Warning: Manipulator!

Germans are very wary of any form of emotional manipulation. It is considered indecent and unprofessional to appeal to emotions. If at all, emotions are spoken to in a subtle, rational way. Playing on emotions is not persuasive. Germans very quickly become suspicious.

In the media, politicians, business leaders and journalists alike criticize each other for using populism – appealing to emotions and deeper fears – in order to influence public opinion. Sweeping statements, crude generalizations and blanket placing of blame are considered to be insulting, counterproductive and inappropriate.

Speakers who try to get their message across via emotions such as sadness, anger or happiness are not taken seriously by the majority of German listeners. Speaking to the emotions of the masses is viewed very negatively. The German media warns time and again about its dangers.

Leaders in politics and business take a cool, rational, objective, almost clinical, approach to persuasion. When German banks and financial institutions are criticized harshly for suspected manipulation and greed they defend themselves by claiming that their critics are populists and that the problems are far too complex to be generalized.