The Effectiveness of American Business Speak

January 23, 2017

Americans have a long history of influencing other cultures. Now, the American style of business speaking has become the preferred business language worldwide. How can this help you maximize effectiveness in presentations and in business? 

From sports and politics to movies and business, Americans are known for leaving a lasting impression. We’re often seen as bold, confident, or determined—possessing a strong spirit or a high degree of ingenuity. Now joining this list of influential American traits is the way that we speak.

Gone are the days of presentations or meetings filled with flowery language and long, drawn-out explanations. The business world now expects straightforward, attention-grabbing information—a perfect fit with the American style of business speaking.

As Americans, the details hidden within our business speak seem normal. We don’t necessarily notice anything special or different. Shorter sentences, simple language, and directness have been the norm for quite some time. 

Yet when we prepare a formal presentation or meet with new business contacts, it can be easy to revert to old habits or learned ways of presenting that aren’t in line with worldwide expectations. Professionals today don’t want heavy, glossed-over communication or pretense. They want speakers who cut through unnecessary words so that they can quickly understand the value up front.

The next time you give a speech or conduct a business meeting, consider these elements of American business speak to communicate with maximum effectiveness:

>Be Direct. Get to the point. Practice using short sentences that highlight the significance of your statement. Your audience only cares about concise information and clear takeaways.

>Watch Tone. Americans’ speaking tone tends to remain flat, whereas other languages often rise and fall across syllables. As the American style continues to permeate the global business world, its intonation has become more accepted. Its steady, unaffected tone will help others focus on the content of what you’re saying.

>Simplify Language. American politicians have been simplifying language in speeches since the 1900s. Like them, you may be speaking to an audience of varied education and language abilities. Plan your communication accordingly.

>Remember Visuals. As digital communications grow, cultural expectations have shifted to expect immediacy and engaging graphics. Your presentations need to adapt accordingly. Bright colors, sharp resolution, and eye-catching imagery can make for powerful visuals that help deliver your points.