“Japan is becoming more and more international, and communicating in English is a very big topic right now with the Olympics coming. Sometimes I work with Japanese executives before they go overseas to do a presentation and we’d work on the nonverbal aspects of how to portray a message. As an image consultant, I show them the international ways in English. But I don’t want them to look like a ‘gaijin’ (foreigner) when they speak because I love Japan and they’re Japanese…. So I only help in a way that brings out the best in people while keeping their identity. I tell them to speak up a little bit more because sometimes when you’re speaking in a second language, you get a little nervous and your posture goes a little bit down while your voice becomes softer. I show them how to project their voice, pause, make eye contact, and put out their hand before shaking someone’s hand to show that they’re assertive when saying ‘nice to meet you’. I even wrote a book where I introduce 50 different gestures native English speakers use every day. They don’t really need to use all these gestures when they’re speaking in Japanese or if they feel uncomfortable. But learning them can come in handy when meeting a foreigner.
Steve Jobs was great because he was Steve Jobs, but if you want to copy him then you’re going to look like a robot, unless you have the same type of personality.
“Tony Robbins, Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey—they’re great speakers. And they’re great because they are themselves. They take their strong points out so they always keep that individuality. You do need to incorporate nonverbal elements that are recognized worldwide to be strong when giving a presentation. It’s really individualistic though; enhancing your good parts. If someone is not normally too outspoken or a little bit shy, I’m not going to tell them to go up there and be Tony Robbins or Oprah Winfrey. Just be yourself.”
Beautiful inside out
“I’ve always really been interested in how people…I don’t want to say become beautiful because that sounds like it’s an outer thing when it’s not. It’s from inner as well. I’m trying to help people find who they are and have a better image. This all ties in together with my beauty and nail salon, and when I started doing cosmetics PR. For the ladies, whether you get your nails done, eyebrows, or a facial, it helps when you fix the outer, when you tweak that up a bit. It can give you confidence, but then again it’s not always just the outer. Don’t forget the core elements of who you are and whether you’re doing the right things. Combine that with a little bit of beauty enhancement to achieve inner and outer beauty.
“I guess that’s how my image consulting-slash-English-teaching works. Image, communication and beauty management. Because communication is not just words. You have to go deeper. You have that communication aspect and then the beauty management, which is part of the nonverbal aspect.”
(Janica hails from America and has been going back and forth to Japan since age 11. She is a former TV and radio host on NHK and has written books on nonverbal English communication and Emojis.)