Etiquette Tips for Business Travel in the United States

It seems like a small thing, but etiquette during business travel in the United States is essential to the success of a business trip. Doing the appropriate things can help strengthen business relationships and help you close deals. But, conversely, doing inappropriate things can be detrimental to relationships and may even put business deals in jeopardy.

To help you as you travel in the United States, here’s a look at business etiquette tips for the U.S.

Common United States Business Etiquette Mistakes

The United States is just like any other country in that expectations and behaviors have built up around business, making them commonplace. Some of the things you should be aware of before traveling are:

  • Conversation: It is taboo to address certain things in conversation in the United States, such as politics, religion and money, just to name a few.
  • Punctuality: It is essential that you show up on time for meetings. In the United States, “on time” means five to 10 minutes early — just enough time to get a cup of coffee and get settled before the actual meeting begins at the appointed time.
  • Tipping: Tipping varies in different countries, mostly due to the economy and the compensation of service providers. In the United States, tips are a significant source of income for waiters, cab drivers and even doormen. Tip between 15 and 20 percent when dining at restaurants and taking taxis. A few dollars will suffice if you get help from a doorman or a similar service provider at a hotel, depending on the effort required to assist you.

How American Business Customs Differ From Other Countries

Business etiquette differs from country to country. Here’s a look at key differences between United States business etiquette and business etiquette in several other important countries:

  • China: Business cards are highly important in China, and they are given with two hands. Business cards are common in the United States, but they don't hold nearly as much importance. Also, while in China, visitors must wait for hosts to initiate a handshake, the same is not true in the United States. Deadlines in China are known to be flexible as different parties try to gain advantages, but deadlines are considered firm and somewhat inflexible in the United States.
  • Canada: Canada is a country where both English and French are commonly spoken, which means business cards should have both translations. While many languages are spoken in the United States, only English is needed for business cards and official communication. Business communication is also very direct and to the point, with little small talk and little use for unspoken messages that need deciphering.
  • Mexico: Business hours are a little different in Mexico, starting later — 9 a.m. — and ending later — 7 p.m. — than in the United States. In the United States, businesses commonly open at 8 and close at 5. Also, breakfast is a common meal for business meetings in Mexico, whereas lunch is more popular for business in the United States.
  • Japan: In Japan, privacy is of the utmost importance, which means personal conversations during business talk are taboo. In the United States, questions about family, hobbies and other personal matters are common. Also, conservative dress is important in Japan: simple suits for men and little jewelry for women. You’ll find far more individualism in the United States.
  • Germany: Planning and preparation are important in Germany, which means meetings are scheduled far in advance. Also, German businesspeople like to compartmentalize issues into time blocks, which means that different subjects should be addressed in their own time. In the United States, advanced notice is nice, but last-minute meetings that address many topics are acceptable.

Find Your Place to Stay When Doing Business in the United States

Do you need a quality, comfortable place to stay for international business travel in the United States? At First Choice Corporate Housing, we’re glad to provide the tips for business travel in the United States listed above, and we’re also glad to provide corporate housing in the state of Florida and throughout the nation. Take a look at our properties in Florida, or check out our other locations nationwide. We offer a variety of properties in popular cities such as  New York Los Angeles Miami Chicago Boston and More!

If you have questions about our property locations or the services we offer, please feel free to contact us today and we will be happy to help you!

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