“Happy Thanksgiving!” is something you could say if you were doing cross-border business today. Of course, most Americans have today off, as well as tomorrow. Thanksgiving is a big late-November holiday south of the border, unlike the smaller mid-October celebration that is Canadian Thanksgiving. Although we share many similarities, there are also many differences between Canadians and Americans. These differences extend to business.
Doing Business in the USA
When a Canadian crosses the border into America, there are few obvious changes that signal you’re entering a different country. Most Canadians feel right at home amidst our North American neighbours. However, when it comes to business, there are a few tips that can help Canadians negotiate the boardroom.
Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say
To put it bluntly, Americans are blunt. They prefer speech that’s direct in order to avoid confusion. Try not to be offended by this approach. It’s not a personal attack, it’s just part of doing business.
Another way our southern neighbours cut to the chase is by quoting facts and figures. Stateside businesses may communicate with graphs, charts and other data. The bottom line is a driving force in America, which may be the influence behind this tactic.
Don’t Mistake Aggression for Anger
Dealing with US associates can feel contentious. American business tends to be aggressive and competitive, which can be reflected during meetings. Take this into account and hold your ground.
If a spirited debate breaks out during a meeting, understand that this isn’t unusual. It’s typically not considered offensive to strongly express an individual opinion and defend your position. US managers are also less willing to compromise or play politics. At least you won’t be left wondering what an American company is thinking!
Get it in Writing
American business like to have everything in writing. Due to the litigious nature of the country, it’s best to have a paper trail. It also helps with clarity. It’s a way of communicating that literally keeps everyone on the same page.
Cross-Border Business Caveat
This article is full of tips and tricks for business dealings in America. It has, by nature, a lot of generalizations. Every business and every person is different. Key West Video has worked with and for US companies, always with great results! Whether you reside north of Buffalo or south of Vancouver, we’re ready to tackle your corporate video production needs. Call us today for a quote.