In Germany business meetings follow a formal procedure and are taken very seriously, which often will result in very detailed discussions. Therefore, it is important to provide reliable facts and examples with your proposals.
When scheduling a meeting with your German colleagues, there are a number of things you should deal with beforehand in order to ensure the most beneficial results from your negotiations. You should remember to follow procedures during the entire process.
- If you schedule an appointment in written form, make it in German
- Although the negotiations may be time consuming, once the decision is done, everything will follow smoothly and meet the expected deadlines
- Avoid scheduling a meeting in July and August as well as during national holidays
- Remember that the meeting will be held in the German language
- Punctuality is taken very seriously.
- If you experience a delay, call immediately, and provide an valid reason for said delay, because it is considered very rude to at the last minute
2 Negotiation process
- You will be given a firm handshake and introduced in a formal fashion
- Meetings are formal and reserved
- Your speech should be direct, comprehensive and a matter-of-fact approach is highly appreciated
- The decision-making process is slow and detailed. Every aspect of your proposal will be pondered over by many executives.
- You must be patient, because Germans are detail-oriented and willing to understand all nuances of a proposal before coming to an agreement
- Get ready to answer detailed questions
- Final decisions are turned into accurate and comprehensive actions, that will be delivered to you in the form of a formal letter
3 Following a meeting
- Your action plans should be listed clearly and specifically in written form
- Plans and schedules are followed rigorously
- If the decision is made, it will not be changed
As we know, German business people are very formal, and socializing with them after meetings is something that will not occur until firm working relationships have been established. A degree of formality will continue to exist in the business relationship, and you should make an effort to build an understanding of the German language and culture since in the end this will improve relationships significantly.
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