This month's culture moment is from Gene Detroyer, Visiting Professor Guizhou University Of Finances and Economics and Senior Executive Director of Global Commerce Education, Inc.
Most business people are familiar with how to exchange business cards in Japan; you bow as you hand it out with both hands. The receiver reads it and then hands theirs in the same way. There is no just ‘tossing’ the business card in your pocket. I knew this, but this culture moment came to me much later.
For the last 10 years I have been teaching international students in New York City. One day a Japanese student handed her paper to me in the very same manner - with two hands and a bow. When she did, it suddenly struck me: this exchange was about far more than merely handing in her paper. She was giving me a part of herself; it was a presentation of what she had personally accomplished. And she expected it to be handled with the same respect. I suddenly understood the “why” behind the business card exchange “rules”."