| Doing Business Abroad
|By Wayne A. Conaway|
© Copyright 2004, All Rights Reserved
- Always shake hands, firmly but briefly, when introduced to a German
businessman. When introduced to a woman, wait to see if she extends her hand.
Germans accompany their handshake with a slight nod of the head. Including this
nod is a good way for a foreigner to make a positive first impression.
- It is better to be introduced by a third person than to introduce yourself.
It is acceptable to introduce yourself if no one is available.
- It is very important to use professional titles: "Herr" (Mr.) or
"Frau" (Ms./Mrs.) plus title. This goes for anyone with a Ph.D. as
well; i.e., "Herr (or Frau) Doktor Profesor." Germans rarely address
each other by first names.
- Appointments should be made well in advance. Give at least one or two
weeks' notice for an appointment made by phone or telex; allow at least a month
for appointments made by mail. A short preliminary meeting may sometimes be
arranged on a few days' notice.
- Be on time for every appointment, whether business or social.
- Always knock on a closed door and wait to be admitted.
- Germans abhor hype and exaggeration. Be sure you can back up your claims
with lots of data. Case studies and examples are highly regarded.
- Every aspect of the deal you propose will be pored over by many executives.
Do not anticipate being able to speed up this process.