US-American Mentality

The US Americans have a great influence on Europe. That’s why it’s worth taking a look at the US mentality, which is different from other ones. Especially because we are usually familiar with the English language, we should pay attention to differences in mentality. If you speak English, certain language and mentality barriers can still occur with Americans. It is aptly said that English and Americans are two peoples separated by a common language. Especially if you speak with a US accent, American business partners may not be aware that you do not know all the technical terms. It is better to ask without hesitation to remove any doubts. American communication is highly standardized. Knowing typical procedures is helpful for both private and business dealings with US Americans.

The USA is a country of immigrants. As a result, Americans have a great deal of experience with diversity. They are used to dealing with different mentalities and cultures in an uncomplicated manner, but they do make fine distinctions based on origin. In the US, there are four major groups in the population, the indigenous population (Native Americans), immigrants from Great Britain and Germany, immigrants from Italy and immigrants from Central and South America, especially Mexico. In this respect, it is difficult to talk about “the Americans.”

Americans of European origin are open, very outgoing and optimistic. They are also very articulate. Their communication is fact-based, but they also engage in a lot of “blanketing,” i.e. they sprinkle irrelevant facts into their communication, which you have to filter out carefully. Americans are generous with praise and encouragement. Criticism, however, is expressed very cautiously and with the intention of continuing one’s contact. In the USA, mistakes are allowed to be made. They are seen as steps on the road to success. Many Americans are correspondingly self-confident; sometimes, however, overconfidence is also noticeable.

Americans “think big?. Distances and markets in the USA are large: There is a lot to develop in one’s own country! Perhaps this is also connected with the fact that many Americans hardly know any other language and are hardly familiar with anything outside the USA. In Europe, the individual countries are much more culturally distinct from each other than in the USA. In this respect, we learn foreign languages early on and spend internships in other countries and cultures.

They are patriots and make that quite clear.

Americans are absolutely punctual. Unpunctuality is unprofessional for them.

However, American friendliness is often merely an expression of “professional courtesy,” not of a personal connection (“keep smiling”). While many foreigners are generally reserved about new relationships at first, but open up as trust and interest grow, Americans divide relationships strictly into “business” and “personal” categories. And when it comes to business, Americans are friendly from the start. Socializing is an important success factor in the USA. For example, Americans can radically switch from “private” to “business.” They invite a person to their home and are open and personal, only to deal with the same person the next morning with a professional distance.

When dealing with Americans in business, it is best to dress conservatively and not extravagantly.

Americans may start meetings with small talk, but they get down to business quickly and keep meetings tight and to the point. American presentations do not have a great depth of detail. During a business lunch, people continue to talk about business issues.

Americans work very pragmatically. They do something and want to see results quickly. They act spontaneously, determine what works well, and focus on just that in the future, while abandoning other approaches that don’t work as well. Americans are quickly inspired by ideas, are interested in short-term successes and also quickly stop cooperating if the successes fail to materialize. They attach less importance to whether there are scientifically proven theories that suggest a certain course of action. When it comes to new business, they tend to see the opportunities rather than the risks.

In many other countries, the approach is the other way around. Germans usually look at available models first, write model-based concepts and finally implement these derived concepts. Americans are much more agile because they don’t “hang on” to concepts, but observe at every moment what works best. They quickly pivot to better approaches, whereas people from many other western countries are strongly concept-locked; this results in inertia. Risks are studied extensively and occasionally crowd out opportunities. This does not go down well with US Americans.

Americans are good leaders and produce outstanding individual performances. But they are also good team players, provided that it is clearly defined in the team who is to do what. The respectful tone sometimes makes you forget the “hire & fire” mentality of Americans.

Look also to the British mentality, the Swiss mentality, the Austrian mentality, the Spanish mentality, the Dutch mentality, the Scandinavian mentality, the French mentality, the Turkish mentality, the Italian mentality, the Latin American mentality, the Indian mentality, the Chinese mentality, the Japanese mentality, the Russian mentality, and the Arab mentality.


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