Most of us agree to do work in exchange for currency. Commonly, a multitude of other people requiring currency as well is involved for varying lengths of time. It is therefore essential to establish a code of behaviour for oneself that regulates the interaction with these strangers. These are some of the conclusions I've come to in that regard.
An important point is to not volunteer information about yourself. Anything directly related to the task at hand should be laid out clearly to establish a functioning workplace, but you should not give away things nobody asked for. Especially your personal life, interesting as you might find it, should be held back. People will quickly summarize what they know about you, shape an uninformed oppinion and mold a vague image. When refusing information would be considered too rude, be brief and to the point. You can even make up small things to your advantage, just be consistent, ensure you're not contradicting yourself. Information is valuable, so check twice if you really want to give it away.
Precision is crucial in meetings. Often, goals are agreed on but the course of action is laid out vaguely. I've found it very helpful, when one topic is shifting to another, to make a very brief summary of what had just been discussed and ask questions like "What is the next point of action?", "Who is going to do that?" and "When does this have to be finished?". This makes sure that the decisions made are put into practice. It also makes it easier to close one topic and move on to the next.
Especially when talking to superiors (those are the people that get more currency than you), never explicitly say that something they're responsible for is bad. This will only put you in a bad spot. The best thing to do is to phrase every critique, complaint or accusation as a question. "Why is it that way?", "What is the reason it has been done like this and not like that?", "What was the motivation behind this decision?" are much safer than "That's stupid", "It would be better that way" and "I never would have done that".
Talk to different people in different ways. Figure out a balance between talking like your opposite does and talking like the person they think they should ideally be talking to. One thing I do when explaining complicated concepts to customers or my boss is that I simplify things for them, in their language, so it becomes accessible. Then I sprinkle in tiny bits of complicated lingo that they don't understand to get across how I still know more than them. That way you enable them to make informed decisions and talk to them in a relateable way, but still retain a bit of power as the expert they were looking for.
Make sure you document what information you've given whom when it comes to processes and make sure to communicate when you rely on their response to continue. This allows you to cover yourself if something goes wrong - however, only use it to defend yourself, never to attack a colleague.
If you're stuck and no reasonable amount of effort will get you out, open your mouth and ask for help. It looks terrible if you're spending loads of time on a job and have to reveal that there is no progress. However if you require information that can be obtained by looking it up, look it up instead of asking. Don't bother coworkers and request help just because it's more comfortable for you.
These were some of the things I've learned about working with other people.