The famous phrase, “time is money” says everything about American work ethic. They see time in a linear style. They have specific goals and specific tasks with specific deadlines. You will be judged by the results you provide and how much effort you put in order to avoid delays. Americans can schedule a meeting over breakfast, propose a business lunch, and as they are task-orientated lots of conference calls are held instead of face-to-face meetings. They use emails more than faxes, letters or phone calls. They work a lot, no matter what and are very much driven by results.
Their working hours may be adjusted to accommodate the time zones of the USA. They can also work late hours, in order to be in touch with European companies and expect the same from Europeans to accommodate their conference calls, or to be available on their mobile phones during the US time zones.
To schedule a business meeting, you need to have a clear goal and a specific agenda which should end up with a decision. They won’t grant you a meeting if all you have planned is small talk; as it is considered a waste of their time. And generally speaking, instead of face-to-face meetings they prefer to have video calls or conferences and webcasts.
Planning a meeting
If you want to plan a meeting with Americans, make sure that you have a clear goal that you want to have implement, because at the end of it there should always be a precise decision and steps to be taken. Send an agenda to your partners long before the meeting takes place, so that everyone has an awareness and will get right down to business once the meeting starts. The first results should be already seen during the meeting. You know, Americans don’t want to waste their time just for a discussion and planning. You must be always on time, if not, they will view you as someone who is rude, who shows lack of respect and is undisciplined.
During a meeting
Americans are extremely concerned about time during meetings; if there is little time, they will diminish discussion as much as possible in order to have some additional time for actions and decision making. Be ready to take lots of notes and take part in the action planning process. You should have an exact plan, and get prepared to turn words into actions. There will be no time for discussions. Use statistics and numbers to be persuasive, they appreciate it.
At the end of the meeting, there will be an action plan to be implemented. It is only considered a successful meeting, when if something concrete is decided during it.
After the meeting
The notes taken during the meeting will be sent by an administrative assistant. In these notes you will find all the decisions made and actions to execute (including the respective deadlines). You might think that, because of the lively meeting and the friendly debates, everyone becomes friends, but the truth is that after the meetings everyone goes on their way and just carry on with his/her own tasks individually.
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