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Memo

To: Jose Gomez From: Marisa G. Aleman Date: November 21, 2013

Re: Cultural business communication practices of Germany

Communications

Germans are often straightforward and assertive in a business setting, but they dont make too much small talk. They dont appreciate unnecessary levity in important discussions, and they often avoid mentioning intimate details from their private lives. If youd like to break the ice, they will probably like chatting about international travel, sports in Germany (especially football/soccer), business issues, or harmless hobbies such as going to the movies or hiking outdoors. You should avoid potentially controversial topics like religion in Germany and political debates. Allusions to the countrys Nazi past and its role in the World Wars are taboo even in joking. Greet your business partners and German co-workers with a firm handshake, a brief nod, and a polite smile, but respect their need for physical distance and personal space. Germans do not make many sweeping movements, emphatic gestures, or overly enthusiastic displays of emotion; they can get confused or even irritated if you do. Germans are extremely Mono-chronic especially clock-oriented, linear, and presicion. This does not only mean arriving on time for a meeting, greeting everyone politely, and sticking to the agenda. Germans are also hierarchical in their decision-making. Management approves business negotiations, contracts, and joint projects, and it may take your contacts some time to get back to you. Germans are very particular when it comes to hierarchy, theoretical, and astrictive. Titles, references, diplomas, and certificates are taken seriously. A person with academic credentials, good qualifications, and professional skills commands a lot of respect. Logical, convincing reasons for moving forward with your business cooperation are usually preferred to putting on a good show. Projects initially proceed at a slower pace since many Germans tend to be thorough, detail-oriented, averse to risks, and keen on producing good results. The emphasis on punctuality, though, ensures that most schedules and deadlines are kept. Germans are low context as in simple, direct, and concise language with affirmative statements. Bluntness is not automatically rudeness. Germans simply want to get straight to the point, with a directness that

Memo

can make foreigners uncomfortable: Dont expect your German business contacts to be subtle or to refrain from honest criticism, and dont be offended by overly assertive behavior. The latter is a way of emphasizing their position. When a German business partner tells you they will think about an offer, they usually mean exactly what they say. They dont like to be pressured after such an open answer, and you will achieve more if you do give them time. And when business negotiations reach a deadlock, lots of Germans want to come up with a compromise in the interest of both parties. Taking complete advantage of one side would seem fundamentally unfair to them. Germans do not need a personal relationship in order to do business. They will be interested in your academic credentials and the amount of time your company has been in business. Display great deference to people in authority, so it is imperative that they understand your level relative to their own. They have a strict do not have an open-door policy. People often work with their office door closed. Knock and wait to be invited in before entering. German communication is formal. Following the established protocol is critical to building and maintaining business relationships. As a group, Germans are suspicious of hyperbole, promises that sound too good to be true, or displays of emotion.
Communicating through writing

When drafting business communication in German, the letters must reflect the idiosyncrasies of the German business culture. As a country that thrives on formality and subtlety of expression, an in-depth understanding of German business manners can make the difference between merely being understood and actually being favorably received. Perhaps the biggest difference is the formality of address. Executives, supervisors and employees may have known one another for years or even decades, but still insist on addressing each other formally by last name or title. This is also reflected in written communications. German business communication styles demand a formal opening and closure.

Facts and Statistics

Germany is located in Central Europe bordering Austria. The capital of Germany is Berlin. The weather (climate) in Germany is usually cool, cloudy, and wet winters and summers. Two of the most popular religions in Germany are Protestant (34%) and Roman Catholic (34%). The population is estimated 82,424,609. The government is federal republic. The official language of Germany is German (95%). Minority languages include Turkish and Danish. Germans believe in There is a proper time for every activity. When the business day ends, you are expected to leave the office. If you must remain after normal closing, it indicates that you did not plan your day properly.

The dress etiquette of Germans is that Men should wear dark colored, conservative business suits and women should wear either business suits or conservative dresses. No big jewelry or accessories. Overall the business dress attire is understated, formal and conservative.
Why Germany?

I chose Germany because my father used to be in the military and told me so many stories about Germany. He even knows how to speak German a little. I hope to visit Germany one day and also speak the language. Im very interested about the way they do things in their country and culture. They are extremely different than the United States.