Working with people from Germany

Written by Anton Drygin November 2013. Posted in Int. Skills, Working with people

Working with people from Germany

As everyone knows, Germany nowadays is the absolute leader in terms of economy, business and industrial production in Europe. Almost all countries have Germany as the number one importer of all their goods and products. Therefore, everyone who deals with different business industries faces a huge possibility of working with Germans. That is why it is essential to know how to successfully work with partners from Germany.

Obviously, Germany is not the most important country in terms of economics for no reason. People there have a very different mentality. It is a well known that Germans are hard-working, efficient and punctual. These qualities form the basis of the mindset in Germany and in this matter, they can be considered a unique culture. So what are main factors you need to take into consideration when it comes to working with people from Germany?           

First of all, let’s look at the right way to communicate with Germans. In general, their communication style is direct; they tell you everything to your face, even criticism. Do not expect them to be soft-hearted, because they do not count directness and criticism as being impolite. Also, it is very important to avoid any personal emotions and feelings. There is no such thing as personal relationship between business partners. Germans separate their private life from their work. Do not suppose that you can get to know a German person even after the work is done.

We should discuss how to introduce yourself in Germany, as well. You are required to shake hands with your business partners, both when you arrive and when you leave. What is more, you are expected to hand out your business card. No jokes or humour are allowed; keep that for you friends. In Germany words “humour” and “work” are antonyms. Even if you want to cheer them up or to create a friendly atmosphere do not use humour. Always maintain eye-contact while communicating with Germans. If you do not look them in the eyes they will think you are hiding something or that you are not sure about what you are telling them.

When meeting with Germans, be aware of several ground rules. During the meeting you must talk business only, no personal experience or stories. Punctuality is an extremely significant issue in Germany. Whatever happens, do not be late, as there is no excuse. It is better to arrive ten minutes before the meeting. What is more, they will stop the meeting exactly on time. So if you cannot finish you presentation in time, they will not wait but simply leave the room and that is that. Therefore time management is crucial thing, as well. Arrange you time properly in advance. In addition, bear in mind that Germans do not trust your convictions or opinion even if they are true and if you present them really well. People from Germany need facts, precise data and figures to believe something you say. So provide them with accurate and certified information.

Another key thing is formality: never address to your German partner with a first name, even if you have good intentions. That could be a breaking point in your relationship. Consider your partnership with Germans finished if you call them with a first name. Remember that for them business is strictly serious work with only a formal attitude towards it.

In conclusion, even though it seems like Germans are somehow artificial machines for working, they just follow all the rules of efficient business. Once you understand all the rules and learn how to cooperate with them, you will acquire quite good business partners. Yes, you may not be friends or have amicable relationships, but they will compensate for that by working hard with you. After all, you can always have friends outside the workplace.