Part III Let’s Talk Business
Welcome Topics of Conversations
Be aware that most Americans speak only English.
Americans often ask, "What do you do?" (that is, "Tell me about your job and employer") to start a conversation. This kind of question is not considered banal or presumptuous.
Compliments are exchanged frequently and are popular "conversation starters." If you wish to make conversation with someone, you can compliment an item such as his or her clothing or a work or sports related achievement.
Generally, Americans like to laugh and enjoy being with people who have a sense of humor. Jokes are usually welcome, but be careful. For example, in many situations, ethnic and religious humors are best avoided. Self-deprecating humor, however, usually goes over well.
Sports are very popular in the U.S., especially baseball, football (not to be confused with soccer), and basketball. Soccer (known as football in most other countries) has caught on in only a few parts of the country.
Golf is another popular sport, especially among businesspeople. Moreover, the golf course is often a venue for business discussions and deals.
Topics to Avoid
Until you know a person well, avoid discussing religion, politics or other controversial subjects (i.e., abortion, racism, sexism).
Refrain from asking women if they are married. If a woman volunteers this information, however, you may ask a few polite questions about her husband and/or children.
ethnic or religious jokes
Welcome Topics of Conversation
a person's job/work-related matters