Germany: business culture

Between opening to the international and local culture discover how to manage your business relations

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Germany is the leading destination for business travel in Europe, according to the IPK International Institute. This trend is attributable to its economic dynamism, whether in terms of SMB density in the territory, its contribution in innovative sectors, or its highly attractive trade fair and exhibition offering.
The country therefore promises positive business prospects, with an international dimension which do not necessarily impact local cultural specificities.
Find below the business etiquette necessary for achieving successful business relationships.

Direct, straightforward communication

The Germans appreciate direct, straightforward communication.
It is therefore relatively easy to specify your business objectives and requirements during the initial meeting. Also be aware that communication primarily takes a non-verbal form, whether it be attitude, tone of voice or facial expressions.
According to certain experiments conducted by linguists, words account for only 7% of the overall message. Being aware of your bodily movements can therefore prove to be advantageous. As for physical position, maintain an appropriate distance from your counterpart and do not avoid eye contact. Also adopt an assertive, measured tone; this will indicate determination.

Interpersonal skills are essential

The Germans appreciate a highly professional attitude on the part of their counterparts. Be serious and business-minded. Save your jokes for when you have got to know your counterparts better. The objective is to demonstrate your reliability and expertise.
Always be courteous: listen to the person who is speaking, do not interrupt them and respond in an accurate, detailed manner. It’s all about attitude: be diplomatic when attempting to converge ideas. 

Structure and precision in meetings

Arriving at a meeting on time is a prerequisite for constructive exchanges; punctuality is a must. Similarly, Germans are accustomed to rigorously following meeting schedules and allocate an allotted time for each point to be addressed.
If you run over the allotted time, you will be suspected of inadequately preparing your pitch. You must therefore follow the agenda, even if this may feel a little unnatural, and save additional matters (if these are particularly urgent) for a convenient moment at the close of the meeting, or for another time. 

A highly international environment despite regional differences

Taking this business etiquette into account, Germany is a country which is accustomed to international exchanges between foreign residents, business travellers and even a high number of tourists. This situation is the same irrespective of the Land. In Germany the Länder have distinct cultural differences; each region having its area of specialisation.

Finally, if you attempt to speak German your efforts will be much appreciated, but English is most commonly used during business exchanges. 

published_by Julie on 08/12/2017 photo_creditCecilie_Arcurs

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