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Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos: Communication Guidelines for Germany

Posted on November 19, 2012 by Leave a comment

Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos: Communication Guidelines for Germany

Cultural Clues

Cultural Clues

“Small talk” is not part of the culture in Germany. Conversation focuses on matters of substance and genuine interest. T

here is little use for superficial inquiries or observations.

Refrain from interrupting others. Allow each speaker to make his or her point before responding.

Germans often enjoy discussing politics and you’ll find that they are very frank. Don’t get involved in the political discussion unless you are well-informed.

Giving compliments is not part of German business protocol and usually causes only embarrassment or discomfort.

Refrain from using the standard U.S. conversation opener, “How are you?” which may be considered superficial.

Too much smiling and public gestures of affection are frowned upon, especially in the business culture. These displays are reserved for family and close friends.

Firm, brief handshakes at the time of arrival and departure are standard.

Eye contact during the introduction is serious, direct, and should be maintained as long as the person is addressing you.

In accordance with German business protocol, the eldest or highest ranking person enters the room first.

Keep your hands out of your pockets and avoid chewing gum.

The “O.K.” sign (formed by having the tip of the thumb meet the tip of the forefinger) should be avoided.

Germans tend to be intensely analytical thinkers. Objective facts are the basis for truth in German business culture and feelings are irrelevant, especially in negotiations.

There is a tendency among German businesspeople to be unreceptive to new ideas and concepts until well researched.

In business, Germans do not freely share information among the various levels of the same organization. However, the younger generation is becoming more open.

Flexibility and spontaneity are not prominent traits in German business culture. Concepts such as “brainstorming”, “risk-taking”, or challenging rules and authority are not necessarily considered desirable.

Generally, German businesspeople are reluctant to do something differently unless the reason is not only extremely convincing, but also proven.

It’s important that you bring a carefully planned, logically organized proposal to a meeting.

When you are preparing promotional or presentation material, be aware that German businesspeople are usually unimpressed by glitzy advertising, illustrations, and memorable slogans.

Brochures aimed at the German market should be serious in tone, go into lengthy detail, and make claims that can be proven.

German businesspeople will present logical and often substantial arguments to support their position.

German businesspeople will not make concessions easily. They will, however, look for common ground and this is your best route to making progress when negotiations reach an impasse.

Germans can be very sensitive to criticism themselves, so you should do everything you can to avoid embarrassing them, even unintentionally.

While Germans generally prefer to maintain an air of formality, they can become very emotional if their sense of order and routine becomes challenged.

Germans, generally, are very private people. Never discuss personal matters during business negotiations. It’s important, however, to develop a comradeship with your associates, especially if you’ll have to deal with them for a long time.

Business meetings are treated as serious occasions. Humor and jokes are reserved for socializing.

Decision-making in German business culture is slow, protracted, and every detail relating to your proposal will be painstakingly examined.

Although you’re likely to deal with a variety of people during the initial negotiations, only those at the top of the management hierarchy will make, and even be informed about, the final decision.

Contracts are taken very seriously in German business culture. Everything agreed to in writing is virtually guaranteed.

5 Key Topics or Gestures to Use in Conversation

  • Sports, particularly soccer, cycling, skiing, tennis, and hiking
  • Any topic related to travel
  • Beer is always a good topic of conversation. Germany produces some of the finest beers in the world, and seasoned drinkers enjoy comparing and contrasting the qualities of the various brews available.
  • Food and the distinct German Cuisine, as well as German wines. Many of the white wines, like Riesling from Alsace, are famous worldwide.
  • Architecture, the progressive German cities, scenery, nature, and the picturesque homes in the countryside.

5 Key Topics or Gestures to Avoid in Conversation

  • Anything related to World War II or the Holocaust.
  • Personal questions until the relationship is better established.
  • Work and family life are usually kept separate, so stick to the business at hand.
  • Current events and politics, unless you really know what you’re talking about as it relates on a global basis.
  • Germany is a very proud culture, so avoid criticism of anything pertaining to Germany or the German people.

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for GREECE!

Author: Gayle Cotton, International Keynote Speaker & Cultural Expert 

Order Gayle’s New Book: Say Anything to Anyone, Anywhere!

5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication

Contact Gayle for More Information!

www.gaylecotton.com

www.gaylecotton.com/blog

US: 972-370-1300

Contact EMMY AWARD WINNER, Gayle Cotton,  for your next meeting or conference to help your business become more successful in today’s Global Business Marketplace. Gayle is President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Training & Executive Coaching. She is the author of the BOOK. ‘Say Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communications’. She travels worldwide as a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Gayle’s vast experience living and working abroad will entertain and inspire any audience with her fresh, unique and humorous approach to Cross-Cultural Communications! Having worked with companies of all sizes and industries, including 50 Fortune 500 companies, Gayle has successfully helped them grow their businesses internationally. Success in the global business arena can only be accomplished with awareness of the various distinctions in communication styles, business strategies and approaches to cultural etiquette in different countries.

Visit the Circles Of Excellence Blog for additional Cross-Cultural Articles!

www.circlesofexcellence.com/blog

Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, Keynote Speakers

www.circlesofexcellence.com

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Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos: Communication Guidelines for FRANCE

Posted on October 16, 2012 by 2 Comments

The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z: FRANCE

Cultural Clues

Cultural Clues

It’s strongly recommended that you learn basic French phrases and use them whenever possible. Your efforts will be well appreciated and will be remembered. The French will revert to English if they see you floundering.

Expect to be greeted by a handshake. Kissing on the cheeks may happen between close friends.

Men should stand, or at least initiate a move to do so, whenever a superior makes an entrance.

Good posture and politeness is considered important in the French culture, and business is rather formal.

Despite the formality of French business culture, people tend to stand close when speaking to each other. Moreover, touching in public is also commonplace and usually within the bounds of French business etiquette.

During a first meeting, remain polite and cordial, but keep in mind that the French tend to be suspicious of early friendliness.

Be prepared to answer questions about your own country, background, and possibly even political matters.

Smiling is treated only with indifference here. It not necessarily an indication of approval.

Chewing gum in public is considered vulgar and snapping fingers is also considered offensive.

If you feel the need to point, motion with your whole hand rather than your index finger.

The “O.K.” sign (forming a circle with the thumb and forefinger) actually means “zero” or “useless” in France. The French “O.K.” symbol is the “thumbs up”, so use this symbol to express approval.

You’ll find that conversations with the French often shift into spirited debates!

The French can be very direct in questioning and probing, so a carefully planned, logically organized proposal is very important. Moreover, it is likely that the French will focus on the aspects of your proposal that require further explanation. You may find that the French tend to treat the business discussion as an intellectual exercise.

Logic will dominate arguments with the French. They will be quick to criticize anything illogical stated by the opposition. Give opinions only on subjects that you are knowledgeable about.

Arguments tend to be made from an analytical, critical, perspective that is articulated with eloquence and wit. One’s personal feelings or belief in an ideology may also enter into the presentation.

There is rarely a moment of silence with the French, except when the topic under discussion has been exhausted and nothing new has been introduced.

The French tend to focus on long term objectives, and will try to establish firm personal relationships with the other party before pursuing business partnerships.

Although the French can often be persuaded to change their opinions, they will not accept anything that deviates from the cultural norm. They are, however, receptive to any new information that enhances the spirit of a debate.

The French will judge you on your ability to demonstrate your intellect, and this often involves discussing confrontational ideas and engaging in rigorous debates with them. You will earn their respect if you can handle yourself well in these situations.

The French are very proud, gracious people. Never overtly make them feel wrong or look wrong. Instead, make suggestions about other possibilities.

Discussions are likely to get far more heated and intense than is the custom in North America and many other countries.

In the middle of an argument the focus may change, setting aside the immediate issue. Try not to be frustrated, these digressions are characteristic of French business culture and sometimes influence the final decision.

French business protocol requires constant formality and reserve in negotiations. Trying to convince your French counterparts to “lighten up” is inappropriate.

The French tend to be preoccupied with examining every minute detail before arriving at a decision. Consequently, be prepared for a long wait before you receive an answer.

Power is intrinsic to French business culture. Only the highest individual in authority makes the final decision. Therefore, be aware that the people with whom you are dealing are probably only intermediaries.

The French workplace is highly organized and structured. Generally, bureaucracy and administrative procedures are considered far more important than efficiency or flexibility. Consequently, French business culture tends to be reluctant to embrace change.

5 Key Topics or Gestures to Use in Conversation

  •  The wonderful French food and cuisine
  •  Anything about art, music and philosophy
  •  French history, sports, and other aspects of the culture if you know what you are talking about
  •  All current events of a global nature
  •  Architecture, nature and the beautiful French cities and countryside

5 Key Topics or Gestures to Avoid in Conversation

  •  It is bad manners to ask questions about someone’s political preferences unless they bring up the topic
  •  Refrain the standard conversation opener, “What do you do?”
  •  Don’t criticize Napoleon or any other French leader
  •  Avoid making personal inquiries in conversation, especially during initial introductions
  •  Praise (rather than criticism) of anything French will go a long way.

 

Bon Voyage!

 

Join us in the future for GERMANY!

Author: Gayle Cotton, International Keynote Speaker & Cultural Expert 

Order Gayle’s New Book: Say Anything to Anyone, Anywhere!

5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication

Contact Gayle for More Information!

www.gaylecotton.com

www.gaylecotton.com/blog 

US: 972-370-1300

Contact EMMY AWARD WINNER, Gayle Cotton for your next meeting or conference to help your business become more successful in today’s Global Business Marketplace. Gayle is President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Training & Executive Coaching. She is the author of the BOOK. ‘Say Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communications’. She travels worldwide as a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Gayle’s vast experience living and working abroad will entertain and inspire any audience with her fresh, unique and humorous approach to Cross-Cultural Communications! Having worked with companies of all sizes and industries, including 50 Fortune 500 companies, Gayle has successfully helped them grow their businesses internationally. Success in the global business arena can only be accomplished with awareness of the various distinctions in communication styles, business strategies and approaches to cultural etiquette in different countries.

Visit the Circles Of Excellence Blog for additional Cross-Cultural Articles!

www.circlesofexcellence.com/blog

Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, Keynote Speakers

www.circlesofexcellence.com

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Taking the bulls by the horns at the Cararra Marble Quarry in Italia!

Posted on June 8, 2012 by Leave a comment

The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential hosted a week of special events in celebration of their 25th Anniversary in Europe, so all attendees took advantage of the opportunity to see as much of Italy as
possible. I’m sure I speak for all attendees when I say that we all relished our special time in the Italian sun with as much pasta, wine and Italian fare as we could handle. Viva Italia!

My trip then took me to  England, Switzerland and France for both business and pleasure. Nothing like Spring in Europe! I was actually snowed in in the Alps! Watch for all the pictures on my website soon.

 

Watch for the new Article: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos for EGYPT

My Blog: www.gaylecotton.com/blog

My Website: www.gaylecotton.com

Coming soon this month on the Circles Of Excellence Blog!

Watch for the new Article: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos for MEXICO

Circles Of Excellence Blog: www.circlesofexcellence.com/blog

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I’m off to Pisa Italy to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in Europe!

Posted on May 6, 2012 by Leave a comment

 

The Institute is hosting a week of special events in celebration of their 25th Anniversary in Europe.

 

The celebration will be held at their European location in Fauglia, Pisa, Italy. There will be speakers and Nobel laureates from  around the world  attending. I am thrilled to be invited!

 

Watch for the new Article: Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos for DENMARK
Coming soon this month on the Circles Of Excellence Blog!
Watch for the new Article:Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos for MALAYSIA
Circles Of Excellence Blog: www.circlesofexcellence.com/blog

 

 

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Cultural Clues, Do’s & Taboos: Communication Guidelines for the CZECH REPUBLIC

Posted on April 15, 2012 by Leave a comment

The Latest! CulturalClues, Do’s & Taboos – A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z: The CZECH REPUBLIC

 

When setting business appointments (that are mandatory) in the Czech Republic, always make them well in advance.

Punctuality for meetings is an important aspect of Czech business culture and it is taken extremely seriously. It is generally considered inappropriate to be more than five minutes late.

Do not interrupt or raise the level of your voice during business discussions with Czech business people.

Respect your Czech counterparts’ sense of personal space. Close personal contact with business acquaintances is frowned upon and should be avoided at all times.

Don’t refuse any invitation offered to you, as crucial business decisions are often made outside the business environment. The Czechs value hospitality as a means through which to build both personal and business relationships.

Expect to participate in some form of small talk and introductory conversation before entering into business discussions with Czech business people.

Don’t be surprised if your Czech counterparts ask you about your personal earnings. This is an acceptable line of enquiry to strangers in the Czech Republic.

Czechs are non-confrontational and often take an indirect approach to business dealings. If they lower their eyes and become silent, they are uncomfortable with something you have said.

It will take several meetings for your Czech business associates to become familiar with you and appear comfortable and friendly.

One of the most underlying and inherent eatures of the Czech culture is their polite and humble approach to life.

During business dealings a direct “no” will often be replaced by an expression such as “it is difficult” or “we will see” in order to avoid confrontation and maintain a certain level of politeness.

Business is conducted slowly. You will have to be patient and not appear ruffled by the strict adherence to protocol.

Business is hierarchical. Decision-making power is held at the top of the company. Decisions are reached slowly.

Avoid high-pressure tactics. Czechsgenerally offer what they expect to get and do not often give counter-offers.

Czechs are private people until they get to know you. They are formal and reserved. Once you develop a personal relationship, Czechs open up a bit, but they are never overly emotional.

Leadership and authority is vertical in structure. Czech managers maintain their status and separate themselves from subordinates. As a result of the hierarchical system of Czech business, decision-making power is centralized and is rarely questioned or challenged by those of a lower rank.

5 Key Topics to Use in Conversation

  • Weather, nature and historical beauty
  • Your home country, city and culture
  • Your work experience and humorous anecdotes as they relate to work
  • Hobbies and sports such as golf, tennis and soccer
  • Anything about art, music and culture

5 Key Topics to Avoid in Conversation

  • Extremely serious topics not related to work
  • Global problems, war, the nuclear issue or pollution
  • Money-although they may ask you about it, they don’t talk about their own wealth
  • Politics in general
  • The old communist regime

Bon Voyage!

Join us in the future for DENMARK!

Author: Gayle Cotton, International Keynote Speaker & Cultural Expert

www.gaylecotton.com

www.gaylecotton.com/blog

US: 972-370-1300

Contact EMMY AWARD WINNER, Gayle Cotton for your next meeting or conference to help your business become more successful in today’s Global Business Marketplace. Gayle is President of Circles Of Excellence for Corporate Training & Executive Coaching. She is the author of the ‘5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Business Communications’, available in book or DVD. She travels worldwide as a distinguished Professional Keynote Speaker. Gayle’s vast experience living and working abroad will entertain and inspire any audience with her fresh, unique and humorous approach to Cross-Cultural Communications! Having worked with companies of all sizes and industries, including 50 Fortune 500 companies, Gayle has successfully helped them grow their businesses internationally. Success in the global business arena can only be accomplished with awareness of the various distinctions in communication styles, business strategies and approaches to cultural etiquette in different countries.

Visit the Circles Of Excellence Blog for additional Cross-Cultural Articles!

www.circlesofexcellence.com/blog

Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, Keynote Speakers

www.circlesofexcellence.com

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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