Monday, March 9, 2009

The Italian Way, the German Way and the Chinese Way

Some one knocked at my office door and asked: “Could you please tell me where the conference room C is?” I heard the Italian accent and responded politely: “Are you coming from Italy?” He said: “Yes.” Then I smiled and said: “For Italian I will show you a long way.” He immediately understood my joke and laughed loudly.

Italians have a different work style than German. Sometimes they hold meetings up to three to five hours for an issue where German could conclude within thirty minutes. Why? My observation is that they are passionate about talking, so much that they forget the purpose of the meeting, namely resolving an issue.

Chinese need also more time than German to get things done, but for a completely different reason. Recently, I met a Chinese business woman and she started to talk about the people we know commonly. I started to talk stories over stories about these people and finally we liked each over very much. We spend three hours together and finally I forgot why I was meeting her.

Arrived at home, I called her and said: “Thanks for the meeting, but I forgot to talk my real reason for meeting you. Could you please do me a favor…?” and I told her the reason. She answered without hesitation: “Of cause, I will help you.”

Chinese need more time to talk in order to build relationship, once you establish the relationship you can actually ask everything possible or impossible.


  1. oh yes!! I know that very well, but I am always doing wrong. Everytime I am falling with the door into the is so difficult to change that.

  2. Dievommond, next time when you have the temptation to fall with the door into the house, please try this: breathe deeply, at least 10 second, then see what happened. Enjoy. Wenyue