Business etiquette in Germany

It’s a well-known fact that Germany is a country with high standard of living. If you’re in touch with a partner from this country, requirements to the meeting are equally high. However, all you need is to remember and stick to the following rules.

  • Looking sharp

All people have heard the notorious notion of punctuality, though not everyone knows its real meaning. A person is “punctual” for a German if he comes to the meeting at least 10 minutes earlier. If you’re bound to be late, you should provide a really credible explanation.

  • Naming a person

Addressing someone using his name and patronymic name isn’t popular in Germany. Instead, you should use the word “Herr”/ “Frau” accompanied by a certain person’s surname.

  • Greetings

It’s the custom to shake hands here rather than saying “Guten Tag” to the person. The explanation is simple: everyone is equal. Just bear in mind not to offer your hand to the person in case you’re inferior to him.

  • Undesirable topics

Germans are keen on protecting their personal space. While starting a conversation, make sure not to mention salary or private life!

  • Dressing style

Having received an invitation to a business meeting from a German-speaking individual, you needn’t scratch your head over your dress code. It’s classical. Only, if you’re a woman, don’t put on too much make-up.

  • Making an impression

Germans are a very foreright nation. So, making senseless talks isn’t their cup of tea.

  • Starting with a plan

Working out long-term plans should be your motto.

  • An important supper

Your partner can invite you to a restaurant. In this case, consult a phrasebook to ensure, for instance, that you won’t forget to pronounce “Prost’’ while offering a toast. You wouldn’t want destroy your first impression, right?

  • Remember the most obvious mistake

It seems apparent but the topic of the Second World War is out of the question!

  • To give or not to give: that is the question

It’s not the custom to give and receive presents in German society. But a souvenir (a matryoshka) or an office accessory (a quaint pen) will do. But this isn’t relevant to government-owned institution officers: they can understand this attempt to please them as bribery!

Let’s hope you’ll strike a profitable deal with your German partner while armed with the above-mentioned advises!

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