Three communication codes

in American business

Lyubov Obsholova
3 min readApr 19, 2021

A communication code is a system of meanings that is relevant to members of a particular culture. American culture have its own communication codes.

Some of them are connected with the way Americans do business.

Small talk

It’s a conversation about nothing that seems to be significant or important.

Small talk is a big part of American professional culture, because your ability to progress in your job and move up the corporate ladder depends on your ability to build and maintain positive relationships with people at work. Small talk is crucial in these relationships.

As it’s big, it is not an independent code, but a large piece of culture that is connected with the following codes.

1. Informality

Their notion of equality leads US Americans to be quite informal in their behavior and in their relationships with other people. Often bosses introduce themselves by their first names, and it’s OK.

This doesn’t mean your boss is your friend! It means that he or she is more likely not to be called formal.

Also, when getting acquainted, use persons’ last name to show your respect. Then use the way they introduced themselves.

2. Interrupting

In America, people can easily interrupt you, but it’s not rude. It means that they have a question or want to bring themselves in this discussion. Many business discussions are like open forum when you talk about different serious things but there is a lot if interrupting and no one is offended.

There is no strong hierarchy in America to dictate who is allowed to join the conversation — everyone is equal. It’s their right based on The First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

3. Time is money

It is a common expression that means “time is a valuable resource so it’s better to do things as quickly as possible”. American life is measured by the exact minure. In business, people really value their time.

You can be asked to “cut to the chase” or to get to the point”. Talk about essential things and benefits.

WIIFM — “What’s in it for me?”. Remove all unitresting details from your speech!

American culture has a variety of its own communicational codes. Doing busines, it’s very important to keep them in mind and be ready to use.