Business etiquette for experts

Natürlich bemühen Sie sich, internationalen Gästen gegenüber höflich zu sein. Bei Briten und Amerikanern brauchen Sie aber besonders viel Fingerspitzengefühl, um nicht unbewusst in Fettnäpfchen zu treten.

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As children, we are taught to say "please" when we want something. But used in the wrong context, it can sound impolite. Polite English native speakers are very careful not to order people around, even if they use "please". For example, instead of saying, "Please sign this form here", people will use a phrase like one of these:

  • You'll need to sign your name here.
  • I'll need your signature on the bottom of this form.
  • If you'd just like to sign your name here.

Even something as simple as "come in, please" or "follow me, please" sound wrong. A native speaker is more likely to turn these phrases into a question.

  • Would you like to come in?
  • Why don't you come in?
  • Let me lead the way.
  • I'll just go ahead and lead the way. Okay?
  • It might be better if I go ahead and show you the way.

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