Not sure how to introduce yourself to your German-speaking business partners? This can be challenging, but don't worry - we're here to help! Formal introductions are much easier than you'd think and are essential if you want to form new contacts.

Here we'll introduce you to essential phrases that are useful in formal situations. You'll learn how to greet others, start conversations, and make sure your contacts stay in touch with you. Let's get started!

Formal Greetings

Below you'll find phrases that you can use to greet others and to begin introductions. Just don't forget to first shake hands and make eye contact with the person you're talking to!
   
 
   
 
Guten Morgen!
 
Good morning!
 
Guten Tag!
 
Good afternoon!
 
Guten Abend!
 
Good evening!
 
Hallo, Mr. Hartmann.
 
Hello, Mr. Hartmann.
 
Wie heißen Sie?
 
What is your name?
 
Ich heiße Tarik Demir.
 
My name is Tarik Demir.
 
Erlauben Sie mir mich vorzustellen.
 
Let me introduce myself.
 
Ich möchte Ihnen meinen Mitarbeiter Leon vorstellen.
 
I'd like to introduce my coworker, Leon.
 
Schön, Sie kennenzulernen.
 
It's nice to meet you.
 
Wie geht es Ihnen?
 
How are you doing?
 
 
Guten Morgen!
Greetings like Guten Morgen and Guten Abend are used at the beginning of formal events, such as business meetings, interviews, academic conventions, or even in class. In response, you'd normally either repeat the greeting or simply say Hallo.
Erlauben Sie mir mich vorzustellen
You can use this phrase if you'd like to introduce yourself to someone while in a formal situation. After you say this, you'd then give your name. For example: Mein Name ist Jan Bauer.
Ich möchte Ihnen meinen Mitarbeiter Leon vorstellen
When you want to introduce somebody other than yourself while in a formal gathering, use the sentence pattern Ich möchte Ihnen meinen + PERSON + vorstellen. Here is an example: Ich möchte Ihnen Emily vorstellen. Wir arbeiten im Finanzbereich zusammen. You could use Darf ich Ihnen + PERSON + vorstellen?. Here is our example again using this pattern: Darf ich Ihnen Philipp vorstellen?. There are a number of things you could say after this. You'd most likely continue by explaining your relationship to the person you are introducing more, as in: Wir arbeiten gemeinsam an einem Projekt.
Schön, Sie kennenzulernen
After you have exchanged names with somebody, it is polite to say this phrase. You could also say: Es ist mir eine Freude, Sie kennenzulernen, Es ist mir eine Ehre, Sie kennenzulernen, or Freut mich, Ihre Bekanntschaft zu machen, although they are a bit more formal than just Schön, Sie kennenzulernen. These phrases help to create a positive and friendly atmosphere. In response, someone would most likely say: Es ist auch schön, Sie kennenzulernen.
Wie geht es Ihnen?
After you learn the name of someone new that you just met, it's polite to ask how they are doing. There are lot's of different ways someone might respond. For example like this: Nicht schlecht, und Ihnen selbst?.

Continuing a Formal Conversation

The following phrases will help you get to know someone more while in a formal context. Use them after you've introduced yourself to someone new and want to start a conversation with them.
   
 
   
 
Was arbeiten Sie?
 
What do you do for work?
 
Für welches Unternehmen arbeiten Sie?
 
What company are you working for?
 
Was ist Ihr Spezialgebiet?
 
What is your specialization?
 
In welchem Bereich sind Sie tätig?
 
What field do you work in?
 
Ich bin auf Marketing spezialisiert.
 
My specialization is in marketing.
 
Ich arbeite in der Designbranche.
 
I work in the design industry.
 
Haben Sie eine Visitenkarte?
 
Do you have a business card?
 
 
Was arbeiten Sie?
This question is great for getting to know more about someone in a business setting. You could also use the phrase Was machen Sie beruflich? to ask the same thing. Someone might respond by saying their job title, field of work, or position in a company. For example: Ich bin Geschäftsführer.
Ich bin auf Marketing spezialisiert
Your Spezialgebiet is your area of expertise or the specific work that you do. By using the sentence pattern Ich bin auf + ARBEITSBEREICH + spezialisiert you can tell someone what your specialization is. Here is another example: Mein Spezialgebiet ist die Parkverwaltung. An example response to this, is the question: Wie lange ist das schon Ihr Spezialgebiet?. Alternatively, you could just tell someone what field you work in. Use the sentence pattern: Ich arbeite im + ARBEITSBEREICH to do this, as in: Ich arbeite im Ingenieurwesen. Here is another example question that someone might ask in response to this: Macht Ihnen Ihre Arbeit Spass?.
Haben Sie eine Visitenkarte?
It's useful to have a Visitenkarte when you go into business situations. They're useful for sharing contact information and making sure that you make contacts. Other ways to ask for somebody's contact information include: Wie kann ich mit Ihnen Kontakt aufnehmen? and Darf ich Ihre E-Mail-Adresse haben?. Somebody might respond to Haben Sie eine Visitenkarte? with Das tue ich, lassen Sie mich Ihnen eine geben.

Formal Goodbyes

Here are useful phrases that you can use to end a formal introduction. Don't forget to shake hands and make eye contact again! It'd also be a good idea to let them know that you enjoyed meeting them before you go!
   
 
   
 
Es war mir ein Vergnügen, Sie kennenzulernen.
 
It was a pleasure meeting you.
 
Es war schön, Sie kennenzulernen.
 
It was nice meeting you.
 
Es war auch schön, Sie kennenzulernen.
 
It was nice meeting you too.
 
Lassen Sie mich Ihnen meine Karte geben.
 
Let me give you my card.
 
Ich hoffe, wir sehen uns wieder.
 
I hope we meet again.
 
Ich hoffe, wir sehen uns bald wieder.
 
I hope to see you again very soon.
 
Passen Sie auf sich auf.
 
Take care.
 
 
Es war mir ein Vergnügen, Sie kennenzulernen
This phrase or the phrase Es war schön, Sie kennenzulernen are probably the most common ways to let someone know that you enjoyed meeting them. You could also say Es war mir eine Ehre, Sie kennenzulernen, but it's a phrase that you would most likely save for exceptionally formal settings, like if you ever met your hero! It's a good idea and just polite to say one of these phrases before leaving somebody you just met in a formal setting. Typical responses to these phrases are just the phrase plus auch. As in: Es war auch schön, Sie kennenzulernen and Es war auch mir ein Vergnügen, Sie kennenzulernen.
Lassen Sie mich Ihnen meine Karte geben
When you are in a formal or business context, it is important to exchange contact information with others so that you can stay in touch. You can do this by saying this phrase to someone. You could also say Lassen Sie mich Ihnen meine E-Mail-Adresse geben or Lassen Sie mich Ihnen meine Telefonnummer geben. Especially when in business settings, it is important to do this so that you can build up a network of contacts. Someone would most likely respond to any of these phrases with something like: Danke, ich werde Ihnen meine ebenfalls geben.

Answers to the Most Common Questions

What are the most important German phrases that I need to know when giving a formal introduction?
  • Erlauben Sie mir mich vorzustellen.
    Let me introduce myself.
  • Schön, Sie kennenzulernen.
    It's nice to meet you.
  • Was arbeiten Sie?
    What do you do for work?
  • Es war mir ein Vergnügen, Sie kennenzulernen.
    It was a pleasure meeting you.
  • Ich möchte Ihnen meinen Mitarbeiter Leon vorstellen.
    I'd like to introduce my coworker, Leon.
  • Darf ich Ihnen Philipp vorstellen?
    Let me introduce Philipp.
  • Haben Sie eine Visitenkarte?
    Do you have a business card?
  • Lassen Sie mich Ihnen meine Karte geben.
    Let me give you my card.
How do I tell someone what my work specialization is?
By using the sentence pattern Ich bin auf + ARBEITSBEREICH + spezialisiert you can tell someone what your specialization is.
  • Ich bin auf Marketing spezialisiert. (My specialization is in marketing.)
  • Ich bin auf Design spezialisiert. (My specialization is in design.)
  • Ich bin auf Biotechnik spezialisiert. (My specialization is in bio-engineering.)
What is the correct way to form a formal introduction in German?
When you first meet somebody in a formal setting, you should shake hands and make eye contact with them. Next you introduce yourself by telling them your name and field, position in a company, or your job title. It's polite to then ask the other person about themselves. At the end of the conversation, you should shake hands again and exchange contact information.
How does formal and informal German differ from each other?
The most obvious difference between informal and formal German is the use of the pronoun Sie instead of du. Sie is always written with a capital letter regardless of where it is in a sentence. The words Herr and Frau or other titles like Dr. or Professor are also used when referring to others. These words are used with last names, as first names are usually avoided. So, instead of calling someone, for example, Sarah, you might call them Frau Schmidt. You also want to avoid using abbreviations and any slang when speaking formal German.
How do I formally introduce someone other than myself?
These are two of the most common ways to introduce someone else when in a formal situation.

Ich möchte Ihnen meinen + PERSON + vorstellen.
  • Ich möchte Ihnen meinen Mitarbeiter Leon vorstellen. (I'd like to introduce my coworker, Leon.)
  • Ich möchte Ihnen meine Geschäftsführerin Tarik vorstellen. (I'd like to introduce my head of staff, Tarik.)
  • Ich möchte Ihnen meinen Verlobten Elias vorstellen. (I'd like to introduce my fiancé, Elias.)

Darf ich Ihnen + PERSON + vorstellen?
  • Darf ich Ihnen Philipp vorstellen? (Let me introduce Philipp.)
  • Darf ich Ihnen Mr. Graf vorstellen? (Let me introduce Mr. Graf.)
  • Darf ich Ihnen meine Mitarbeiterin Niklas vorstellen? (Let me introduce my coworker, Niklas.)
What is normally said at the beginning of formal events?
Greetings like Guten Morgen and Guten Abend are used at the beginning of formal events, such as business meetings, interviews, academic conventions, or even in class. In response, you'd normally either repeat the greeting or simply say Hallo.
How do I introduce myself in a formal setting?
Erlauben Sie mir mich vorzustellen.

You can use this phrase if you'd like to introduce yourself to someone while in a formal situation. After you say this, you'd then give your name. For example: Mein Name ist Jan Bauer.
What could I ask someone in a formal setting in order to get to know them more?
Was arbeiten Sie?

This question is great for getting to know more about someone in a business setting. You could also use the phrase Was machen Sie beruflich? to ask the same thing. Someone might respond by saying their job title, field of work, or position in a company. For example: Ich bin Geschäftsführer.