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I've got my first round of meetings in Germany soon. I'm looking for business partners there and will be telling them about my company. What do I need to know about meetings in Germany so I don't mess up without knowing it?
Great question and definitely something to think about before you go. Here are some things you should know before you start your meetings in Germany. Punctuality really matters in Germany - arrive early for your meetings to be sure you are on time. German meetings tend to be more formal and structured than meetings in the US, so be prepared for having an agenda that will be adhered to. It's less likely than in the US and the UK that you will wander off topic or take some time before getting started.
One of the best things you can do to increase your chances for success is to come prepared with data to support your position. Germans rely on facts and figures, not on emotional appeals. If you don't have real, verifiable data in support of your company and the quality of your product or service, you probably aren't ready. Show how good your company is on its own rather than saying how bad the competition is, and keep calm during your presentation - Americans can get pretty excited and that passion won't necessarily help your case in Germany.
Germans are formal people. Dress for success, bring people who are at the same level as those you'll be meeting, and don't move to a first-name basis until you are invited to. Pay attention to titles and use them when addressing people.
And finally, follow through on any commitments you make. The Germans will be doing the same and will expect you to, as well.