I had the opportunity to give a talk/run workshop for female executives of non-Japanese group and Japanese group two days in a row last week.   It is rather interesting to see the similarities and differences.  Both groups are competent group of business executives/experts in some areas,  The difference is the questions/comments I receive during and after the session.

I receive few comments/questions from  a group of Japanese female executives during and after the session, while I receive many comments/questions during the session and also quickly after the session from non-Japanese group.

Not only the amount of comments and questions, but also the speed at which they come is somewhat different, I find.  For Japanese, it requires a bit of time for somebody to ask questions(once somebody starts, others follow)  , and thus I have to wait and allow enough time for Q & A.(For last week’s session, I did NOT allocate enough time to wait, which was my mistake!)  For non-Japanese group, sometimes I cannot even finish my talk as they ask so many questions/comments.   So I have to be much more flexible and be ready not to finish my prepared materials (In fact, I do NOT mind at all,as the objective of the session,  as I understand it, is to share ideas. )

It is an over-generalization and  some Japanese groups are very lively, quick to ask questions, and some non-Japanese groups may not be that active.  But I find these differences often enough to propose that both are better off with  mixed groups.