USA: Cultural Advice
Greetings in the United States are brief and involve a minimum of physical contact. A firm but quick handshake, accompanied by a smile and direct eye contact, is typical both as a greeting and as a farewell. If meeting for the first time, the person may ask, "What do you do?" In the United States this is frequently asked as a topic of conversation and should not be interpreted as a personal or intrusive question. Using a title (Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr.) followed by the surname shows respect. It is best to use this form of address when first making contact with another person, whether in writing or in person. Once acquainted, Americans will be quick to address each other by their first names, even when talking with top executives. If a person is significantly older or holds a very high rank, use discretion in switching to a first name basis.
Time is considered a valuable commodity in the United States and it is important to arrive to meetings punctually. Although in most cases there is no harm in arriving a few minutes late, if a delay cannot be avoided it is best to telephone the other party and alert him or her to the delay. The meeting organizer should bring copies of a detailed agenda, outlining the topics to be discussed and objectives of the meeting. Presentations should be direct and to the point, including relevant facts and figures as well as visual aids.