P R E S E N T E D
A R U N K R I S H N A K U M A R V V
German Business Etiquettes
5th largest economy
Berlin is the capital
WW II historical significance
German spoken by 95% of population
Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich
Roman Catholic, Protestants and Muslims
Germany came into being as a confederation of 35
It is a stable economy and stands as a symbol of
modernization and technology.
It is often associated with big players like the
Mercedes Benz, BMW, Volkswagen, Zeiss
cameras, Lufthansa Airlines etc.
Germany is indefenite hub of business activity.
Quality driven business.
Greet male counterparts
with a firm handshake,
accompanied by a slight
nod of the head.
When being introduced
to a woman, wait to see
if she extends her hand.
Do not lengthen the
handshake for a long
Doing Business with Germans
Punctuality is necessity in Germany. Arrive on time for
every appointment, whether for business or social. Being
late, even if it is only by a few minutes, is very insulting to a
In business situations, shake hands at both the beginning
and the end of a meeting.
Business is viewed as being very serious, and Germans do
not appreciate humor in a business context.
In business meetings, age takes precedence over youth. If
you are in a group setting, the eldest person enters first.
Germans do not like surprises. Sudden changes in business
transactions, even if they may improve the outcome, are
The German thought process is extremely thorough, with
each aspect of a project being examined in great detail.
This process is often times very time-intensive. However,
once the planning is over, a project will move very quickly
and deadlines are expected to be honored.
Always carry plenty of business cards along with you,
Germans insist on exchanging business cards.
Treat women as equals.
When introduced, if
wearing a hat, it is
expected to take off and
bow as a sign of respect
should not begin
Prior planning and
requesting for the same
should be done.
Things to be considered
Most Germans will
think it odd if you try to
initiate a conversation
with them beyond just
establishing that the
chairs are available.
Genuine and corporate
profile is expected for
German do business in their official language.
Knowing their language or having a translator is
Germans love to talk on the telephone. While
important business decisions are not made over the
They expect many follow up calls or faxes.
Germans guard their private life, so do not phone a
German executive at home without permission.
Never arrive early or late.
Always try to be on time.
Never arrive more than 15 minutes later than invited
without telephoning to explain you have been
Send a handwritten thank you note the following day
to thank your hostess for her hospitality.
Always address persons by last name.
Remain standing until invited to sit down. You may be
shown to a particular seat.
Do not begin eating until the hostess starts or someone says
'guten appetit' (good appetite).
The host gives the first toast.
An honored guest should return the toast later in the meal.
. The most common toast with beer is 'Prost!' ('good
Left hand - Fork, Right hand - Knife.
Keep both in your hands while eating. Don’t put the knife
or fork down except to drink or pick up bread. The knife
(in your right hand) is also used to help discreetly guide
food onto your fork (in your left hand).
Do not cut up an entire piece of meat at once. Cut off a
bite-size piece and eat it before you cut off another piece.
Sometimes spoons are placed above the plate rather than
on the side.
When finished, lay your knife and fork side by side on
your plate pointing to the center, with the handles on the
lower right rim (five o'clock position).
Finger Foods - Outdoor Grill party
Beverages - Wine, Beer
Napkins – place it next to plate
Hands on the Table – cautious about elbow
Try New Foods – Don't say no
Clean Your Plate
Business dress is understated, formal and
Men should wear dark coloured, conservative
Women should wear either business suits or
Do not wear ostentatious jewellery or accessories.
Do not sit until invited and told
where to sit.
Meetings adhere to strict agendas,
including starting and ending times.
Treat the process with the formality
that it deserves.
Germany is heavily regulated and
Germans prefer to get down to
business and only engage in the
briefest of small talk.
They will be interested in your
Make sure your printed material is
available in both English and
Contracts are strictly followed.
You must be patient and not appear
ruffled by the strict adherence to
Germans are detail- oriented and
want to understand every innuendo
before coming to an agreement.
Business is hierarchical. Decision-
making is held at the top of the
Final decisions are translated into
rigorous, comprehensive action
steps that you can expect will be
carried out to the letter.
Avoid confrontational behaviour or
high- pressure tactics. It can be
Once a decision is made, it will not
Germans do not have an open-door policy. People often work with their
office door closed. Knock and wait to be invited in before entering.
As a group, Germans are suspicious of hyperbole, promises that sound
too good to be true, or displays of emotion.
Appointments are mandatory and should be made 1 to 2 weeks in
Letters should be addressed to the top person in the functional area and
should be in German.
At the end of a meeting, some Germans signal their approval by
rapping their knuckles on the tabletop.
There is a strict protocol to follow when entering a room:
The eldest or highest ranking person enters the room first.
Men enter before women, if their age and status are roughly equivalent.
Maintain direct eye- contact.
Gift Giving Etiquette
If you are invited to a German's house,
bring a gift such as chocolates or flowers.
Yellow roses or tea roses are always well
Do not give red roses as they symbolize
Do not give carnations as they symbolize
Do not give lilies or chrysanthemums as
they are used at funerals.
If you bring wine, it should be imported,
French or Italian.
Gifts are usually opened when received.
Thank You For Your Attention !
Danke Für Ihre Aufmerksamkeit !