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Business Visits

Business visits, on the other hand, tend to be extremely punctual. If you arrive late to a business appointment, it will reflect badly on you. So try to arrive on time, or even a little early. If you know that you will be arriving late, you should telephone ahead to let them know of the delay.

If a business meeting takes place over a meal, expect the business discussions to begin after everyone has ordered their meal, sometimes as soon as everyone is seated. Socializing tends to occur after the business is concluded, not before. This is in contrast with the practice in many other countries, where the purpose of the meal is to socialize with and get to know each other before any business is discussed.

Many American companies have women in management positions. So don't be surprised if the person who meets you is a woman, not a man. They are just as competent (if not more so) than their male counterparts. If you feel uncomfortable, focus on the business at hand and ignore the fact that she happens to be a woman. Do not, however, ask personal questions as you might with a male colleague. In particular, do not ask whether she is married or has children. Do not flirt with her, refer to body parts, ask her out on a date, or make suggestive or sexual remarks.

When businessmen or businesswomen meet, they usually introduce themselves by shaking right hands. When you shake hands, don't crush their fingers, but also don't hold their hand too lightly. A firm handshake is best.

Business cards are not normally exchanged upon meeting. If you need a colleague's contact information, it is ok to ask them for their card. It is also ok to offer someone your card. But there is not an elaborate ritual of exchanging cards as in other cultures.

US business ethics preclude the acceptance of payments to sweeten the deal.


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