Brain food: A passport to Germany

Brain food: A passport to Germany - The prejudice: when it comes to perceptions, the Germans and English are like chalk and cheese. We see them as stiff and rule-bound, they view us as inconsistent and eccentric.

by Dr FRANK BURDETT, language and culture for business
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

The prejudice: when it comes to perceptions, the Germans and English are like chalk and cheese. We see them as stiff and rule-bound, they view us as inconsistent and eccentric.

Best foot forward: if you want to make a good impression, arrive on time, immaculately dressed. Shake hands firmly and always address people by their full title.

Dress code: strictly formal, though sports jackets are acceptable. Never remove your jacket, or loosen your tie during a meeting.

The main event: humour is frowned upon in German business meetings, they are for decision-taking, so stick to the agenda and avoid witty quips and social chitchat.

Table manners: show an interest in the restaurants you are taken to, because they will have been chosen for a particular reason. Swot up on your wines beforehand, the Germans will know a lot about theirs.

Do say: Germans take their leisure time seriously, so hobbies and clubs are a safe topic of conversation on social occasions.

Do not say: steer clear of taxation, pensions and benefits, as they are all sore subjects at the moment.

Signs of success: as communication is very direct in Germany, you will soon know whether your business proposal has been well received. Body language is also key and if your German colleagues are fidgeting they have clearly lost interest in the deal.

Viel Gluck!

programme.www.lcb.org.uk

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