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12 Communication rules for professional life: Knigge for career success

Being able to communicate clearly is one of the foundations of a successful career today, especially in times of digital media. You always understand that this is by no means as natural as many think when things go wrong. 12 tips around the most common Error to avoid.

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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 means: “Man, we have worked so well and we really deserve the lunch break”. But colleague Müller understands something else, namely: "We were so slow and now it's already 12 o'clock" - and she immediately 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 indication "It is 12 o'clock", but mostly interpret something as well.

What, in turn, depends on our emotional and social relationship with the speaker: We hear what is being said on the factual level, but understand something different on the relational level. The fact that Ms. Müller is offended by the testimony of her colleague Meier says a lot about the relationship between the two of them: 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, especially in everyday working life. During the lunch break, colleague Meier asks colleague Schmitt, who was promoted a few weeks ago: “Well, are you satisfied in your new position?” He is just curious and wants to make small talk.

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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. 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 introducing two people to one another on business occasions should strictly adhere to the hierarchy. The following applies: The lower-ranking person is introduced to the higher-ranking person 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 the employees are called. Formulations such as “May I imagine"Or" May I introduce myself ". The question of “Permit” is now also considered out of date 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 been the practice to do the same to other people without distinction. In Germany, however, this is still common - which can lead to some problems. Children and young people are used; the age limit is usually their 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 is allowed to offer the "you" to whom, that is, the higher-ranking person offers the "you" - not the other way around. If there are no hierarchies, it goes according to age and gender, in other words: the elder offers the younger the "you", the lady offers the gentleman. Usually, more consideration is given to age.
  5. One you reject? In groups it can sometimes be useful for one member to suggest "you" for the entire group. To do this, however, you should already know yourself well so that you can be sure not to take anyone by surprise, because it is very difficult to take back a you. Conversely, you can politely decline an offer to use your name, for example: “Don't be angry with me, but I prefer to stay with you among colleagues. But I really appreciate your offer as a basis of trust. ”In order to avoid misunderstandings from the outset, you can also clarify right at the beginning of an acquaintance how to address yourself:“ I suggest we stay with you until we know each other a little better . ”Another elegant solution is the so-called Hamburger Sie - the address with the first name, but with“ Sie ”.
  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. Events clear break up: Anyone who is a moderator or host should end an event with clear words and not demonstratively looking at the clock. Sentences like: “We have come to the end of our event. Thank you very much for your attention. "
  8. Criticize without hurting: Anyone who expresses criticism should pay attention to two things: The criticism should not be presented emotionally, but objectively. Generalizations such as "You are always like this ..." should be avoided. And: Criticism should be expressed in private, if possible. Because he criticizes another person, for example in the group of colleagues, easily gambled away sympathy. Because the kitized will see the incident as exposure. If you want to criticize several people, you can do so in a group. However, nobody should be a scapegoat.
  9. Use alien and specialist words sparingly: The same applies to everyday working life: be careful with technical terms. It is true that at work, more than in normal everyday life, you can assume that the person you are talking to understands the technical language. However, there is always the risk that other people will be excluded by foreign words or anglicisms that they do not understand. Therefore you should use them, especially if you have good German words. To speak of “save the date” instead of making an appointment can - and this is only one example - quickly appear ridiculous or conceited.
  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 stations, status symbols or successes with the opposite sex - especially not when they become full-length monologues. That looks more ridiculous than impressive. Equally uncomfortable are people who see their own abilities as a general educational standard and thus convey a feeling of inferiority to others, for example: "What, you haven't seen this film ...". In this way, an informal atmosphere is quickly destroyed.
  12. To avoid too much formality: Some people, in an effort to be polite, shoot over this Objective out. They use exaggerated language to sound elected or talk around the matter like the famous bushfire instead of just calling the matter by its name. Or they use unnecessarily complicated sentence constructions that they often fail to complete. An - deliberately exaggerated - example: Instead of simply asking the colleague whether he is coming to the canteen, the colleague says: “I would be very grateful if you were kind enough 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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7 answers to "12 communication rules for everyday working life: etiquette for career success"

  1. nigger says:

    So I find these "polite" manners 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 says:

      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 says:

    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 I cannot quite understand: "... - especially since the question is not asked out of personal sympathy, but only to satisfy the lust for sensation." Behind that, they could have used often and behind instead of only 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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

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

  6. Jasmine says:

    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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