Meeting in New York or San Francisco?

Check out our rundown of American subtleties for a guaranteed 'Made in the USA' presentation.

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Lined up for a presentation in New York or San Francisco?
Even if you feel pretty familiar with American culture, some subtleties can be tricky to spot.

Here are a few tips and tricks for delivering a 'Made in the USA' presentation. 

Prepare for a crowd

Don't be overwhelmed if, during the first meeting, you arrive to a room packed with project managers, stakeholders and, in some cases, even lawyers.
Americans favour a 'launch culture', making sure that everyone's involved right from the beginning.

It can be intimidating, especially if lawyers are present. But it's important to remember that when you're in the USA, the administration of their laws is fundamental. This launch culture is their way of minimising risk. 

Make small talk

Whether you're in the lift on your way up to the meeting or getting prepped in the conference room, make conversation with anyone present. Silence is awkward and can be considered rude in the US. It's an unwritten rule to kick things off by chatting about the weather.

When you're travelling for business, take the opportunity to chat about your trip so far. This informal introduction will shatter any uncomfortable silence and get your meeting off to a great start. 

Time is money

Wasting time is frowned upon everywhere, but arriving on time is extra critical in the States.
In the same vein, Americans like to conduct very specific meetings that don't deviate from the pre-planned agenda. Start your slot by explaining projected timeframes and points for discussion. And make sure you stick to them!
A word of warning: don't make any unrealistic promises while outlining your plans. Consistency is a key expectation in American business. 

Get to the point

Americans express their views clearly and directly, and they expect you to do the same. So make sure your presentation explains the value of your proposal, your objectives and exactly how you plan to achieve them.
Ultimately, you'll be judged on your ability to create and develop, rather than intellectualising a concept. So be practical, map a clear path and leave out any unnecessary details. The key business value here is profitability, and all involved will warm to a project that gets straight to the point. 

San Francisco: a cultural microcosm

A quick word on how things roll in Silicon Valley: there's a slightly different mindset here in the kingdom of startups and truly spectacular fundraising efforts. More than anywhere else in the USA, efficiency is key.
Be especially vigilant about the duration and precision of your presentation and honour the fact that you're in a place where pitching has become a true art form. 

Published by Laurence on 08/12/2017 Photo credit: © guvendemir

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