It is worth paying attention to the following points at business meetings in Germany:
- The Germans are very particular about punctuality and are always on time for meetings. Try to arrive for a meeting exactly at the time determined.
- A brief handshake on first meeting is an accepted custom at the start and end of a meeting. If you have to leave a meeting in the middle, leave with a handshake.
- Germans dress very conservatively. Men will wear a black suit, a tie and a white shirt or a navy blue blazer and gray flannels. Women will wear a dark suit and a white shirt.
- This form of dress is observed even in comparatively warm weather. Do not remove your jacket or tie before your German colleague does so.
- Women are recommended to refrain from wearing perfumes, lipstick or ostentatious jewelry.
- It is not customary to use first names. Instead use the family name preceded by the word Herr (Mr.) for a man and Frau for woman married or single.
- If your German colleague has an academic degree such as 'Doktor' he should be addressed for example as 'Herr Doktor Herzog' for a man or 'Frau Doktor Herzog'.
- Most business people have a very good command of English. Nevertheless, it is recommended to make first contacts in writing in German. Providing your German is good enough.
- Acceptable gifts at business meetings are items of office equipment, good quality pens with your company's logo or non-German liquor.
- In any case, avoid bringing German wine which would be understood as a comment on the poor quality of your host's drinks.
- When invited to a home, good quality chocolate, a scarf for your hostess or flowers are very acceptable.
- Germans are not bothered about 13 flowers, you can bring as many flowers as you like.
- Try to avoid business meetings in the months of July and August or around the times of national holidays.
Note: The information in this site is for general guidance only. Users of this site are advised to take professional advice before taking practical tax decisions.
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