Adressing people

Oftmals ist man sich unsicher, wie man jemanden im Gespräch anreden soll. Darf man den Vornamen verwenden? Sollte man auf Titel achten?
Wir sagen Ihnen, wie man es richtig macht.

1. First names?

British and American business partners often use first names in business. But using first names in English is not necessarily the same as the German "Du" relationship. In a business situation, it is usually comparable to a relationship in which Germans would say "Sie".

TIP: If you are meeting English-speaking business partners, agree in advance whether you will use first or family names.


2. Greeting a male/female business partner

A good tip is to start being more formal and then to follow the signals sent by your partner, as here:

You: "Good morning, Mr Miller."
Mr Miller: "Oh, please call me Simon."
You: "Alright. I´m Lisa."
This method is also useful for writing letters or e-mails. You should start the first email with "Dear Mr Miller". If you then get a reply that begins with "Dear Lisa", you should start your next email with "Dear Simon".

Using titles

Unlike in Germany, it is very uncommon for people to use the title "Dr" unless they are medical doctors. The titles "Dr" and "Professor" are not combined, either in written or spoken English.

Service situations

But you can use the general titles "sir" and "madam" as a polite form when talking to customers, either in person or on the phone. Do not use "Mr" or "Mrs" in this case, as this sounds impolite.
"Can I help you, sir?"
"Thank you, madam."