Business German

Germany is one of the strongest countries in the business world, and working for a German company or cooperating with German partners can give you an edge on the career market. Nevertheless, doing business in German-speaking countries can be intimidating for those who don't know the language – and even for those who already speak German.

If you want to life this kind of lifestyle, you’ll need more Business German than just a couplle key phrases. You’ll also need to know important grammar structures as well as being familiar with German business culture and etiquette.

However, with a little preparation and some key vocabulary words and phrases, you can feel more confident when meeting with clients or suppliers. In this article, we will provide some basic phrases that will help you get by in meetings as well as share some helpful tips for business communication in German. Let's get started!

Why Learn Business German?

Business German is the term used to describe the specific formal language needed for doing business with German speakers. The importance of learning Business German cannot be overemphasized – after all, it's practically impossible to do business in a foreign country without some knowledge of the language.

There are several reasons why learning Business German is essential for those looking to do business in Germany or with German partners.

First and foremost, Business German is the language of business. It's used in meetings, negotiations, and other dealings.

Secondly, having a good command of Business German can help you navigate bureaucratic processes more easily. German bureaucracy can be quite daunting for those who don't know the language. It’s even difficult for native speakers.

Finally, learning Business German can give you a competitive edge on the job market. In today's globalized economy, more and more companies are doing business internationally. As a result, there is an increasing demand for employees who are able to communicate in several languages.

Fortunately, learning about the business aspect of the German language doesn’t have to be challenging. Let’s learn about the basic business German skills you need to have – starting with knowing the vocabulary.

Business German Vocabulary

When doing business in German-speaking countries, it's important to know some key vocabulary words and phrases. They will help you stay afloat and comprehend what someone wants from you, as well as show your professional side in business meetings.

Here are the most important German business words and phrases:



der Geschäftsmann

the businessman

die Geschäftsfrau

the business woman

der Vorstand

the board of directors

das Treffen

the meeting

die Akten

the files

das Projekt

the project

die Telefonkonferenz

the conference call

die Vorbereitung


der Lebenslauf/ [resumé

resumé / CV

das At-Zeichen

“at” sign (@)

das Bewerbungsgespräch, Vorstellungsgespräch

(job) interview

die Fähigkeiten

abilities, capabilities, competencies, skills

der Chef, die Chefin, der Vorgesetzter, die Vorgesetzte/ [boss

boss / superior

die Visitenkarte

business card

die Firma, die Gesellschaft

company, firm

die Kleiderordnung

dress code



das Ziel, die Zielsetzung

goal, target

der/die Stellvertreter(in)

fillin, proxy, representative, standin, substitute

die Personalabteilung

human resources, HR

der/die Personalmanager(in)

human resources manager

das Einkommen


die Branche

industry, sector

das Praktikum

internship (US)

rechtliche Aspekte

legal aspects

das Empfehlungsschreiben

letter of recommendation

das Gehalt


der Bewerbungsprozess

application process

eine Firma leiten

to run a business


vacancy, opening, post

Business German - a character holding a CV
Personal Titles:






Mrs. or Ms.

Herr Doktor

Doctor (male)

Frau Doktor

Doctor (female)

Composing a letter / email:



Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren

Dear Sir or Madam

Sehr geehrter Herr / Sehr geehrte Frau

Dear Mr. | Dear Mrs. (or Miss)

Ich schreibe bezÏ‹glich…

I am writing about…

Mit freundlichen GrÏ‹βen

Yours sincerely

Mit besten GrÏ‹βen

With kind regards

Vielen Dank für Ihre Nachricht / Brief / E-Mail/ [Thank you for your message | letter

Thank you for your message | letter / email

Bezugnehmend auf unser Telefonat / Gespräch / Meeting / Besprechung…

Further to our telephone conversation | conversation | meeting | discussion…

Bezugnehmend auf Ihr…

I am writing in reference to your…

Im Anhang finden Sie…

Please find attached…

Ich bedauere Ihnen mitteilen zu müssen, dass…

I regret that I must call your attention to…

Ich bitte Sie aufrichtig um Entschuldigung für…

Please accept my sincere apologies for…

Ich entschuldige mich für alle Unannehmlichkeiten, die Ihnen hierdurch entstanden sind.

I apologise for any inconvenience that this may have caused.

Wenn Sie weitere Fragen haben, zögern Sie bitte nicht, mich zu kontaktieren.

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Ich freue mich darauf, von Ihnen zu hören.

I very much look forward to hearing from you.

A character writing abusiness letter in German
Telephone convesrations:



Guten Tag, [name] am Apparat…

name] am Apparat…/ [Good day, [name] speaking…

Wie kann ich Ihnen helfen?

How can I help you?

Ich möchte mit [name] sprechen

name] sprechen/ [I would like to speak to [name]

Bleiben Sie bitte dran

Please hold the line

Können Sie das bitte wiederholen?

Can you repeat that, please?

(Firmenname) (Ihr Name), wie kann ich Ihnen behilflich sein?

(Company name) (your name) speaking, how can I help you?

Einen Moment bitte, ich stelle Sie durch zu…

Just a moment, I’ll put you through to…

Möchten Sie eine Nachricht hinterlassen?

Would you like to leave a message?

Darf ich fragen, mit wem ich spreche?

May I ask who I am speaking to?

Danke für Ihren Anruf

Thank you for calling

During a meeting:



eine Besprechung ansetzen / terminieren

to schedule a meeting

an einer Besprechung teilnehmen

to attend a meeting

eine Besprechung vertagen

to postpone a meeting

die Tagesordnung


Lasst uns anfangen.

Let’s get started.

Lasst uns zum Geschäftlichen übergehen.

Let’s get down to business.

Danke, dass Sie gekommen sind.

Thank you for coming.

Das Ziel der heutigen Besprechung ist…

The purpose of today’s meeting is…

ein kurzer Überblick

a brief overview

etwas hinzufügen

to add something

Haben Sie noch Fragen?

Do you have any questions?

über etwas abstimmen

to vote on something

eine Angelegenheit besprechen

to discuss a matter

etwas erläutern, klarstellen

to clarify something

zum nächsten Punkt übergehen

to move on to the next point

die Schlussfolgerung


die Zusammenfassung



to sum up

Das ist alles für heute.

That’s all for today.

Characters in a meeting

Remember About Formalities: Sie and Du

In German, there are two forms of "you" – Sie and du. In formal conversations, it is always correct to use Sie. Du should only be used among friends or family members.

There are a few situations in which it is acceptable to use du even in formal conversations. For example, if you are addressing someone who is younger than you (be careful with this form), or if the other person has asked you to use du. In all the other situations, such as writing or speaking to someone regarding a formal/business matter, stick with Sie.

When starting working in a new company, remember to always start with the polite form. After some time, your coworkers or business partners might ask you to switch to the du form – but be prepared that this might never happen, depending on the person or organization you’re working in.

German Business Culture and Etiquette

German business culture is known for being highly formal and structured. It is important to be aware of the etiquette and customs that are typically observed in Germany, in order to avoid any embarrassing faux pas in the workplace.

One key thing to remember is that German speakers are very direct in how they speak. This can sometimes come across as rude, when in actuality Germans are notoriously straight to the point. It is important not to take offense if a German speaker seems abrupt or overly direct when expressing requests and criticism.

Another aspect of German business culture is the importance of punctuality. Germans value promptness and expect meetings and appointments to start and end on time. If you are running late for a meeting, it is considered proper etiquette to call ahead and let the other party know.

When shaking hands, it is customary to look the other person in the eye and give a firm handshake. Make sure you don’t keep your hands in your pockets during the conversations – it’s considered rude. To ensure the other person feels respected, use a person's surname with the titles Frau or Herr until you’ve gotten to know them on a first-name basis.

Characters having a business meeting

When negotiating with a German, make sure to keep the conversation fair, well-mannered, and well-planned. Introduce yourself formally, stay calm and make sure you can back up anything you say with data and evidence. Negotiate in an open, transparent manner – make sure that you are clear about your intentions and understand what the other person is trying to communicate.

How to Master Business German?

Learning a foreign language can be difficult, but it’s definitely worth the effort if you want to do business in a German-speaking country. There are a few things you can do to make the process easier and more effective.

One of the best ways to learn business German is to take business German courses. This will give you a strong foundation in the language and help you learn the specific terminology used in business settings, as well as boost your communication skills.

Another great way to improve your business German skills is to read more business literature in German and practice writing business letters. This will help you get used to the language patterns and vocabulary that are commonly used in the professional world. It can ease the memorizing process.

You can also improve your fluency by watching German TV shows and movies related to business. This will not only help you get a feel for how the language is used in real-life situations, but also improve all aspects of your general German language skills, such as listening, comprehension, and speaking.

Finally, it’s always helpful to practice with a native speaker. If you know someone who speaks German, ask them to help you practice your conversation skills. You can also find a business German tutor online who can help you practice specific skills like reading and writing.

Final Thoughts on Business German

Now that you know a little bit more about the German business culture and etiquette, as well as are familiar with some tips for learning German for business purposes, you should feel more prepared for the professional part of German life.

Remember that Business German is all about effective and polite communication – stay respectful, punctual, and transparent when running conversations on business topics, and you’ll be sure to make a great impression. Good luck!

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Beata Hardzei

Beata Hardzei loves languages and shares this passion through her writing. Speaking English, Polish, Russian, and French, she explores the nuances of foreign languages, aiming to make learning feel more like a journey than a task. Beata's background as a teacher and translator enriches her insights, helping you see language learning as an accessible, enriching experience.