Proper business etiquette is essential when meeting with clients and vendors. Business etiquette in the USA may be seen as less formal than other countries. With the increase in global business, learning the proper etiquette for each country where businesses operate is essential.
The dress code for professionals in the United States is a suit and tie for men and a suit and dress for women. Traditional colors are preferred, such as navy, gray, and black. Some variations are acceptable, but the dress should be conservative. Less formal wear is acceptable when traveling or attending certain company events. Informal dress is a blazer and slacks for men and a pant suit for women.
Handshaking is a popular tradition among professionals in America. Handshaking should be firm and last between 3-5 seconds. Greetings are also exchanged during the handshake along with personal introductions. Both men and women are expected to shake hands upon meeting; shaking hands is also a gesture that symbolizes the end of a meeting or a mutual agreement.
English is the preferred language of American professionals. Accents are expected with foreign visitors, but every attempt should be made to limit heavy accents during conversation. Most meetings begin with an informal discussion and introductions before business is discussed. Questions are allowed during and after the meeting by any person at the meeting.
Many American professionals schedule meetings around a meal. Lunch and dinner are the most popular meal times during a meeting. While business may be discussed during the meal, it is usually expected that personal conversation permeate the meal time. This gives an opportunity to get better acquainted with the individuals at the meeting.
Two rules for personal topics when meeting with American professionals are no religion and no politics. This avoids any uncomfortable situations during a discussion. Politics is acceptable if members of the discussion agree with a particular subject matter. Men and women are allowed to direct topics during a conversation.