Businesspeople in the United States are fortunate English is the
common language of international business. However, even between
common-language countries, hundreds of differences in the meanings
of words and phrases exist. George Bernard Shaw said it best when
he referred to the United States and Britain as "two great nations
separated by a common language."
For example, for Americans, the verb "to table" means to delay
further action. In Britain, the verb means to bring up for
immediate action. Differences such as this make communicating
effectively across cultures difficult.
Americans hold a high regard for time and are known to get to
the point and move on to new business. However, people from many
other countries conduct business differently. They spend a greater
amount of time preparing for a meeting and getting to know an
individual. So be patient, and continue discussing general topics
and socializing until your foreign counterpart initiates the...
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