'Bad' habits that will help find a common language with Americans - ForumDaily
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'Bad' habits that will help you get along with Americans

America is not without reason considered an ideal country for doing business. However, some of the business habits of Americans may shock immigrants from the post-Soviet space. In the same way that most Americans find the Russian manner of communication too direct and sometimes rude, the peculiarities of American business etiquette may seem indecent or even immoral from our point of view. However, if you think about it, they have their own logic, and perhaps some immigrants will benefit from developing such habits.

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From the point of view of the culture adopted in the post-Soviet space, such behavior even towards a stranger is considered rude, especially among people who are not accustomed to business activity. If we are offered something that we are not interested in, many of us are used to explaining why we do not want to accept the offer anyway - with varying degrees of politeness and reasoning. However, in America, it is far from rare that, after a refusal, they begin to offer you an unsolicited service with even greater obsession, moreover, this obsession is directly proportional to the degree of detail of your answers. That is, the more actively and in more detail you prove to the interlocutor that you do not need him, the more unceremoniously he can impose his communication on you.

The answer to this seemingly paradoxical behavior is quite simple. The fact is that in America there is an unspoken presumption that each side of the negotiations acts exclusively voluntarily and in its own interests. It is difficult for an American to understand that you are answering him only because you see it as your duty. An immigrant from the post-Soviet space often feels responsible for not explaining his position to the interlocutor accurately enough.

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In America, such a degree of responsibility for the behavior of another person is not accepted. Accordingly, the American believes that if you spend so much time answering, you have some kind of personal interest in this. The most natural explanation for this behavior for your interlocutor is most often the assumption that you are simply bargaining with him. As a result, he continues to communicate, being sure that he is playing with you by your rules. It is really hard for an American to believe that people can spend hours doing what they do not need, but what they think they should do for you.

However, it is completely possible that an American may be persistent even if you did not answer his initial letter. For some people it is really important to get any kind of formal answer. However, in this case, if you say "no", you will usually not be argued with. However, practice shows that in many cases not answering a letter is enough. Moreover, in America it is not uncommon for even an old business partner to ignore a particular message and then, as if nothing had happened, continue to cooperate on other issues. Silence in the United States is considered a polite form of refusal and does not imply a complete break in relations.

Don't be afraid to bargain

All of the above is true and vice versa. If you see that an American is interested in communicating with you, most likely, he should understand your value, which in the business world, no matter how trite, is measured by salary as well. The ability to present oneself is highly valued in America, while modesty can be regarded as self-doubt. In post-Soviet culture, unfortunately, the opposite point of view often prevails, according to which it is not customary to praise oneself. However, in a highly competitive American environment, the ability to focus on one's own merits is an important part of success.

Of course, extremes should also be avoided here. Don't pretend to be the infallible superman that some life coaches suggest. Moreover, if earlier the dominant direction in American psychology was emphatically focused on success, now honest recognition of one's shortcomings is gradually becoming mainstream. Weaknesses can be acknowledged, but it's best to do so in the context of how you're working to fix them.

And, of course, it is important to speak boldly and confidently about your merits and achievements, and demand appropriate remuneration. Do not be afraid to call the amount higher than desired. As a rule, in the end, you and the employer will converge somewhere in the middle. In the same way, do not be afraid to bargain in terms of working conditions or some formal requirements. For example, you can say that you will make a decision only after consulting with a lawyer, or you can demand that a formal contract be sent to you. Such requests are accepted in America quite normally.

Show a little less gallantry towards women

Of course, this does not mean that you should act like a boor. However, one should not forget that a woman in the United States, especially in the business world, is considered not as a representative of the "weaker sex", but as an absolutely equal business partner with a man. Therefore, excessive gallantry can be regarded by an American not only as a form of sexual harassment, but also as a belittling of her business qualities. In a situation of working communication, it is important for your partner to be seen as a specialist, not a woman, and an excessive emphasis on her feminine qualities, even positive ones, can be perceived as your inability to see and appreciate her professional merits.

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This does not mean at all that women do not need to compliment. However, it is better to address them on the merits of the conversation: the thoughts, ideas and decisions expressed by your interlocutor, the results of her work, and so on. Discussion of appearance, even if complimentary, can be perceived by American women as a violation of their personal boundaries.

Add a little more "hypocrisy"

This is about what can be considered hypocrisy by Russian standards. This does not mean meanness and duplicity, but just an attempt to correct the habit of telling the interlocutor in person everything that we think, or, on the contrary, taking some positive things for granted. For example, in America it is customary to thank a person for any work done, even if you do not really like its result and in fact you do not feel gratitude. This does not mean that you should not point out flaws, but it is better to do it in a correct form.

In the event of some serious violations, the Americans prefer not to sort things out directly, but report the situation to their superiors. In post-Soviet culture, such behavior is often perceived as denunciation. By the way, some Americans also treat him ambiguously. Many of them are inclined to believe that it is still better to correctly express your opinion to a person in person, and complain about him only if this does not help.

For America, this is a completely acceptable form of conflict resolution. But, perhaps, it’s really not worth it to sort things out yourself and bring things to a fight if there is an opportunity to resolve the conflict with “less bloodshed”. The notorious American political correctness is also perceived by many Russians as hypocrisy, although in reality it is only a tactful form of protecting the feelings of other people. In addition, we must not forget that any quality, brought to an absurd form, turns into a disadvantage, while in reasonable doses it can make communication much more pleasant, and mutual understanding easier.

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