Throughout most of its history, the United States has had influxes of immigration. The ethnic mix is 83% white (generally of European descent, but also from the Middle East and Latin America), 12% African-American, 3% Asian and about 1% Native American. Today the biggest immigrant groups are from Latin countries.
Meeting and Greeting
* American greetings are generally quiteinformal. This is not intended to show lack of respect, but rather a manifestation of the American belief that everyone is equal.
* Although it is expected in business situations, some Americans do not shake hands at social events. Instead, they may greet you with a casual "Hello" or "How are you?" or even just "Hi." In larger groups, many may not greet you at all. In social situations,Americans rarely shake hands upon leaving.
* The only proper answers to the greetings "How do you do?" "How are you?" or "How are you doing?" are "Fine," "Great," or "Very well, thank you." This is not a request for information about your well-being; it is simply a pleasantry.
* "See you later" is just an expression. People say this even if they never plan to see you again.
* When sayinggood-bye, Americans may say "We'll have to get together" or "Let's do lunch." This is simply a friendly gesture. Unless your American colleague specifies a time and date, don't expect an invitation. If you want to have lunch, you should take the initiative to schedule it.
* Stand while being introduced. Only the elderly, the ill and physically unable persons remain seated while greeting orbeing introduced.
* It is good to include some information about a person you are introducing. Example: "Susan Olson, I'd like you to meet John Harmon. He designed the brochure we are using for this campaign."
* Use professional titles when you are introducing people to each other. Example: "Judge Susan Olson, meet Dr. John Harmon." If you are introducing yourself, do not use yourprofessional title.
* Handshakes are usually brief. Light handshakes are considered distasteful. Use a firm grip.
* Eye contact is important when shaking someone’s hand.
* Keep your distance when conversing. If an American feels you are standing too close, he or she may step back without even thinking about it.
* People who like to touch really like touching, and peoplewho do not like to touch really dislike being touched. You will need to watch your colleagues for clues on what they are comfortable with.
* Americans are generally uncomfortable with same-sex touching, especially between males.
* Holding the middle finger up by itself is considered insulting and vulgar.
* Americans smile a great deal, even at strangers. They like to have theirsmiles returned.
* Men and women will sit with legs crossed at the ankles or knees, or one ankle crossed on the knee.
* Some Americans are known as "back slappers" -- they give others a light slap on the back to show friendship.
In a country that prides itself on its individualism, companies are organized and structured with many different styles depending on theindustry, the company's history and its current leaders. In the United States, business relationships are formed between companies rather than between people. Americans do business where they get the best deal and the best service. It is not important to develop a personal relationship in order to establish a long and successful business relationship.
* Americans view the business card as a sourceof future information and tend to exchange cards casually. There is no set ritual for exchanging business cards.
* Americans prefer directness in communication. When Americans say "yes" or "no," they mean precisely that. "Maybe" really does mean "it might happen"; it does not mean "no."
* It is always proper to ask questions if you do not understand something. Americans ask questions --...