Meeting Business Partners for the First Time
When meeting with business partners for the first time in person, make sure you are on time, dressed appropriately and armed with ample business cards. Your business partner will probably introduce him or herself as Mr. or Ms. XYZ (Herr or Frau XYZ), which implies that you should wait to address him or her on a first name basis until invited to do so. In general, the corporate dress code is formal and appropriate status symbols (watch, car, etc.) for your position are acceptable. Casual wear is acceptable on some occasions and will usually be announced in advance. As in most western cultures, be sure to use a firm, yet not painful, grip while shaking hands and maintain appropriate eye contact with the other parties when they are speaking to you. Be aware that it is impolite to put your hands in your pockets while someone is conversing with you, as well as to yawn or belch in public. Please note that Germans will both greet and say 'goodbye' to their business partners and friends with a handshake each time they meet.