Did you get my email?

Question “Email is our main form of communication. Between us in the United States and our colleagues in Germany. And for the most part it works. However, it is very common for our German colleagues to not acknowledge that they have received an email from us. We don’t understand this. … Read more

German angels. What?

Question “I like my German colleagues. They are intelligent, focused, hard-working. But sometimes they can really get in your face. I experience, and observe, that they give other colleagues advice, whether it was asked for or not. I find this rather annoying, at times even arrogant. Why do they do … Read more

Who is more open

Question “Which of the two national cultures is more willing to address cultural differences?” UC This is a very sensitive question. Why? First: Often we don’t address cultural differences because we aren’t aware of them. We don’t see them. No one has pointed them out to us. We simply assumed … Read more

Criticism of America

Question “On what level is it socially accepted to voice concerns or criticism of America?“ UC „Within the family“ criticism of America and/or of Americans, understood as internal debate about what America is and should become, is as old as the country itself. In fact, a democracy as vibrant as … Read more

No sense of humor

Question “Many people say that Germans don’t have a sense of humor. Is that true or is it a stereotype?” UC Although this question appears to have little to do with the complexities of Americans and Germans collaborating, it is a very serious question. Why? Humor is very important Having … Read more

Formal vs. Informal

Question “What are the potential risks in the different levels of formality in behaviour and communication between German and American business people?“ UC Yes, Germans are more formal than Americans. And yes, there are risks involved if the differences are not recognized, understood, and managed well. Here are three risks (certainly … Read more

Best country in the world

Question „Americans believe that they live in the best country in the world. To what degree are Americans self-critical?“ UC Americans identify with their country personally. In a way they believe that if America is good, they are good. If bad, they are bad. If strong, they are strong. If … Read more

Americans are superficial

Question “Oberflächlichkeit – superficiality – is one of the main stereotypes Germans have about Americans. Are Americans aware of it, and where does the stereotype come from?” UC MerriamWebster online defines the term stereotype as: to believe unfairly that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same. American … Read more

Please respond faster

Question “How can we ask our German colleagues to respond more quickly without annoying them?” Answer Explain to your German colleagues what time looks like in the specific situation. Lay out the cause-and-effect relationships, i.e. if late by this much time, then this happens. Prepare, and inform them about, contingency … Read more

When direct is blunt

Question “We Germans are known for being forceful, yet respectful. And we want the same from others. But we know that we are often too direct with Americans. So, when is our German directness too blunt? How do we know what degree of directness is simply too much?” UC Well, … Read more