This is the third blog post in an intercultural blog series. The posts in this series provide a “crash course” into communicating with nationals from other countries. Best practices, cultural differences, and interesting facts will be provided. Gain cultural insight to China and India too!
- Germans tend to get directly to the point and expect specific instructions and details. All correspondence should be well-planned and prepared.
- Do not bring up immigration or World War II in conversation. Germans hold strong personal opinions about these topics. Wait until you form a more personal relationship before beginning detailed dialogue. Try asking for recommendations for weekend activities instead.
- Germans appear very reserved in public. Emotional displays such as anger or affection are not common in public.
- Flowers are an acceptable gift, but don’t give chrysanthemums, red roses, carnations, lilies, or orchids. Be sure to give an even number of flowers.
- Adherence to rules is expected in Germany. Wait patiently in queues and only cross streets when traffic is stopped.
- The German culture is task-oriented. The successful completion of the project is more important than the relationships formed among those involved.
- Germany is one of the most monochronic cultures in the world. This means that everything is expected to run exactly on time. Anticipate accordingly and plan enough time to arrive early for meetings and social engagements.
- Office doors are usually closed in the interest of privacy. Knock before entering and close the door behind you.
- In conversation, take special care not to interrupt anyone. Listen fully to what someone is saying, as Germans generally say exactly what is necessary.
- German people will be quite warm, sincere, and friendly with people they have grown to know and trust. These relationships take a long time to build. Try doing something fun with coworkers to help build new relationships!
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