Agreements are like the air we breathe. We discuss, enter into, and fulfill them. On a daily basis. Most are simple and routine. Others are complex and situation-based. How do Germans handle agreements?



A yes in the German context is more exception than the rule. Germans are reluctant to enter into an agreement without being sure that they can deliver. They, therefore, respond almost instinctively with reasons why they cannot (yet) enter into an agreement. 

For the German yes signals a high degree of commitment. It is the equivalent of giving your word, of entering into an oral contract, something not done without first giving the agreement serious consideration.


在德国,”是 “更多的是例外,而不是常规。德国人不愿意在不确定他们是否能够兑现的情况下签订协议。因此,他们几乎是本能地回答为什么他们不能(还)达成协议。

对德国人来说,”是 “意味着一种高度的承诺。它相当于你的承诺,相当于签订口头合同,在没有认真考虑协议的情况下是不会做的。



The German no is more the rule than the exception. However, its level of hardness is based on contextual factors. It can range from a hard to a flexible no. Only through asking what the barriers are to the yes is it possible to discern how hard the German no actually is. 

And converting a German no into a German yes means identifying, addressing, and overcoming the reasons for the no. This can require a lot of time and effort. But as stated before, the German yes is worth fighting for.


德国人的 “不 “更多的是一种规则而不是例外。然而,它的强硬程度是基于上下文的因素。它的范围可以从硬性拒绝到柔性拒绝。只有通过询问 “是 “的障碍是什么,才有可能分辨出德国人的 “不 “究竟有多难。

而将德国人的 “不 “转化为德国人的 “是”,意味着识别、解决和克服 “不 “的原因。这可能需要大量的时间和努力。但如前所述,德国式的 “是 “值得为之奋斗。



Because the German yes involves a high degree of commitment, before granting it Germans request a lot of background information. For three reasons:

First, it helps them to determine whether the agreement could have negative effects on them, their work or their team. Second, if they say yes, they want to fulfill their part of the agreement.

Third, because Germans do little to no follow-up during the time-span of the agreement, the better they understand the overall context, the better they can fulfill their commitment. The term is front-loading.


因为德国人的 “是 “涉及到高度的承诺,所以在批准之前,德国人要求提供很多背景信息。有三个原因:

首先,这有助于他们确定该协议是否会对他们、他们的工作或他们的团队产生负面影响。第二,如果他们说 “是”,他们希望履行协议中他们的部分。

第三,因为德国人在协议的时间范围内几乎没有做任何后续工作,他们越是了解整体情况,就越能履行他们的承诺。这个术语就是 “前装”。



In Germany follow-up is infrequent. Once an agreement has been made neither party feels the need to contact the other in order to inquire about the status or priority of that agreement. Agreed is agreed.

And agreements are meant to be held. The priority of an agreement remains at the level it was assigned when entered into. There should be no need to verify or reinforce the importance of an agreement.






The Germans prefer a complete deliverable, even if late, over an incomplete deliverable, on time or even early. Lateness is tolerated as long as expectations are met. Completeness is preferred to speed.