Welcome to the wonderful and sometimes paradoxical world of Japanese business meetings.
So you started your life as a shakaijin (社会人, working member of society), and you want to tag along to a sales meeting and get your feet wet? Great! Look at you with all your go-get-’em spirit. There are just a couple of things you have to remember before getting started, newbie. Don’t want to be making any egregious faux pas, right?
The first rule of sales meetings is: you do not talk during the meeting. The second rule of the business meeting is: you DO NOT talk during the meeting!
Third rule of sales meetings: if someone meekly mentions “That it is almost time for their next meeting.”, face goes blank, or says that they “have to think about it”, the meeting is over.
Fourth rule: only one guy gets to speak from your group.
Fifth rule: quit with the small talk, fellas.
Sixth rule: meetings mean print outs for everyone. No sharing papers, no iPads, no forgetting your business card back at your desk.
Seventh rule: meetings will go on as long as they have to, but that is usually exactly 55 minutes.
And the eighth and final rule: if this is your first time at a meeting, you better stay quiet.
It really depends on your boss and industry, but your main role in the first few months of working as a new grad is to basically exist and absorb what is going on around you. You will not be actively participating until deemed ready, and not a minute sooner. If you are a chatty person, huge blocks of meetings are probably the same as facing time in the gulag.