Positive Impact of German Language Expressions and Manners on Work Environments
Munich

The German language or Deutsch is the world’s 15th most spoken language according to Ethnologue’s latest data. The language is spoken in 28 countries, and 76 million people worldwide speak it as their mother tongue. Globally, there are 132.1 million German language speakers. As of 2016, Germany is home to 82.67 million, 95% of whom speak German as their first language.

Status of the German language

German is the official language in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. In Switzerland, it is one of the country’s three official languages. German, which belongs to the West Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family, shares some of the characteristics with its co-branch members, English, Dutch and Frisian languages.

It is a cultural language in some parts of Brazil and a national minority language in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Poland, Romania and Ukraine. German is a national language in Namibia and a minority language in Russia. Many more countries around the world speak German, including France and South Africa and the German diaspora in several countries, such as Argentina, Australia, the United States, Canada, Paraguay and Costa Rica contribute to the spread of the German language.

Working in Germany

If you’re a qualified professional, you’ll find many work opportunities in Germany. Like other developed countries, there are standard immigration conditions that you should meet. You need to get recognition for your professional qualifications and meet the requirements for German language skills.

Let us say that you have fulfilled all the requirements and are now starting to work in Germany, so you’ll be interacting more with new officemates.

This article shows you how the German language expressions and manners create a positive impact on the work environment in the country.

Munich - A good place to learn German.
49780175 – aerial view on marienplatz town hall and frauenkirche in munich, germany

Copyright:  bloodua / 123RF Stock Photo

Manners in the workplace

As an employee, you will have many chances to converse with your German colleagues or even clients, and you’ll be using verbal and non-verbal communication techniques, as you get familiar with your new work environment.

  • In Germany, the communication style is often direct. Germans are not overly emotional during conversations at work. You could consider it a plus since you do not have to indulge in small talk and you can quickly express your opinion or concern. Thus, it is to your advantage to learn to do the same.
  • As to answering the phone, you have to observe some specific rules. You have to be respectful. It is customary for the Germans to answer the phone by giving their last name. When you are calling a person you do not know, you should use “Sie,” which is a polite form of address. Being polite is very important, so unless you are told to do so, stick to the polite way of speech, using their titles and their last names. Using their first names is reserved for family and friends.  
  • Being punctual is very important to Germans. Many companies offer flexible hours, but for those who have fixed work schedules, punctuality is necessary. If you are going to be late, it is imperative that you call the office and briefly state your reason.
  • If you are attending a work session or a meeting, please be on time as it is part of the German culture to start and end meetings during the appointed hours. Unlike in other countries where you can discuss other issues, Germans prefer only to discuss what’s on the agenda. Moreover, it is not standard practice for office workers to walk into another colleague’s office to meet unannounced. If there are pressing matters to be discussed, prior notice is needed either by email or by phone.
  • You can say that Germans are quite reserved and they are not particularly gifted in making small talk. If you are from another country, use your knowledge of the German language to your advantage. Help keep the office environment relaxed by developing a flair for small talk. It can lead to better office camaraderie and lasting friendships.  
  • If you succeed in engaging your German colleagues in small talk, stick to safe topics like sports, the weather, hobbies or travel. It’s not proper to ask a new friend’s income. Likewise, do observe personal space. Socializing is part of the work culture in Germany, often in the form of excursions and small celebrations in the office. You are required to attend, although talks about business or work should be avoided.

Learning the German language will help you to be comfortably conversant with colleagues. You do not have to be knowledgeable or funny to engage your German acquaintances in friendly conversations. What you need to know is how to relax and develop the art of small talk. Listen to how Germans start conversations and observe their language expressions to help you imbibe the language better.

Many people say that Germans are humorless, precise, punctual, disciplined, direct, organized and so much more. But if you look at their work environment, their language expressions and their manners contribute significantly to their business success.

Germany’s economy is one of the strongest in Europe. Working in Germany can be challenging, but if you want to get out of your comfort zone, you may be surprised to discover many things about yourself, explore another culture, become more competitive and learn different work environments and management styles.

Are you ready to take the challenge of learning the German language?

Sean Hopwood, MBA is founder and President of Day Translations, an online translation and localization services provider, dedicated to the improvement of global communications. You can visit their website if you need German translation services.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/daytranslations1/



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