how-to

A book every non native American startupper should read

communicating the american way

A lot of startups, after being successful in their country, dream to enter the US market. This market is well-known for the vast number of opportunities and for its competitiveness. How to successfully tackle this phase? Which are the learning points the foreign startupper should know? Let’s take a look at the book “Communicating the American way”.

Who should read this book?
It is mainly addressed to foreign born professionals who are approaching the US Market. There are also dozens of tips and tricks useful for every startupper who is planning on entering the US market or each young graduate that dreams to intern in a US company. This book is also a good language exercise for who want to improve his American vocabulary or senior managers that want to learn how to deal with press. It is also a fun read, according to the readers, because the book has a plenty of real-life anecdotes. If you can’t read the whole book, at the end of each chapter there’s a section that sums up the salient points.

Which are the topics touched in this book?
The book is composed by 10 chapters. It starts explaining the American business approach, than it takes a more practical path. For example you will find answer to questions like how to give a U.S. style presentation, how to sustain productive phone and conference calls, how to use e-mail effectively and how to conduct successful job interviews in the U.S. There are a lot of foreign born professionals that are concerned about speaking like a leader. At the end of the book there is room for in depth analysis of these aspects and useful insights on networking.

Which is the recurrent theme?
Every activity should be planned carefully and in advance. In addition, one important cultural difference: Americans prefer to get directly to the point while Southern European people tend to be verbose. Cultural difference must be dealt with: a lot of mistakes are committed by foreign born professional because of the cultural differences.

Why is it a must read book?
It is important because if you are aware of the main cultural differences, you will have gained important knowledge that will guide your actions in the U.S. business world.
In other words, you will be less likely to make career-damaging mistakes. It will be also the occasion to improve your vocabulary. You will go through the most common mistakes that foreign born professional use to do in the S.V.

Another important trait of American culture is the tolerance for failure…
The ability to fail and not be considered a failure yourself is a core principle in S.V. and throughout the West Coast. Failure is accepted, as long as it is a learning experience; people are encouraged to try again, and the implication is that they will be successful the second (or third or fourth) time around.

What people don’t like in the US?
What people really don’t like in the US – especially on the West Coast- is arrogance. Connections are as important as anywhere, but who you are and how you behave toward others will say more about you in this society than listing all the “important” people you know and trying to impress others.

A European client is preparing his speech for an American audience. What are the do’s?                                                  A preference for solutions over problems, an orientation to the future rather than the past, brevity and simplicity with lots of stories and examples to clarify the main points.

The abuse of slides is a common mistake during presentation. 
Each slide should have just one message, clearly expressed in the title. As a golden rule, no more than six bullet points per slide and six words per bullet. An old rule of thumb suggests a minimum of one minute per slide if it’s a simple slide, and two minutes for a more complex explanation. The number of slides should be between ten and twenty, according to Guy Kawasaki, a popular author for budding entrepreneurs.

About the authors
Elisabetta Ghisini is a communications consultant with over 20 years of experience in the U.S. and in Europe. She specializes in international business communications and coaches senior executives on keynote speeches, corporate presentations, and media interviews.

Angelika Blendstrup is the founder and principal of Blendstrup & Associates. She specializes in individualized, intercultural business communications training, accent reduction, and presentation skill coaching.

Follow me @fabpesc

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