The hell of cross-cultural communication

Americans and Germans do a lot of business together – and often have unnecessary misunderstandings, causing a lot of grief and mistrust. An American consultant who has lived in Germany for 25 years offers some help.

Germans say what they mean. Mean what they say. Don’t beat around the bush. Don’t use euphemisms. Clear, direct, unambiguous. Get to the point. Right away. To Americans, as to many other English-speaking people, the Germans thus appear impatient, obnoxious, at times even insulting.