Cityscape Businessman Thinking Leadership Concepts

December 1, 2022

John Foster

6 things to do before your international business meeting in Germany

You might be a little nervous about an upcoming international meeting, especially if it’s called in Germany. You’re probably going to meet some perfectionists there.

Germans are known for high standards of professionalism and business etiquette. That’s why, besides preparing yourself on the technical front, you should pay attention to grooming and personal skills.

Here are a few things to consider as you gear up for the important day!

1. Prepare for the Meeting

Plan and prepare a few weeks in advance. Gather the necessary documents for travel, papers for the meeting and a bunch of your business cards.

If you’re traveling to Germany for the first time, try to reach the destination at least a day before the meeting, so that you’re comfortably settled. If you’re familiar with the environment, you’ll be more confident in the negotiations.

Confirm the meeting date, time and location with the host so that you’re not left unaware of any changes.

Inform the host if you’re bringing along any colleagues.

2. Make Arrangements to reach the Venue On Time

Germans are very particular about punctuality. Arriving late for a meeting can leave a poor impression on your business associates or clients.

Plan your schedule for the meeting day to avoid any rush. It’s better if your meeting is scheduled first in the morning. There’ll be fewer chances of delay because of some other engagements.

You should also plan for the route and book a reliable transport to take you to the location on time. Arriving 15 minutes before the scheduled time is considered polite.

3. Formal Attire

Business meetings are almost always treated as formal occasions. You may be meeting at a restaurant for a business lunch, but still, you’ll be expected to present yourself formally.

Dress in business attire or smart casual, preferably dark colors. Some corporations in Germany, especially in the IT sector, are comfortable with a more relaxed dress code.

But if you’re not sure, keep the dress strictly formal.

4. Learn about Local Business Culture

Just like social norms, the business culture of every country has specific nuances. If you’re meeting international clients or associates, you should be aware of the basic etiquette and respect their business culture.

A few things to remember when meeting Germans are:

• Make all formal business requests in writing, preferably over email or a written letter. Avoid calling or texting.

• Correspondence should be German unless otherwise indicated by your associate.

• Germans prefer more than one meeting for concluding business terms. Your first meeting might be for introductions.

• Verbal promises are treated just as written agreements. So don’t make any statements you may be unable to honor in the future.

• Your business presentation should be well-researched and accurate. Errors will reflect poorly and may displease your associates.

• Authority and official hierarchy are taken very seriously.

5. Practice the German Language

You may already be aware that Deutsch is the official language of most businesses in Germany. You’re expected to know the beginner-level German language, at least, if you’re aiming for a long-term business association.

You should be able to address people formally in the German language and also be able to use popular phrases with confidence. Practice your pronunciation until you’re perfect. Wrong pronunciation may lead you to awkward situations.

Learning German from professional trainers can be immensely helpful. Find a good language learning center in your city that can help you become fluent quickly. For instance, there are affordable German Classes in Los Angeles where you can learn German in a group or through private classes.

6. Showing Courtesy

Germans appreciate small favors and gifts as a token of appreciation. So, taking a small keepsake for your host or business associates is a good idea.

Be thoughtful when selecting the gift. Don’t go overboard, though. Your offering shouldn’t be so extravagant that the recipient would want to turn it down.

The Final Word

Getting to know a new business associate and that too in a foreign country can seem intimidating at first.

The language barrier may also make negotiations more difficult.

Familiarize yourself with the language, culture, and business environment to overcome such challenges. In a few meetings, you’ll have a better understanding of the expectations of your business associate.