Linda Kaiser is a spokeswoman for the Essen-based Deutsche-Knigge-Gesellschaft, a consulting affiliation for all matters concerning etiquette. Among other offerings, the association gives seminars to assist worldwide enterprise humans keep away from fake pas. It's also the move-to company for those who feel unsure in regular social situations.
DW: Ms. Kaiser, in our collection "Meet the Germans," my colleagues and i try to provide an explanation for a few German characteristics to an global target market. This time, we're talking approximately manners...
Linda Kaiser: yes, despite the fact that manners are perhaps greater of a British difficulty.
Why do you assert that?
due to the fact the manner the British gift themselves to Germans, for my part, is through being mainly calm, polite, reserved, friendly and really disciplined. And then, of course, there's the relationship to the royal own family. Etiquette is specially crucial there.
however you're implying that Germans aren't so inquisitive about manners! Could you really say that?
It's just a one of a kind type of hobby [laughs]. Within the closing 100 years, we've had no royalty, no monarchy, no respectable the Aristocracy in Germany. That's why manners have come to be a social affair and society moves or develops faster than way of life. That's why manners are certainly a German challenge, however they are not linked to an excellent just like the queen.
Are there certain manners that are particular to the Germans?
certainly things like punctuality or being capable of express complaint directly are linked to Germans. These are human trends, which can be implemented to Germans, although now not necessarily across the board.
What does that say approximately Germans?
to start with, manners are rules for the way to enter into a society, in order that it's far easier to function residing in society together. Every society, every group of human beings, comes to a consensus on sure topics, and the particular manners of a social organization develop from this.
in advance, you referred to the British as being especially polite. Do you observed Germans are well mannered?
yes. Each person is polite in his or her personal way. You could't make that so depending on the united states you belong to, because in trendy, politeness enables us to get along higher in corporations. That's why we try to give ourselves inside the best viable way, and if you have certainly internalized it, you're making the other person look desirable as well.
Your affiliation offers, amongst different matters, seminars in manners. What could you advocate to humans when they arrive to Germany? How can they be on their pleasant conduct?
It's what I propose to all and sundry in each usa: to be open, attentive, listen nicely and produce your very own knowledge of appropriate manners into society. And then, regardless of in which you're, being collectively with others works well.
Do you have a few examples?
permit's take the conventional example of table manners. We sit down together at a table to devour and spend a nice time together. That is the primary intention whilst people sit down collectively for a meal. The opposite component, which is secondary, is which you eat meals to survive. Now, we have this desirable intention, that we're sitting down together to interact, to get to realize each different and trade ideas, which has to be carried out in some way.
To gain this, there are particular manners that have been agreed upon, including eating with a knife and fork and now not licking the plate; that we maintain a wine glass by means of its stem; that we don't location an excessive amount of at the plate and most effective what we are able to definitely to consume so there is the identical amount for anyone. Manners exist so we do now not get distracted from why we're sitting down collectively.
So to put it truly, there are guidelines. You persist with those guidelines and that they end up recurring, and then you don't must fear approximately them anymore?
exactly. You may then deal with what's essential. Of course those rules are not carved into stone; they could alternate and be bent or broken, relying on the context in which you are currently.
What do you advise to individuals who come together in Germany but hail from different countries? My revel in is that Germans surely want to shake hands. Humans do in the US, of course, however no longer at every possibility. You wouldn't do that in Japan both. What do you do in a group of mixed cultures that come collectively within a rustic? What rules do you observe?
In the sort of situation you constantly orientate your self towards the host. If we've got a German host, the German rules observe, or the German rules could have precedence. That would mean shaking palms. However when you have a foresighted, open, polite host, then the host will method each person in my opinion and bear in mind what's excellent for each. In different words, they could now not shake hands with the japanese man or woman. They might greet the French guests with kisses on the left and right cheeks and would shake arms with those from the united states.
You said some thing about directness earlier, that Germans sense they can specific their critiques. In my opinion, I occasionally revel in Germans as being very direct, while the British or North people won't say things as at once in an everyday context. Why is expressing one's opinion at once accepted as polite right here?
because in Germany it stands for sincerity and honesty. We don't beat across the bush, however in reality get to the coronary heart of the problem, and that's best and polite and usually commonplace. However that has a cultural history. We had been just introduced up that manner and that's why we don't reflect on it in any respect. But if we then must interact with British humans, then that is something absolutely different. If we want to establish ourselves in splendid Britain, we ought to also learn to study and practice the manners there.
could you assert that on social media Germans also behave in a sure manner, as an example, very without delay?
due to the fact the net may be very global, many Germans sense tempted to adopt a sort of carelessness or integrate things from different cultures. For instance, they may forget about German spelling with upper and decrease case on the internet. However for correct German spelling, that is of route no longer proper and can be taken into consideration impolite because we have a language with certain regulations, which have to additionally be reputable on social media or the internet in case you communicate on this language. Also, human beings use the "Du" form [the informal way to say "you" — Ed.] quicker on the the net. Germany isn't without a doubt a "Du" subculture, but we continually envy English native audio system who've this wellknown "you."
You cited table manners earlier, and especially, that one holds a wine glass by means of its stem and no longer by means of the bowl. That's no longer necessarily the case within the US. Why is one of these aspect taken into consideration taken into consideration polite?
as a minimum for the German-talking eu region, almost all regulations can be traced again to some real meaning or explanation. One holds the glass, for instance, with the aid of the stem, so as not to heat up the drink through the warm temperature of 1's hand. One additionally doesn't need to go away fingerprints on the globe. So there are both aesthetic and realistic motives for this. If people in the US don't do that, it's no longer going to kill every body.