Business Etiquette in the USA

Posted in Business Language by Cristina on 14 Jan 2016

As you can very well understand, business rules, culture, and etiquette vary greatly from country to country. In this article I will try to cover some basic rules of business etiquette in the USA.

GREETING • When your business partner or a new acquaintance says “Hello, how are you”, he does not really expect an elaborate answer. "Fine, how are you" is more than enough as your reply.

• Americans appreciate their personal space, so hugging and kissing is not a part of greeting ritual here. A handshake will do greatly in this situation.

• First impressions are important. You should look energetic and confident.

• The dress code is usually rather informal: a business-casual jacket for men and a business suit for women. A tie for men is not always required.


• Business meetings sometimes do not take place in the office, but you could go to a restaurant with your partners to discuss things over lunch or dinner. In this case, you need to know basic table etiquette rules. Americans eat with a fork in their right hand. The knife rests on the edge of the plate. When you need to cut food, you hold your fork in your left hand and cut food with the knife in your right hand. Switch the fork to your right hand and put the knife down when you are done cutting.

• In the USA people drink a lot with their meals. You can see glasses filled with ice cubes and some kind of soft drink.


Most Americans are very friendly, open, and have positive thinking. A positive approach and attitude is key in business. Negative thinking or complaints are not received very well.

To sum up, do not be afraid and shy when meeting your new American partners. Be energetic, confident, and smile a lot. I am sure you will receive positive experience!

In our next post we will talk about preparation tips for an interview. I hope you will find it useful!