Everyday manners: Greetings, greetings and goodbyes in business

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Cultivated manners are still valid today as a sign of a trained personality. They signal the interest in a civilized approach to people and show it Respect and respect for other people.

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Here writes for you:


Maria Theresia Radinger Best of HR – Berufebilder.de®Maria Theresia Radinger is a corporate consultant and behavior expert with her own TV show.


Greetings and greetings

Let's start with greetings - greetings always happen in passing, from a distance and is verbal.

The rule in business:

  • the lower-ranking person greets the higher-ranking person first.

Whereby the rule in 21. Century applies:

  • Who sees the other first, greets first.
  • This also applies to men and women.


  • When a person enters a room, she greets those present.
  • "Meal", though widespread, is unfit for greeting.
  • “Hallo & Siezen” is inappropriate in both the written and the oral form. "Hello Mrs. Weber" is incorrect. “Hello Peter” is okay and very common anyway.
  • "Bye", "Ciao", etc. should - if already used in Austria - then only if I dude the person.
  • Use more regional greetings
  • Sometimes you are involved in a conversation and see a customer / guest coming towards you. Depending on the situation, a friendly smile is enough to convey that the customer has already been registered and perceived.
  • In Austria, it is not uncommon for women to be involved in adulthood

"Kiss-the-hand", "Madame", "Frau Doktor" or "Frau Hofrat" to greet.

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  • The greeting "Servus, Mr. Mayor" is still used in Austria for the salutation in a public frame.
  • Be sure to salute well-known people with family names, that speaks for your attention and people appreciate it very much.


Contrary to verbal greeting, welcoming is connected with physical contact. They shake hands and change at least a few words.

The official order of greeting:

  • The woman shakes the man's hand
  • The older person of the younger ones
  • The upper-ranking person in business life ranked person

Examples from everyday life:

  • Im Company As the host or host, you shake hands with the customer first and welcome him / her as your guests.
  • If the employee meets the customer in a private environment, the customer decides whether he wishes to greet the employee with a handshake.

Respect in a natural way when people do not want to be greeted with a handshake. Do not consider this a personal refusal.

Handshake and body language

Please note the different hand rule rules in the private and business sector. The right to shake hands first: privately the lady and a clearly older person; professionally the one on the "hierarchical ladder" one level (or more) higher standing. But do not let a hand stretch out in greeting for your greeting "hang in the air". This is very rude.

The role of the host

If you are in the role of the host or host, remember that your job is to reach out to guests. In case of equal status, give priority to foreign guests over domestic ones.

Respect greeting habits of foreign guests. Do not force a handshake on them if they are unknown or unpopular in that country, such as Japan.

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willingness to talk

Do not forget that a handshake signals the willingness to talk. If you are in a hurry, you may opt for a (verbal) greeting.

Remember that older people are educated in the knowledge: Only a welcome with a handshake is really polite. Pay particular attention to the quality of your handshake: not too lax, not too firm, not too short, not too long and never with a sweating hand - and do not shake.


A couple comes up to you, and the man reaches out to you - because something is going in front of his wife - first of all. Then do not measure him by walking past him and first greeting the woman. Discretely ignore any faux pas of others.

Get up at the welcome

In business today, the woman gets up at the welcome. Privately, she could stay seated unless an elderly person or important person is welcomed, but women who are accustomed to getting up in business also do so in their private lives. Getting up has clear advantages for the woman: she meets her partner at eye level, shows respect and can influence the distance zone.

The man always gets up at the welcome - professionally as well as privately - and closes a button of his jacket (with the 2 button jacket always the upper button.) In the 3 button jacket the middle button or the upper two buttons).

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Hand kiss: kisses, kisses

It still exists - the hand kiss. The lips must never touch the hand, they are not sharpened and a smacking must not be heard! The woman's hand is at chest height at the hand kiss, the man bends down and does not pull the woman's hand up.

In Austria, the hand kiss is still widespread, especially in Vienna. In business you should still refrain today.

Bussi-Bussi: What about the cheek kiss?

It happens again and again that people come to you and greet you with "kiss-on-the-cheek". Often you do not have the opportunity to fight it off because it happens so fast. It is inappropriate in business, especially if you are not very familiar with that person.

If this type of familiar greeting is already chosen, then note that the kiss is only hinted or breathed. Most of the right cheek kisses the right of the opposite ...

Keep closeness and distance

In the greeting, we reach out to each other's hands, not only having a strong handshake, but also paying attention to the distance zone. In our culture, the distance between the two people is an arm's length - if we do not know each other.

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Unintended closeness

Only people who are very important and close to us, we would like to get closer to us, for example, family members and friends.

In the elevator or on public transport it is often unintentionally too close. This is compensated for by people's behavior - they do not try to establish eye contact with other people and thus create distance.

Maintaining a reasonable distance

By maintaining a reasonable distance to your counterparts, you will ensure a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere in the conversation. If you approach too close to your interlocutor, your counterpart will not feel well.

The perception of these distances is very different depending on the culture. Proxemics explore the spatial behavior of humans and found four distance zones, which are not fixed variables, because the spatial behavior of people is dependent on each other's current position as well as cultural norms, gender, occupation or even the temperament of the communication partners:

The intimate zone (trusted, in love ...) ranges from about 60 cm, the personal zone (good friends, acquaintances, family) from 50 to 150 cm and the social or social zone (people who communicate in social functions) from 150 to 360 cm. The public zone (theatrical performances, lectures) is larger than 360 cm.

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Saying goodbye

Take the chance that your customers / guests will also receive a pleasant final impression of your entrepreneur. Say goodbye with a handshake, accompany your visitor to the exit or at least to the lift and sometimes even to the car.

Generally speaking, the further you approach a person, the more appreciation you will receive. This also applies to the adoption:

The further you accompany a customer, the more he feels respected! After all, the last impression is the most important thing, because it is the lasting one!

Imagining, advertising and self-image

When introducing and advertising the following rules apply:

In privacy:

  • The man is with the wife ...
  • The younger person with the older person ...

... made known

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In business life:

  • The lower-ranking person / senior person / customer

… presented

This means:

  • if there is a hierarchy is presented and
  • if there is no hierarchy, announce!
  • In Austria it is hardly "made known", but rather "imagined" both formally and informally.


In the self-presentation, there are the following options:

  • I am Maria Radinger
  • My name is Maria Radinger

It is more personal and more concise to say the first name and surname, both in personal self-perception and on the phone. The own title is omitted.

Never imagine yourself as "Mrs. Weber" or "Mr. Gruber", but always as "Eva Weber" / "Franz Gruber.

The order of introducing and advertising in the business:

This is all about rank - regardless of age and gender.

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  • Whoever is higher, first learns the name of the other person.
  • A title is always called.
Examples at work:
  • The candidate will be introduced to the personnel manager
  • The employee to the head of department
  • The secretary to the boss
  • The colleagues the customers or business partners
Examples of private life:
  • The woman experiences the name of the man first
  • The older person experiences the name of the younger person first
  • The group learns the name of the individual first
  • Those present receive the name of the arrival first

Addressing informally and addressing formally

In German-speaking countries, it is customary to first person to people who we do not know.

You should never be imposed - especially in a professional context. Ideally, the person in question should always have the opportunity to reject you without causing embarrassment. The you is an offer and cannot be an order in the company, unless it is part of the corporate culture.

If you are unsure whether a person is suitable for another person, you can also have a third party ask you for permission or disapproval.

Who offers whom to you?

  • In business, the lower-ranking person's higher-ranking person offers you the du.
  • People who have the same rank and belong to the same generation: here, the one who likes you will offer it to you.
  • The employee, who has been with the company for some time, offers this to the new colleague.
  • The group offers it to the individual in a non-hierarchical context.
  • In the social life, the older person of the younger person offers you.
  • Between a man and a woman, it no longer matters who is in private life. Previously, the initiative had to go out of the man because it was considered immoral if Duz offer came from the woman.

In business, there may be situations where you trump colleagues / supervisors, even though you are usually by you. At official events, customer discussions or in dealing with employees, this professional tone of conversation can be an advantage.

Of course, the people involved must understand why this is necessary in a specific situation. The decisive factor in this case is that there is no asymmetry in the relationship (to the customer). Often the "official you" is already sufficient: "Mr. Weber, please bring me the folder number 4".

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Do you reject the offer?

If it is inappropriate in daily business life, you can refuse the offered you friendly, but definitely. It is usually helpful to use the word "respect" for it.

In the professional life rejecting you is already a sensitive thing. However, anyone who refuses a du-offer in private life does not make friends.

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