UNITED STATES
COMMUNICATION
 
 
 
 
 

VERBAL

Conversation Guidelines
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 conversation.
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. business people.

 

NONVERBAL

Kinesic Behavior
  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 Germany.
Proxemics
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. 
Paralanguage
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

Confrontation
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.
Feedback
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."
Attitudes
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 sex. 

 

Sources
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.
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