How to Interact with Anglo Americans in Your Business

Knowing Anglo American (Caucasian) cultural norms gives Anglo American businesspeople a clearer understanding of the differences between “us” and “them,” and also provides immigrant businesspeople with advice and insight on how to sell effectively to their Caucasian customers:

  • Common greeting: Firm handshakes for men and women. Anglo Americans are very casual people who are quick to call others by their first (given) name.

  • Personal space: Anglo Americans generally stand about 2 to 2 1/2 feet apart when doing business. They may slap or pat you on the back or shoulder as a sign of friendliness.

  • Eye contact: Anglo Americans consider direct eye contact to be a sign of respect and that you’re paying attention while they’re speaking.

  • Approach to time: Punctual. If you’re going to be more than ten minutes late, you’d better call and let the person you're meeting know.

  • Language: English (not the King’s English) with a great deal of slang thrown in.

  • Communication: Very direct. Most Anglo Americans say what they feel. They’re generally not comfortable with silence and usually try to fill any gaps in conversation with idle chitchat, such as commenting on the weather.

  • Topics for building rapport: Sports, entertainment, and food.

  • Negotiations: Very quick and bottom-line oriented. Anglo Americans want to get the negotiation process over with as quickly as possible. If they sign a contract, it generally signals the end of all further negotiations.

  • Actions to avoid: Being overly formal. Most Americans consider this to be “stuffy” and standoffish. Don’t give an expensive gift because it may be seen as a bribe, which is illegal. Don’t use or chew on a toothpick in public. Don’t smoke in public or in any place that isn’t specifically marked as a smoking area. Don't spit on the ground at any time.

  • Tips for businesswomen: Women commonly hold positions of power in business. Men expect you to be direct and have the authority to negotiate on behalf of your business.

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