As part of my job, I meet with and consult with foreigners almost every day. I think many of them talk about their Japanese language skills, or in other words, their “The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)  level”. Of course, a minimum level of Japanese is necessary to work in Japan, but the truth is that Japanese companies want to know more about your abilities and want you to show them that you are different than that. This is exactly what they want to see in your communication skills.

Remote working is becoming more and more popular in every industry around the world, and is changing the way organizations are organized and how people work. In the midst of this rapid change, many people in Japan must have realized the importance and difficulty of communication, and even I, as a Japanese person, often wonder if my own communication skills are up to the task when I use Zoom to communicate with customers and company staff.

According to a 2018 survey on new graduate hiring by the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren), communication skills have been the most important factor in the selection process for 16 consecutive years when hiring new graduates by Japanese companies, so what kind of communication skills are companies looking for to that extent?

I believe that it is about “moving the other person’s heart”. The person with whom you communicate is not an object, but a person. People use their emotions to think and act on things. For example, if you were asked out of the blue by someone you’ve never met to lend your phone to

(A) “Hello.Can I ask you for a favor, can I borrow your phone for the next five minutes?  I’ve lost my phone.

(B) “I’m sorry to be so abrupt, but may I have a moment of your time now? I will pay for the call and I would like to borrow your phone for 5 minutes. I am embarrassed to say that I have lost my phone and I would like to contact my family now. But if it’s too difficult, I’ll give up.

How about it? Wouldn’t it move you more if you said things like (B)?

How to do “moving the other person’s heart”?

●Be creative in the way you talk to them and ask questions.

●Be conscious of building trust on a regular basis.

●Accept that the other person is different from you and affirm that person

If you are aware of these things and try to communicate with people, your ability to do so will improve and you will be able to have a smoother relationship with people in Japanese society at work and in your life.

Japanese companies and society expect more from your communication skills than your Japanese language level. It’s a good idea to study Japanese and think about your relationship with Japanese people while being aware of how to build a relationship with them in order to touch their hearts.

What kind of people move you?