Business Etiquette of Germany

If you are traveling to Germany for business, it is important to have some knowledge of the customs and cultures of the country. Here is a guide to understanding the business culture of Germany.

If you are traveling to Germany for business, it is very important to understand the customs and culture of the country.  It is especially important to understand the business culture of the country in which you are traveling to.  Here is a guide to what to expect of the business culture of Germany. 

Meeting and Greeting

  • Greetings are formal in Germany
  • A quick firm handshake is a common greeting amongst Germans.
  • You should refer to someone by the title and surname unless you are invited to call them by their first name.
  • Wait for your hostess to introudce you to the group.
  • When you enter a room, make sure to shake hands with each individual including children.

Business Atire

Business attire in Germany is very conservative.  When dressing for a business meeting or appointment, men should wear dark suits, solid conservative ties, and white shirts.   Women should wear conservative dark business suits and white blouses. 

Behavior

Whether you are attending a business meeting or social gathering, punctionality is a must.  Therefore, you should be on time for business meetings or appointments; if you are a few minutes late, this will be considered as an insult to the executive. 

Communication

Although German is the official language and approximately 90% of the population speak it, there are different dialects in various regions throughout the country.  Germans enjoy talking over the telephone.  While many business decisions aren’t made over the phone, follow up calls and faxes are to be expected. 

  

Giving Gifts

Giving gifts is always a nice gesture.  You may wondering what gifts are appropriate to give.  Here are a few suggestions.

Office supplies

Good  quality pens

Non German Liquor

If you are invited to someone’s home other appropriate gifts include, good quality chocolate, scarf, and flowers.  

Yellow roses or tea roses as well accepted

When traveling to another country for the first time, experiencing a new culture can be exciting as well as overwhelming. Although we may not fully understand the culture, it is best to have some knowledge of the culture and its customs to ease culture shock and lessen the chances of causing offense.

Sources:

""Germany."  Cyborlink.   (Accessed "April 16, 2011). 

"Germany-Language, Culture, Customs, and Business Etiquette."  Kwintessential. (Accessed June 8, 2011). 

"Business Etiquette."  Maps of World.  (Accessed June 8, 2011). 

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