Your Compact Guide to Doing Business in Germany:
The Ten blunders you should avoid
- chapter excerpt -
Do you always manage to make the impression that
you want to make? If you are unsure, the following
ten tips will provide you with a short survival
guide to help you avoid making common etiquette
blunders when in Germany:
1. A weak handshake
A weak handshake gives others
the impression that you are insecure and not convinced
of your abilities. For this reason, always shake
hands firmly without squeezing and without holding
on to the other's hand for too long or too short
a time. A firm handshake sends a message of trust,
frankness, sincerity, consideration and honesty.
2. Being too touchy
Everyone has a personal distance
zone that surrounds them, and unexpected intrusions
into this zone are unwelcome. If this zone is not
respected, a person will usually try to get out
of the situation by moving out of reach which can
end up being a very awkward and embarrassing situation
for both people.
Simply placing your hand on someone's
shoulder may be irritating and make you appear
too authoritative. If your business partner is
not a long time friend of yours, then a handshake
is the only situation in which you would make physical
contact with someone.
If you should accidentally
bump into someone or kick them under the table,
then you should immediately excuse yourself, with, "Entschuldingung,
das war nicht meine Absicht." ("Excuse
me, that wasn't my intention").
Do not touch
someone without permission, even if you think that
you could be making a welcoming or friendly gesture.
Others could interpret this as suggestive or aggressive.
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