The Statesman Monthly Newsletter/Vol. II ( 2006-04-16 01:53:43 )
Monthly Newsletter/Vol. II
Hidden Differences – Focus Germany
“The essence of communication has more to do with releasing responses than in sending messages. It is more important to know that we are releasing the right responses than sending the right message.”
The different ways in which people of different countries communicate have always led to misunderstandings. The danger of not understanding one another, of not being able to make oneself understood, being too blunt or possibly even insulting the other person are all experiences people have had when trying to express themselves clearly to members of other cultures. There are hidden codes that must be broken in order for the executive to develop the bridge of understanding through which any kind of success can be realized.
In our next two newsletters we shall begin our journey in developing the keys to unlocking these hidden codes and it is our goal to equip you with those necessary techniques and skills from which you can apply to all cultures when doing business internationally.
Culture can be likened to a giant, extraordinarily complex, subtle computer. It programs the actions and responses of people and it must be learned before you can make the system work. Most people approach the world with a set of internalized rules. The rules differ from country to country. For instance, advertising in the United States is concentrated in television. The world of advertising in Germany is concentrated in the print media – magazines and newspapers – because there is very limited time available for commercials on TV, and because Germans have a strong print orientation. In the United States the marketplace is immense – a continent, in fact. In Germany the marketplace is small, intimate, and fiercely competitive. Methods that have proven to work in a massive market seldom work in a small one. Americans who ignore this fact or are taken in by superficial, surface similarities may make very expensive mistakes. In recent years, two well-known American firms lost an estimated four to five million dollars because their management did not adopt strategies appropriate to the German market.
Communication is much more than stimulus and response. It is a system of releasing information or a programmed response. Although people imagine that language is the main channel of communication, 90% of the information, in fact, is carried by other communication systems –in the things that people own, how they perceive and structure time and space, and in many other kinds of behavior. Projecting a positive first impression with knowing the appropriate handshake, eye contact all are subtle forms of communicating through the unspoken word to your client. That first impression is a lasting impression and projecting polish and style is critical for establishing any kind of success with that client.
Culture is first, last and always a system of communication. Everything people do, produce and possess has meaning. Like the spoken language, the meaning is unique for each culture. Each culture has its own unconscious – those areas of which people are usually unaware. Many of the most important things to know about any culture are invisible.
Cultural Perspective – Germany
Germans like analysis and are highly organized. They
tend to guard their information and not share with others even within
a different department within the organization. Facts are paramount and
all feelings and emotions have no place at the negotiating table.
They are a very discipline society where there is a
need for personal and social order. There is very little show of emotion
because of strong internal structures and control.
We hope you have enjoyed this issue and next month the focus is France where we will unlock those hidden differences that could make or break a successful deal.