Americans like to be around humorous people and enjoy laughing
with them. A good way to start a conversation with an American is
to ask what he or she does as well as to pay the individual a small compliment.
Compliments related to achievements and material possessions are well taken
by Americans. It is important to realize that Americans communicate
in a direct verbal fashion.
Topics To Avoid
Religion, politics, or other divisive topics should be avoided
when talking with an American whose beliefs are not yet known. Only if
a women offers information about her marital status should questions about
her family be asked. Finally, ethnic and religious jokes make for poor
Good Topics Of Conversation
Americans enjoy talking about topics such as work, “sports, travel,
food, music, movies, and books.” Baseball, basketball, and football
are the most common topics of sports conversations. Discussions about
golf as well as conversations on the golfcourse are enjoyed among U.S.
American managers are typically direct non-verbal communicators
and do not always realize that behaviors such as "eye-to-eye posture" often
make other cultures uncomfortable when talking to American business people.
As different gestures have various meanings in different cultures it is
important to realize that gestures such as the "fingers circle" is an accepted
symbol for "okay" in the U.S. while it is considered vulger in Brazil and
Americans desire to have their own personal private space.
They also believe that as they climb the corporate ladder that they should
receive a larger space offering more privacy.
When using non-verbal communication American's typically communicate
in a direct manner and often fail to recognize subtle differences in how
things are said rather than what is said.
STYLE OF COMMUNICATION
The use of confrontation to get things done is an accepted practice
of American managers. In fact, confrontation is often used throughout
the American business person's negotiation process.
American managers expect immediate feedback and grow nervous and
impatient when an immediate response is not made. In fact when faced with
silence in a business meeting, Americans "don't know how to react."
Pre-determined attitudes in American managers often lead to stereotyping
certain groups of individuals. While many different discrimination
based laws have been written in attempts to remove this problem, stereotyping
does still exist in the United States based on things such as race and
Axtell, Roger E. Do's and Taboos Around the World. Third
Edition.Parker Pen Company.1993. p47.
Deresky, Helen. International Management: Managing Across Borders.Third
Edition.Prentice Hall.2000. p142-143, 145-147, 155.