcome decided by someone else inside the machine. It might actually be an elaborate process, where multiple variables are carefully calibrated, mathematical formulae are applied and a price is arrived at. Or, it might be a slightly moist index finger boldly thrust skywa…
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When you see someone do a very good presentation, your faith in public speaking humanity is restored. There are so many poor examples of people killing their personal and professional brands with poor public speaking skills, it is refreshing to see talks done well. It is not that hard really, if you know what you are doing and if you rehearse and p…
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The hardest sales job in the world is selling something you don’t believe in yourself. The acid test is would you sell this “whatever” to your grandmother? If the answer is no, then get out of there right now! It is rarely that clear cut though. The more important test is whether what you are selling solves the client’s problem or not. Selling clie…
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We don’t get the chance to do so many public presentations in business, so it becomes a hard skill set to build or maintain. The internal presentations we give at work tend to be very mundane. Often we are just reporting on the numbers and why they aren’t where they are supposed to be or where we to date are with the project. These are normally rat…
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One of our problem areas is what to do with our hands when we speak. Judging by most of the presentations I see in Japan, few speakers have worked this out yet. Here are some common habits we can improve upon to make ourselves much more persuasive and professional. 1. Hands in front of the body. The arms and hands when held in front of the body cre…
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We can speak to a group. Then there is another level, where we try to totally captivate our audience. What makes the difference? The content could even be the same, but in the hands of one person it is dry and delivered in a boring manner. Someone else can take the same basic materials and really bring it to life. We see this with music. The same l…
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Previously Patrick was Operations Director at Innov8; Purchasing and RD Director at Groupe ADF; Operations Director at Uniross; Purchasing Director at Alcatel Mobile Phones and Mechanical Manager at SAGEM. He has a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Arts et Metiers Paris Tech – Ecole National Superieure d’Arts et Metiers and an MBA from …
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Okay, now its time for the show, Soredewa ikimasho, so let's get going. The hush has now swept across the room. All eyes are fixed on the MC, breaths are being held, awaiting the announcement of this year’s winner. Amazingly, it registers that it is your name they are calling to the stage. Emotion wells up. Your team join you for handshaking, shoul…
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We have many images of negotiation thanks to the media. It could be movie scenes of tough negotiators or reports on political negotiations with lunatic led rogue states. Most of these representations however have very little relevance in the real world of business. A lot of the work done on negotiations focuses on “tactics”. This is completely unde…
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If we are presenting a brochure, flyer, price list, hard copy slide deck or any other typical collateral item, then we should adopt best practice for greatest success. Have two copies always, one for you to read and one for the client, unless you are a genius of reading upside down (which by the way seems to include all Japanese!). At the start, pu…
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Sales people are always under pressure to meet their targets. In high pressure situations, this creates certain behaviours that are not in tune with the client’s best interests. We know we should listen carefully to what the client wants, before we attempt to suggest any solution for the buyer’s needs. We know that by asking well designed questions…
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We are all pretty average on recalling events, people’s names, locations, sequences, inanimate objects, etc., but we are geniuses on remembering feelings. We are especially good on how people made us feel and what super memories we have developed in this particular department. Business is deemed to be logical – cool, balanced, unswerving on the roa…
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It is rare to see a presentation completed well, be it inside the organization, to the client or to a larger audience. The energy often quickly drops away, the voice just fades right out and there is no clear signal that this is the end. The audience is unsure whether to applaud or if there is more coming. Everyone is stuck in limbo wondering what …
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Previously Ahbijay was Vice-President of Development for IHG Japan, Australasia and Pacific Region, Director of Development Planning AMEA for Whitbread PLC Singapore, and Director of Development Middle East, Africa and South Asia for the Jumeirah Group. He has a Master’s Degree from Erasmus University’s Rotterdam School Of Management…
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The Master of Ceremony (MC) goes to the microphone to get the programme underway but the audience are simply oblivious, caught up in their own riveting conversations. The situation is much worse at receptions where alcohol is already flowing and the people down the back are generating a roar, a positive din, that drowns out the speakers. Here are s…
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Japan is a big small place. It is about the same size as the UK, but is covered in mountains, the latter making up 70% of the land area. We have very few of those horizon stretching field vistas like they have in England. This mountainous aspect has led to quite strong sub-regional differences here, especially reflected in language, customs and cui…
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Prior to her Japan posting Simone was VP Marketing International Business Unit in Indianapolis, VP and General Manager Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Chief Marketing Officer Japan, Managing Director Austria, International Marketing Leader Cardiology Indianapolis, National Sales Director Germany, Austria and Switzerland, New Product Planning Mana…
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Usually this isn’t even a question for most presenters, because the organisers have already set up the room when you arrive. Our speaking spot has been designated for us. But have we been designated a spot by experts in public speaking or by the venue crew who usually just haul chairs, lug tables around and set up the stage? Sadly the coalescence b…
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In business, we are asked to present as a team. We may be pitching for new business and the presentation requires different specialist areas of expertise. This is quite different to doing something on your own, where you are the star and have full control over what is going on. One of the big mistakes with amateur presenters is they don’t rehearse.…
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David has been with Bain his whole career, starting as an Associate to Partner, becoming a Partner and HR Leader Switzerland, Partner and Healthcare Practice Leader, Senior Partner and Regional EMEA Practice Leader for Transformation and Change, Senior Partner and Global Leader Change and Implementation Practice.…
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To succeed in our own business, we need three critical skills: the ability to master our time, to clone ourselves and to be persuasive. Time: Poor time control leads to inefficiency, wasted efforts, stress and missed opportunities. Entrepreneurs are geniuses at trying to do too much. This means they are run ragged with time demands and no good solu…
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The Question and Answer component of talks are a fixture that we don’t normally analyse for structure possibilities. Having an audience interested enough in your topic to ask questions is a heartening occurrence. When we are planning the talk though, we may just neglect to factor this Q&A element into our planning. We may have considered what some …
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Prior to starting the Swiss Prime Brands company in Japan, Luca was an Assistant Manager at Masuda Infinity Japan, a Junior Associate at Goldwyn Partners Group AG, a Consultant at Het Buitenhuis. Be honest – are you a great leader or are you a mediocre leader? How can you become a leader people actually want to follow? How can you be the leader who…
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There is an old truism in sales, “sales is nothing more than the transfer of the enthusiasm of the seller for the product or service to the buyer”. What are we doing when we are speaking? We are selling! “Hang on a minute there Greg. I am a professional, I am not a car or vacuum cleaner salesman”, you might be saying to yourself. That sort of self-…
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During the “bubble years” of surging economic growth, Japan could not keep up with the supply of workers for the 3K jobs – kitsui, kitanai, kiken or difficult, dirty, dangerous undertakings. The 1985 Plaza Accord released a genie out of the bottle in the form of a very strong yen, which made everything, everywhere seems dirt cheap. Japanese people …
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Eddie’s coaching of Japan to defeat South Africa against their hometown advantage in South Africa, was a breakthrough moment for Japanese rugby, which until that point had never managed to win a game at that level. Eddie started his coaching career at Randwick as an assistant coach in 1994. He coached Tokai University as an assistant coach in 1995-…
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Having a buying need and doing something about it can often be quite disparate ideas. When the buyer is looking at the gap between where they are now and where they want to be and they judge it is pretty close, they don’t feel any urgency or need to buy. They will have certain drivers pushing them along in their role in the business, but this gap p…
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We believe in our product and we are very knowledgeable about the facts, details, specs, etc. We launch straight into our presentation of the details with the buyer. Next, they want to negotiate the price. Do we see the connection here, between our sales approach and the result, the entire catastrophe? The reality is often salespeople are slogging …
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Sadly, not everyone is like us – wonderful, charming, amusing, attractive. Despite our best efforts to be a role model of perfection, setting them a good example, others persist in being a major pain. Here are some selective tips on negotiating with the difficult amongst us. 1. Meet on mutual ground Try to meet, rather than engage in a protracted e…
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Gaining credibility as a speaker is obviously important. We often do this by sharing our own experiences. However, having too much focus on us and away from the interests of the audience is a fine line we must tread carefully. When we get this wrong, a lot of valuable speaking time gets taken up and we face the danger of losing the attention of our…
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The chances of speaking to a 5000 person business audience happening and happening regularly in Japan are remote for most of us. Nevertheless, in case you find yourself in front of a very large audience, here are a few hints on how to adjust to the increased size of the event. Get there early and go and sit in some of the most far-flung locations. …
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Japan seems to be going in opposing directions at the same time, when it comes to the supply of internationalised staff suitable for foreign companies. The statistics show a peak in 2004 of 83,000 Japanese students venturing off-shore. This dropped to a low of 57,500 in 2011 and since that point has climbed back above 60,000. Just to put that in co…
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