I still remember the time when I attended the meeting to discuss the global strategy at the foreign investment bank that I was working at that time.
Preparation by our Japanese team was perfect. We were confident and sure that our proposals would be accepted for the global strategy.
However, once the meeting started, no one listened to the ideas by the Japanese team.
After the meeting, the Japanese managers were complaining about the policies that were decided by members of other countries. “ They do not understand anything. Our proposals are definitely much better.” “They were just talking nonsense.”
No matter how much they complained, the decision that was made does not change.
I then started contemplating why this happened to the Japanese team.
When I thought about it, this case was not unordinary. In the creation of Judo rules, Japanese opinions are not valued in the world although Judo itself is a Japanese sport. In making the rules for the international finance, the opinions by the Japanese banks are rarely taken up.
There must be something that underlies these instances. In order to find the answer to this, I started to observe the behavior by the international people who have global communication skills.
Then I found out that they never think their idea is the correct and absolute one. Rather, they have the common objective to bring the thesis to the next level by discussing the thesis and antithesis.
These people who do not absolutize their ideas talk about their daily life if Americans or about their own story that is related to the topic if British when the discussion becomes deadlocked. By talking about something that appears to be not related, they look for the “trigger words”.
These “trigger words” often become a breakthrough for the discussion and brings out the conclusion in the global stage. This is what the Japanese managers were calling as “nonsense”.
I noticed that there are two issues in the attitude of Japanese in this case. One is that “they believe there is only one answer” and the other is “they lack in the English communication ability”.
In the Japanese education, it seems the classes are being taught in the highly homogeneous class with the assumption that “there is only one answer”. Also, it is questionable if they are doing enough to improve the English communication ability for the students.
“English debate” is the best method to brush on both “discussion rules” and “English communicative skills” that are common in the world.
We would like to help the Japanese youth to leap into the world. We envision this by providing students with the opportunities to debate in English with international youth and by teaching how to give speech in front of the audience with confidence. This is the mission of NFLJ.
NFLJ Executive Director
Our society is built on various ideas and values. People say different things and people wonder what to believe. Even experts have split opinions.
What is important here is not to easily believe in what other people say. You need to contemplate what you hear. This is because there could be opposite ideas or values.
Next, you need to satisfy yourself with what you believe or think despite various ideas around you. In order to do this, you need to really think through things. I believe the conclusion made after this thought process should be respected whether it is right or wrong.
We hope the English debate at NFLJ will provide the opportunity to equip you with this thought process.