12 Communication rules for professional life: Knigge for career success

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Being able to communicate intelligibly today is one of the foundations of a successful career, especially in times of digital media. That this is by no means as obvious as many think is always understood when things go wrong. 12 tips to avoid the most common mistakes. Best of HR – Berufebilder.de®

Here writes for you:


Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherConsultant and head of the Institute's job pictures Yourweb.


Reason for misunderstandings

German language, difficult language - this is even true for native speakers. Because the probability of stepping into a faux pas while talking is great. And that can be really embarrassing, especially in your professional life.

Other people don't always understand us exactly as we mean it. The lunch break example is very classic: "Oh, it's already twelve o'clock" says colleague Meier and says: "Man, we worked so well and really deserved the lunch break". But colleague Müller understands something else, namely: “We were so slow and now it is already 12 noon” - and promptly snapped.

The relationship between the conversation partners is important

The reason for such misunderstandings is that communication does not only take place on a factual level. That means: With every statement we not only hear the pure content - in our example the time "It is 12 o'clock", but usually interpret something else.

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What, in turn, depends on the relationship we have to the speaker, both emotionally and socially. We may hear what is said on the scene, but understand something else on the level of the relationship. The fact that Ms Müller is insulted by the statement of your colleague Meier says a lot about the relationship between the two to each other: Apparently she is criticized by him more often and therefore evaluates even harmless statements as criticism.

Misunderstandings can lead to problems

Even if this example is still relatively harmless, such misunderstandings can lead to serious problems, particularly in everyday working life. During his lunch break, colleague Meier asks colleague Schmitt, who was promoted a few weeks ago: "Are you satisfied with your new position?" He is just curious and wants to do small talk.

However, Mr Schmitt, who has just been struggling with serious difficulties, feels attacked, because he believes the colleague wants to dispute the position with him. From now on, he wants to keep an eye on him. The small question has permanently poisoned the working atmosphere between the two.

12 communication rules for the job

In order to avoid such problems, one should stick to specific communication rules especially in the job. For the help to bypass fat naps. Stern.de shows what you should pay attention to when you do not want to.

  1. Salutation - never too confidential: As a stranger, you should not address people you do not know, as if you had a familiar relationship with them. This is especially true at different Hierachieebenen or large age differences. For example, you should never duce an adult person without their consent or with a pet name. Such disrespect always seem condescending.
  2. Presentation - it depends on the order: Anyone who introduces two people to each other on business occasions should adhere strictly to the hierarchy. The following applies: The lower ranking person is introduced to the higher ranking one first. If the spouse is there, their hierarchy level is derived from that of their partner. The secretary is introduced to the manager and his wife first - and then vice versa. The same applies to customers: They are the first to be granted the right to know what their employees are called. Formulations such as “May I imagine”Or“ May I introduce myself ”. The question of “allow” is now also considered outdated in business.
  3. Presentation without hierarchies: If there are no hierarchies - for example, among peers - the rules apply as in the private sphere. This means: the gentleman is presented to the lady first, as well as the younger colleague to the older one. Attention: neither of these two rules takes precedence over the other. So when a younger lady is introduced to an older colleague, one has to intuitively decide which rule has priority. By the way: From five people in a round that is all too complicated. Then you no longer need to worry about hierarchy, gender or age, but the idea takes place Reihum - with newcomers first introduce themselves.
  4. You or you? In other countries it has long become common practice to indulge other people indiscriminately. In Germany, however, it is still common - which can lead to some problems. Children and adolescents are taken, the age limit is usually the 16th or 18th birthday. Adults, on the other hand, always say "you" unless they are related, friends, well known or have known each other since childhood. In the business environment, the hierarchy decides who can offer whom the “you”, that is, the higher-ranking person offers the “you” - not the other way around. If there are no hierarchies, it is based on the age and gender, that is: the older one offers the “you” to the younger one, the lady offers the gentleman. Usually more consideration is given to age.
  5. One you reject? In groups, it can sometimes make sense for one member to suggest the "you" for the entire group. But you should already know each other well so that you can be sure not to surprise anyone, because a you is very difficult to take back. Conversely, you can politely refuse an offer to have a chat, for example: “Don't be angry with me, but I'd rather stay with you in a group of colleagues. I really appreciate your offer as a basis of trust. ” In order to avoid misunderstandings from the outset, you can also clarify at the beginning of an acquaintance how to address yourself: "I suggest we stay with you until we know each other a little better." An elegant solution is also the so-called hamburger you - the title with the first name, but with "you".
  6. Farewell: Certain practices also apply in the case of adoption. Especially during a meeting, a seminar or a business, you can not simply go when it is popular. As a rule, you have to wait for the signal for the start-up, which the moderator, lecturer or host will sound. If you know beforehand that you have to go earlier, you should inform us in advance and provide a good reason.
  7. Clear events: If you are a moderator or host yourself, you should end your event with clear words and not look at the clock demonstratively. Sentences like: “We have now reached the end of our event. I thank you very much for your attention. ”
  8. Criticize without hurting: Anyone who voices criticism should note two things: The criticism should not be presented emotionally, but factually. Generalizations like "You are always like this ..." should be avoided. And: If possible, criticism should be voiced in private. Because he criticizes another person in a circle of colleagues, for example, easily wastes sympathy. Because the kitsched will see the incident as exposure. If you want to criticize several people, you can do this in a group. However, nobody should become a scapegoat.
  9. Use alien and specialist words sparingly: The same applies in everyday work: Caution with technical terms. In the job one can assume more than in normal everyday life that the interlocutors also understand the technical language. However, there is always a risk that other people will be excluded by foreign words or anglicisms that they do not understand. Therefore, especially if good German words are available, you should also use them. Talking about "save the date" instead of making an appointment can - and this is just one example - quickly appear ridiculous or imaginary.
  10. Just not too curious: Being inappropriate is also exaggerated curiosity. A special faux pas, for example, is the question of the partner or child wish. But also questions about life planning, personal satisfaction, health, sex or personal fears and worries should be avoided - unless the person starts talking about the topic himself. Otherwise, one can very well with such questions in the foot - especially since not from personal sympathy is asked, but only to satisfy the sensational desire to breastfeed.
  11. I'm talking, so am I? The opposite is just as inappropriate: just talking about yourself and assuming that others share your own views. But not everyone is interested in their own achievements, career positions, status symbols or successes with the opposite sex - especially not if they become full-length monologues. It looks ridiculous rather than impressive. Equally uncomfortable are people who see their own abilities as a general standard of education and thus give others a feeling of inferiority, for example: "What, you haven't seen this film ...". In this way, an informal conversation atmosphere is quickly destroyed.
  12. To avoid too much formality: Some people shoot past the target in an effort to be polite. They use an exaggerated expression to sound eloquent or talk around the subject as if it were around the famous hot porridge, instead of simply calling the thing by name. Or they use unnecessarily complicated sentence constructions, which they often do not complete. One - deliberately exaggerated - example: Instead of simply asking the colleague whether he will come to the canteen, the colleague says: “I would be very grateful if you had the kindness to let me know by tomorrow morning whether You might dine with me. ” Something like that doesn't seem particularly polite and elegant, but rather ridiculous. It is always better to express yourself in normal everyday German without becoming too flippant.

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  1. nigger

    So I think these “polite” manners are more than exaggerated!
    If my boss says, do that there is no discussion and the faux pas, my boss says it is more than outdated. The most important thing is that you can do the job well and team is capable and everyone else is complete nonsense.

    • Simone Janson

      Hello Nigger,
      Experience has shown that a lot can be achieved with rhetoric - of course it depends on the industry. I recommend the new series from Frau Topf:

  2. Sebastian-Paul Hoherz

    Just not too curious


    am grad thereby ne school task regarding language in the profession and the question to how language our thoughts controls elaborate. To get me suggestions, I've looked what Mr. and Mrs. Internet so have to offer.

    I also found a few suggestions here. But there is one line that I cannot really understand: “… - especially since questions are not asked out of personal sympathy, but only to satisfy the desire for sensation.”. Behind that, they could have used often and behind, instead of just sometimes.

    Perhaps this also depends on the ratio of employees in private companies. When my colleagues are asked about personal matters, I want to encourage them to cope with the situation and not because I find the more exciting to read as a newspaper. In turn, I also feel that you are interested in my state of mind and is happy when I am doing well. People sometimes need compassion, too, and often people see work more often than acquaintances and friends.

    Thanks again for your suggestions and a nice day still

  3. Simone Janson

    Hello Jacqulin,
    The RSS feed can be found on the left side of the Social Media profiles page. Or. here is the address:

  4. Jacquelin Allsbrooks

    Very good contribution you wrote there. Now I have found what I was looking for. I would also like to subscribe to the RSS feed of your blog but unfortunately I can not find it. Where do I have to look for it?

  5. Simone Janson

    Hello Jasmine,
    that's not old-fashioned, you're right. I'm just not sure if the manners were not bad before :-)

  6. Jasmine

    I find that many good manners have been lost. Will not sound old-fashioned, but good manners sweeten the everyday life :)

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