German US Communication Differences

German US Communication Differences



Improve Business Interactions: Comparison of German /US

Improve Business Interactions: Comparison of German /US
Communication Styles



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German US Communication Differences German US Communication Differences Presentation Transcript

  • If you use these materials, please credit ITAP. 1 Catherine Mercer Bing If you use these materials, please credit ITAP. CEO,  ITAP International, Inc. ITAP International IncITAP International, Inc. 353 Nassau Street, First Floor Princeton, NJ 08540 USA (W) 1.215.860.5640 (M) 1.609.937.1557 …thank you… 1 ©2013 ITAP International, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
  • l 2 Communication Styles GERMAN US AMERICANGERMAN • Opinions tend to be expressed  directly and in specific terms,  f f US AMERICAN • Opinions are expected and are  presented even when missing  ffocusing on facts • Linguistic eloquence is seen as  “admirable” supporting facts • “Short‐hand” talking is typical • Conflicts tend to be confronted,  not avoided • Conflicts tend to be considered a  personal threat and create a  defensive reaction • Compliments and praise are given  sparingly SOURCE: TWIST Consulting/ITAP Germany • Compliments are sought and  desired ©2013 ITAP International, Inc.  All Rights Reserved. SOURCE: TWIST Consulting/ITAP Germany
  • l 3 Communication Styles GERMAN US AMERICANGERMAN • Direct comments stating facts,  offering criticism are being  i ll ibl US AMERICAN • Direct comments are considered  demanding and  h ll i / i isocially responsible • Reasoning style:  analytical/deductive challenging/micro‐managing • Reasoning style: more  opinionated • Conversation topics: weather,  current events, travel, politics,  sports • Conversation topics: weather,  sports, TV, current events, travel,  “small talk”  • Taboo topics: personal questions  too soon • Taboo topics: religion, politics,  money SOURCE: TWIST Consulting/ITAP Germany ©2013 ITAP International, Inc.  All Rights Reserved. SOURCE: TWIST Consulting/ITAP Germany
  • l 4 Communication Styles GERMAN US AMERICANGERMAN • Asking critical and incisive  questions is part of creating a  b i US AMERICAN • Asking critical questions is part of  showing how smart you are better society • Priority is given to getting to the  truth of a matter (not saving face) • Priority is given to getting your  point across and competing to  i • Critical questions are a sign of  interest in a topic not rejection of  th k win • Critical questions are considered  criticism and taken personally  (d f i lik l )the speaker SOURCE: TWIST Consulting/ITAP Germany (defensive response likely) SOURCE: TWIST Consulting/ITAP Germany ©2013 ITAP International, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
  • 5 What Causes Misunderstandings? Directness of Germans… • honesty highly valued • used when stating facts, offering criticism, issuing direct  commandscommands • related to desire for clarity and dislike of ambiguity • honesty and clarity gains one respect and credibility German verbal habits reinforcing directness: • use of “upgraders”: definitely, absolutely, totally • se of nq alified es or no statements• use of unqualified yes or no statements • direct contradictions • frequent use of “have to” (müssen) and should (sollen)q ( ) ( ) • use of direct imperatives SOURCE: TWIST Consulting/ITAP Germany ©2013 ITAP International, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
  • C t ti P bl l i St l 6 German US American Contrasting  Problem‐solving Styles German • The perfect solution is sought US American • A fast appropriate solution is  sought (Just do it!) • Negative issues are examined in  great detail • Mistakes are seen as negative sought (Just do it!) • Negative issues are reluctantly  brought into the open • Mistakes are seen as growthMistakes are seen as negative • Regulations determine what you  are permitted to do Mistakes are seen as growth  opportunities • Regulations determine what you  are not permitted to dop SOURCE:  Moosmueller, Alois, Kulturen in Interaktion: Deutsche und US‐Amerikanische  Firmenendsandte in Japan, Waxmann Verlag, Münster, 1997Firmenendsandte in Japan, Waxmann Verlag, Münster, 1997 ©2013 ITAP International, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
  • 7 Projects: Different Viewpoints Germans tend to Americans tend to think Americans tend to Germans tend to thinktend to… tend to think… tend to… tend to think… Project idea … collect information “Why are they doing this?” …chat informally about an idea “Why aren't they doing anything?” Project Meetings … get down to b i “They are cold and f i dl ” …begin with small talk “They are wasting i ”business unfriendly” time.” … present detailed plans “How can they discuss details at this stage?” … begin with brainstorming “They are not prepared for the meeting.” express criticism “They don't like each be enthusiastic about “They are not…express criticism openly They don't like each other/me” …be enthusiastic about all ideas They are not sincere.” Project Process … work individually on the task assigned to them b li l l “They don't communicate or work as a team” …hold frequent meetings; change tasks as i t “There are too many meetings; we can't get our work done.” … believe clearly defined milestones guarantee success circumstances change … believe continuous contact guarantees success SOURCE: TWIST Consulting/ITAP Germany ©2013 ITAP International, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.