6 Simple Steps for Confidently Introducing Yourself in German.

Remember your first day of German class?

On that long-ago day when you had your first German lesson, the very first thing you learned was how to introduce yourself.

“Mein Name ist Amy,” you would say. “Wie heißen Sie??”

In the classroom or at home, practicing this kind of introduction is very easy.

But there are some things we just don’t learn from formal German lessons.

Unfortunately, as adults in the real world, introductions in German can be terrifying.

You may try very, very hard not to meet new people.

Why? Because we want strangers to like us, and we’re scared that we’re going to do something that makes them hate us or think we’re silly instead.

Today, I’m going to go over all the German you need to meet someone new.

You can finally stop being nervous about meeting new people, because you’ll have the best introduction expressions ready to use.

You’ll be able to introduce yourself with confidence and move on to full German conversations.

Doesn’t that sound awesome?

How to Fearlessly and Confidently Introduce Yourself in German in 6 Simple Steps

1. Break the Ice

“Break the ice” is a common English expression. It means “to get comfortable with someone.”

There are many ways to start talking to someone new. I recommend that you memorize only two or three, so you don’t forget them.

Pick ones that you can use anywhere, anytime. Which ones sound most natural to you? The most important thing is that you’re comfortable saying them.

Here’s the easiest one: just say hello and your name. Then, if possible, shake hands.

Amy: Hallo. Ich bin Amy.

(Offer your hand.)

Brian: Hallo, Ich bin Brian.

(Shake hands.)

Amy: Schön dich zu treffen.

See? It’s that easy. You can also break the ice by using other common greetings like “Guten Morgen,” “Guten Nachmittag” and “Guten Abend.”

Aside from asking questions, another good way to break the ice is to ask for very basic information. This gives you a reason for starting the conversation.

Here are some examples:

Entschuldigen Sie. Weißt du wie spät es ist?

Tut mir leid, dich zu stören, aber wo ist das Treffen?

Entschuldigung, gehst du ins Restaurant?

Pick a topic that is happening currently, and that you actually want or need information about.

Another great ice breaker is a compliment. Find something you like about them and tell them.

Be a little careful here when picking an object to compliment. Don’t compliment them as a whole person, because they might be offended or think it’s too forward (overly-friendly).

Ich liebe dein Kleid.

Du hast einen schönen Hund.

Ist das dein Auto? Ich mag es wirklich.

2. Ask Follow-up Questions

You need to keep the conversation going.

To do this, have more simple questions ready. Like before, have three or four questions memorized.

Questions are always better than comments, because they make the other person talk, and this gives you time so that you can think of new things to say.

Wie geht es dir?

Wo kommen Sie her?

Was machst du hier? oder Was bringt dich hierher?

Hast du eine gute Zeit?

3. Listen and Ask More Questions

Two High School Students Standing Outside Building

If you aren’t confident in your German skills, it’s much easier to listen to the other person than it is to speak.

Pay attention to the answers from your first questions and ask for more details. People like talking about themselves, so this won’t be a problem. Below are some sample conversations.

Amy: Wie geht’s?

Brian: Ein bisschen müde.

Amy: Warum?

Brian: Ich habe letzte Nacht nicht gut geschlafen.

Amy: Es tut mir leid, das zu hören. Was schief gelaufen ist?

Brian: Ich bin ein bisschen los von meinem Flug.

Amy: Ich wette. Wohin bist du gegangen?

Brian: Ich bin letzte Nacht aus London gekommen.

Amy: Das ist weit! War es ein langer Flug?

Brian: Nur ein paar Stunden. Aber ich hatte einen langen Zwischenstopp in Frankfurt.

You can see how Amy keeps the conversation going each time by asking Brian for more information. When she does this, she also learns more about him.

When we meet people, we usually have similar conversations to introduce ourselves and get to know each other better. That’s why it’s important to practice these introductions and memorize some of these common questions.

Let’s look at one more example. Let’s say Amy and Brian are both at a business conference.

Amy: Was machst du hier?

Brian: Ich bin hier für die Konferenz.

Amy: So bin ich. Woher kommst du?

Brian: Ich bin mit dem Verkaufsteam von Samsung.

Amy: Das ist wirklich interessant Magst du es?

Brian: Die meiste Zeit, ja.

Amy: Was magst du daran?

Brian: Ich komme zu netten Konferenzen so!

When you’re traveling for business, asking what people do for work is always a safe bet. However, be careful to keep the conversation positive. Don’t say anything bad about their work in case they disagree with you!

4. Prepare Basic Answers about Yourself

Conversation isn’t always about asking questions.

Eventually, the people you’re talking to are going to ask you the same questions that you’re asking them. Because of this, it’s very important that you can answer these questions easily. Keep your answers short and simple so you have less time to make mistakes.

Have answers ready for these questions:

Wo kommen Sie her?

Was machst du?

Was machst du hier?

Magst du deinen Job?

Wie war deine Reise?

Hast du eine gute Zeit?

Was hältst du von dem Wetter?

Was hältst du von dem Film / Event / Konferenz / Restaurant?

Even when questions are specific, you can have a general response prepared. Say something generally positive, then add in more detail. Adding the detail keeps the conversation interesting. Then you can ask a question.

Example 1:

Brian: Was hältst du von dem Restaurant?

Amy: Es ist sehr schön. Ich mochte den Fisch besonders. Hast du?

Example 2:

Brian: Wie finden Sie die Konferenz?

Amy: Es ist sehr interessant. Ich mochte besonders den ersten Redner. Was haben Sie gedacht?

Example 3:

Brian: Wie war deine Reise?

Amy: Es war meistens gut. Ich hatte nur einen Zwischenstopp. Wie war deins?

5. Have an Exit Plan

Not all conversations are going to be good.

If you find you have nothing more to say or you’re not connecting with the person you’re talking with, you need a way to leave politely. Otherwise, there could be a lot of awkward silences. Here are a few key lines for leaving politely:

Entschuldigen Sie, ich muss (finden Sie meinen Freund / gehen Sie zu einem Treffen)

Es ist schön, mit dir zu reden.

Viel Glück.

Schön dich kennenzulernen, Brian.

Ich hasse es zu laufen, aber ich muss gehen.

Genießen Sie hier Ihre Zeit!

As you say these phrases, hold out your hand for a handshake, making it clear that you’re ending the conversation.

6. Smile and Be Confident

You’re your own biggest judge.

Most people will be happy that you came and talked to them. Even if you make a mistake, keep talking. People will remember your smile and your confidence more than any small errors.

Finally, practice saying these expressions a few times at home or with a friend so that when you meet someone new, you’ll be prepared.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to run.

It’s been lovely talking to you about introductions.

Enjoy your time speaking German!

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