Germany is an attractive country for many tourists. It is well developed and fairly international. The country has a strong economy. Many famous cars, such as Audi or Porsche are manufactured there. Many big companies are based there.
So what do need to know when we want to visit Germany? Every country has certain rules and traditions which we need to be aware of before visiting the country. This article stresses some important points about how to behave in Germany.
Punctuality is very important in Germany. When you have an appointment or a meeting, it is important to be on time and not to make other people wait for you. Otherwise they might get easily offended. You can even go a couple of minutes earlier to make sure that you will be on time.
Something you need to know about Germans is that they are quite direct. They will tell you directly if they do not agree with something or not happy about something. This is not very common for many other cultures in the world. It is perfectly fine in Germany to say it directly, for instance if you do not want to accept an invitation or if you are not happy with an agreement.
It is often claimed that Germans do not like small talk. This might be true in most cases, however some people are quite willing to talk, for instance while travelling on the train. At work, the expectations will be different. In that case, you should make sure that you do not spend "too" much time with talking about the weather or what you did during the last weekend.
In Germany you cannot always pay with a card so that you should have enough cash on you. Although it is normal to pay with your card when you are doing shopping, you will not be able to pay in many cases if your item costs less than 5 Euros. The same rule applies to payments in restaurants. Not all of them accept card payment.
In addition, it might be very common in some countries of the world that one person pays for the food and drinks after the dinner in a restaurant. However, the payments are made separately in Germany. Everybody pays for themselves as a rule. While doing the payment it is important to make sure that not even a cent is missing because it is required that you make the full payment.
Furthermore, it is common to introduce yourself on the phone before carrying on with the conversation. For instance you need to start with "Hi, this is Mr. X" and then tell what you wish o tell. The conversations are normally in German but in most cases people can also speak some English if you are not able to communicate in German.
As opposed to UK or US, in German people are addressed with their last names. This might be different around friends or in a casual occasion. In most other cases, the last name is used. When you ask for somebody, you need to say in that case "can I speak to Mr. X or Mrs. X please?".
Eye contact is necessary but body contact should be avoided. When you speak to somebody it is important to have an eye contact. However you should not touch the person. This might not be welcomed and might even be seen as a violation. Germans do care a lot about private boundaries and privacy in general. Therefore personal space is very important. This particularly requires to be not too touchy, loud or even curious about personal issues.
Another aspect is not to be over supportive. It is important to ask before trying to help somebody to make sure that they do actually need help or want to be helped. Otherwise you might offend somebody if the feel like the support was unnecessary.
In addition, people drive on the right in Germany. This is quite confusing for some people, if they are used to driving on the left. In that cases cautious is needed while driving or crossing the road. In addition, there is on most cases a cycle way. This is very useful if you want to cycle but you should make sure not to talk on a cycle way.
When you visit Germany, do also make sure that you not cross the road when it is red. Germans do care a lot about the rules. Everything must be according the rules. The same applies to traffic lights. It also will make a bad impression not to follow and respect the rules of the country.
Im zehnten Abschnitt hat sich ein kleiner Fehler eingeschlichen. Statt "[...] but you should make sure not to talk on a cycle way" sollte es doch sicher heißen "[...] but you should make sure not to walk on a cycle way".
To the "make-eye-contact-thing" I have to endorse that you should make eye contact while speaking to someone, but you should not stare. It's perfectly fine to shortly look somewhere else especially when you're dicussing something in sight (like a map, something on the computer, a car, etc.) you might switch between eye contact and the object discussed.