Business Meeting

Straight talking and getting to the point – no diplomacy

Respect is earned through achievement and not through age or background

Sell your plus points

Humour is unlikely to be used when matters become very tense

There are established rules for almost everything, and experts are relied upon at all levels

There are lawyers who specialize in practically every industry and segment of society

Americans often socialise with work colleagues outside the office – and this often includes the family

Business is a serious thing in the States and it is important that you are seen to be serious in your intent and commitment

A handshake is the customary greeting for both men and women

Wasting people’s time is lack of a sense of purpose, which will not produce good results

Businesspeople are direct and will not hesitate to disagree with you

This communication style often causes embarrassment to business travellers, who are unaccustomed to dealing with Americans or direct communication in general

Be prepared for a parochially American view of the world

Do not exhibit a jaundiced, old world approach as this will be interpreted as defeatist

New is good

Try to be punctual for meetings

The boss is the boss and is expected to make decisions

The work ethic is strong, so that it appears that Americans’ lives revolve around work

Americans tend to refrain from greetings that involve hugging and other close physical contact

In a meeting, the participants will proceed with business usually after some brief

Business is conducted at an extremely fast pace

The standard space between you and your conversation partner should be about two feet

Direct eye contact conveys that you are sincere

American management style can be described as individualistic

Although important decisions might be discussed, in open forum the ultimate responsibility for the consequences of the decision lies with the boss

Meetings often include formal presentations by one or more of the participants

In many cases, business cards are not exchanged unless you want to contact the person later

Expect to work with women and people of different ethnic backgrounds, religions, and cultures

Many people in the United States have a limited knowledge of cultures beyond their own country

Presentations should be well researched and delivered in a positive way

Virtual meetings can often prove less successful than face-to-face meetings due to communication difficulties

Email messages are expected to be short and to the point

Be aware that many Americans speak only English

Because many Americans speak only one language, they may not be sensitive to the difficulties of other individuals trying to speak English

If you are not totally comfortable speaking and doing business in English, hire a translator

Compliments are exchanged frequently and are popular as “conversation starters”

Ethnic and religious humour should be avoided

Offer a firm handshake, upon greeting and leaving

Maintain good eye contact during your handshake

Good eye contact during business and social conversations shows interest and confidence

Business cards are generally exchanged during introductions

Your business card will not be refused, but you may not always receive one in return

The recipient of your card will probably place it into a wallet

Sports are very popular in the U.S., especially baseball, and basketball

Until you know a person well, avoid discussing religion, politics or other controversial subjects

Refrain from asking women if they are married

Business culture can vary greatly from company to company, because of America’s diversity

Learn as much about the business culture of your foreign associates

Ask permission to smoke before lighting a cigarette or cigar

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