Proper business etiquette in the United States is slightly more relaxed than it is in Germany. The more friendly and informal approach is not only evident in the personal lives of Americans, but in the business world as well. For example, in most situations in the US, you may begin a conversation with someone you have just met using their first names. Sometimes, they will even ask you to refer to them by their nicknames. You may want to use surnames and titles as a courtesy only in more formal circumstances, until you are invited to use first names. When it comes time to exchange business cards, the recipient might put your card in his or her wallet or back pocket. This is not to be taken as a sign of disrespect. In Germany, on the other hand, communication tends to be more formal. Addressing someone by his or her surname is the norm and immediately putting a business card away could be considered disrespectful. Furthermore, Germans display a great deal of deference to authority, so it is important to understand your place. They are also a very direct people, sometimes so direct that they may appear blunt. Despite these differences, a firm handshake with the maintenance of eye contact is the common form of greeting in both the United States and in Germany.
Director of Marketing and Business Development at New World Management Inc.
Daniel is the Director of Marketing and Business Development at NWM and has been supporting European companies with their U.S. market entry and expansion since six years. His focus is Market Research, Partner/Distributor Search and Recruiting.