Communication is words. Spoken. Written. Emails. Telephone. Video calls. Meetings. Reports. Presentations. Here are key aspects about how Americans communicate:


Americans approach important topics carefully. Euphemisms help to communicate uncomfortable messages. Ambiguity can be helpful. Depending on the sensitivity of the topic, Americans will address it indirectly. In the American context indirect communication is considered both polite and effective. Most importantly it maintains the dialogue in order to deepen it.


Work vs. Person

Americans connect the professional with the personal. Statements made about a proposal, a concept, or work results are by definition statements about that person‘s competence, experience, skills.

To say that engineering work produced was poor, is to say that it was a poor engineer who produced it. And in the American business context there can be consequences for those who do poor work. American colleagues seldom challenge each other in a direct, vigorous or threatening way.


Small Talk

In the American business context small talk is an essential part of communication. It gets communication going. Small talk also allows each person to get a sense for the overall atmosphere. Americans seldom jump directly into the substance of the communication. Business is always personal. Americans get personal in both business and non-business settings.


Controversial Topics

Americans purposely choose non-controversial topics. Divisive subjects are seldom raised. And although the age of the cocktail party is long past, Americans still know the answer to the question What are three subjects you don‘t bring up at a cocktail party? Sex, religion and politics.

The American logic is to avoid any tension which could damage a personal or working relationship. They, therefore, seek out commonalities. Americans look for reasons to relate, not separate. From their perspective it is difficult to argue about the weather.


Unsolicited Advice

Americans seldom give unsolicited advice. Even among family and close friends they give advice only after having been asked. And even then, depending on how sensitive the topic is, they communicate their advice in carefully worded language. Americans also want to be helpful. But first you need to maintain the relationship.