Top 4 tips for working with U.S. clients
Working with U.S. clients can be a source of a lot of opportunities and new experiences, but how do you work with foreign people that speak a different language and have different cultural habits? Maybe you have been asking how you can work as a freelancer for a U.S. company? If you want to understand more on how to handle business effectively with American clients, this is the article for you.
Check our top tips below to help you work successfully with people and companies from the USA as a freelancer, contractor or remote worker.
Tip 1: Communication is key
Communicating across cultures can sometimes be difficult, especially if you are using your second language. However, there are simple ways to make a good impression that transcends borders. If you want to make a good impression when working with an American client, it’s a good idea to seem confident, open, and friendly. Confidence can be as simple as not rambling, maintaining eye contact, and by not fidgeting with your hands or body. While appearing open and friendly can often be subjective, it’s always helpful to greet people with a smile.
If you're working remotely, it sometimes can be harder to communicate with clients. Always check your connection, video, and sound if you’re having a virtual meeting. When communicating, it’s a good idea to maintain a positive tone of voice. This is true both when in verbal conversation or through email. Overall, if you work to establish a nice and friendly conversation with your U.S. clients it can make your time working with an American company easier and enjoyable.
Tip 2: Understand how Americans do business
From culture to culture many things can vary. When working with someone from a different background or country than you, this might be the first thing that you notice. Even though dealing with people that have a different background can be challenging, take some time to read a little bit about their culture and way of life. Spending a few hours doing your research can go a long way to prevent misunderstandings.
While we don’t claim to be experts, some things that we’ve noticed throughout the years is that many people from the United States can be very forward in their communication. This means that they may ask direct questions or give specific direction. In terms of subject matter, money, goals, and plans are not something they are scared of talking about, so be prepared to answer questions about those topics. Understanding how Americans do business is an important step for any freelancer aiming to work for a U.S. company.
Tip 3: Time is money
It can be said that people in North America can be defined as time-conscious, which means that they really respect the time they are using from other people. Because of that, they tend to be very honest and straightforward in their communication, saving time from unnecessary comments. This doesn't necessarily mean they don't want to talk, but it means that they don't want to distract you from what you need to do. Don't be intimidated if someone seems overly straightforward in their approach.
A saying that is often remembered when we talk about U.S. culture is: time is money. So take the necessary effort to complete what you need to do and avoid distractions. Try practicing your ability to summarize ideas as this skill will be useful when working with American clients. In the end, this cultural adjustment could ultimately help your own business because your time is valuable!
Tip 4: Ask clarifying questions
If you have questions concerning the task that you have to do, the language, or the cultural differences, always make sure you get the answers you need. One helpful way to do this and prevent any second-guessing is to ask clarifying questions. A clarifying question could be: “Could you please explain what you meant by X?” or “Please expand on what you expect from Y.” These types of questions help to make the user’s intent clear.
Sometimes, working with new people from a different country you may feel that you need to "know it all," and that's not true! While sometimes it might feel slightly uncomfortable at first, asking questions and being aware of the company's culture will help you be successful in the work you must do. Remember, you’re not the only one experiencing this, so your colleagues will most likely want to make sure you feel comfortable enough to express your ideas.
After reading this article do you feel more confident about building a connection with people from a different background? Tell us more in the comments below about how you would apply this to your daily routine at work!
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