Communication is words. Spoken. Written. Emails. Telephone. Video calls. Meetings. Reports. Presentations. Here are some key aspects about how Germans communicate:
Germans are direct. They say what they mean. And they mean what they say. Germans do not use euphemisms to soften a message. They believe in using unambiguous language and getting to the point. For Germans direct communication is honest, transparent, efficient. Being direct reduces the risk that people will not understand each other.
Work vs. Person
Germans separate the professional from the personal. Work colleagues can disagree, even argue, about the substance of an issue. This, however, does not have a negative affect on their working relationship.
Critical thinking, stating one‘s opinions in a straightforward manner, debating the strengths and weaknesses of a given point, are in the German culture signs of professionalism. And a sign of respect for the other person.
In the German business context small talk is small, meaning short in duration. The Germans prefer to transition quickly to issues of substance, from small talk to big talk. They see little value in talking about the weather, sports or what they did in their most recent vacation. Germans get personal in non-business settings.
When Germans engage in discussions they seek out topics which lead to lively discussions. Germans are intelligent and well-informed. They enjoy intellectual give and take. And since this means a difference of opinions, Germans purposely choose controversial topics.
And they are critically-minded. Germans look for weak points in an argument, for things that do not work, which are suboptimal or just plain wrong. So the discussion inevitably involves Germans stating their critical opinion about some thing, person or people.
Unsolicited means not requested. Germans give unsolicited advice. Usually it is criticism. However, in most cases the criticism is accurate and helpful. In some cases Germans simply want to show that they know better. Mostly Germans give unsolicited advice because they sincerely want to be helpful. And they are.