Business communications with German speakers can be complex, but learning about the different cultures and how they communicate in the workplace can make it easier. In our new Talaera Talks episode, we explore tips for communicating with Germans in a business context.
While many Germans are not averse to engaging in idle small talk, they generally prefer to get straight to the point when discussing business magnets. They are also direct in their communication, and will not hesitate to address potentially negative or problematic issues that could be interpreted as rude by some American counterparts.
As a result, it’s important to understand that decision-making may take a little longer than you might be used to with other cultures. While this is not necessarily a sign that things are going poorly, it’s important to keep this in mind when working with German colleagues.
Punctuality is highly valued in German culture, and it’s common courtesy to show respect for the other person’s time by arriving at meetings on schedule. If you are running late, it’s best to call ahead and let the other party know.
Another thing to be aware of is that German, like other languages, uses gender-specific words. This means that you will likely be addressing people with “Mr.” or “Mrs.” until you’ve gotten to know them on a first-name basis. The language is also highly regulated with regard to naming conventions. This has led to a debate among courts, dictionaries, and other institutions regarding the use of ungendered forms, but it’s still common for most business-related documents and emails to use masculine names.