Dealing with American Clients – Useful Tips

1. Do not write “the same” in an email - it makes little sense to them.

Example - I will try to organize the project artifacts and inform you of the same when it is done. This is somewhat an Indian construct. It is better written simply as:

I will try to organize the project artifacts and inform you when that is done

2. Do not write or say, “I have some doubts on this issue”

The term “Doubt” is used in the sense of doubting someone - we use this term because in Indian languages (such as Hindi, Tamil), the word for a “doubt” and a “question” is the same.

The correct usage (for clients) is:

I have a few questions on this issue

3.The term “regard” is not used much in American English.

They usually do not say “regarding this issue” or “with regard to this”.

Simply use, “about this issue”.

4.Do not say “Pardon” when you want someone to repeat what they said.

The word “Pardon” is unusual for them and is somewhat formal.

5. Americans do not understand most of the Indian accent immediately - They only understand 75% of what we speak and then interpret the rest. Therefore try not to use shortcut terms such as “Can’t” or “Don’t”. Use the expanded “Cannot” or “Do not”.

6. Do not use the term “screwed up” liberally.

If a situation is not good, it is better to say, “The situation is messed up”. Do not use words such as “shucks”, or “pissed off”.

7. As a general matter of form, Indians interrupt each other constantly in meetings - DO NOT interrupt a client when they are speaking. Over the phone, there could be delays - but wait for a short time before responding.

8. When explaining some complex issue, stop occasionally and ask “Does that make sense?“. This is preferrable than “Do you understand me?”

9. In email communications, use proper punctuation. To explain something, without breaking your flow, use semicolons, hyphens or paranthesis.

As an example:

You have entered a new bug (the popup not showing up) in the defect tracking system; we could not reproduce it - although, a screenshot would help.

Notice that a reference to the actual bug is added in paranthesis so that the sentence flow is not broken. Break a long sentence using such punctuation.

10. In American English, a mail is a posted letter. An email is electronic mail. When you say

“I mailed the information to you”, it means you sent an actual letter or package through the postal system.

The correct usage is: “I emailed the information to you”

11. To “prepone” an appointment is an Indian usage. There is no actual word called prepone. You can “advance” an appointment.

12. In the term “N-tier Architecture” or “3-tier Architecture”, the word “tier” is NOT pronounced as “Tire”. I have seen many people pronounce it this way. The correct pronunciation is “tea-yar”. The “ti” is pronounced as “tea”.

13. The usages “September End”, “Month End”, “Day End” are not understood well by Americans. They use these as “End of September”, “End of Month” or “End of Day”.

14. Americans have weird conventions for time - when they say the time is “Quarter Of One”, they mean the time is 1:15. Better to ask them the exact time.

15. Indians commonly use the terms “Today Evening”, “Today Night”. These are not correct; “Today” means “This Day” where the Day stands for Daytime. Therefore “Today Night” is confusing. The correct usages are: “This Evening”, “Tonight”.

That applies for “Yesterday Night” and “Yesterday Evening”. The correct usages are: “Last Night” and “Last Evening”.

16. When Americans want to know the time, it is usual for them to say, “Do you have the time?“. Which makes no sense to an Indian.

17. There is no word called “Updation”. You update somebody. You wait for updates to happen to the database. Avoid saying “Updation”.

18. When you talk with someone for the first time, refer to them as they refer to you - in America, the first conversation usually starts by using the first name. Therefore you can use the first name of a client. Do not say “Sir”. Do not call women “Madam”.

19. It is usual convention in initial emails (particularly technical) to expand abbreviations, this way:

We are planning to use the Java API For Registry (JAXR).

After mentioning the expanded form once, subsequently you can use the abbreviation.

20. Make sure you always have a subject in your emails and that the subject is relevant. Do not use a subject line such as HI .

21.Avoid using “Back” instead of “Back” Use “ago”. Back is the worst word for American. (for Days use “Ago”, For hours use “before”)

22.Avoid using “but” instead of “But” Use “However”.

23.Avoid using “Yesterday” hereafter use “Last day”.

24.Avoid using “Tomorrow” hereafter use “Next day”


21st November 2007 From India, Madras

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Hi gopinath, Its really amazing nd excellent advice which is useful for everyone. i really apperciate it. Keep Posting. shreya
21st November 2007 From India, Delhi
Dear Gopinath, I have recently started communicating to someone in US. I am delighted to see your posting as it has given me a good guidance. Thanks & regards, RAJA CSN
21st November 2007 From India, Madras
Hi Gopi,
Wow.Great Analysis.Its highly mandatory for us to follow this in our oral and written communication as we daily interact with US Clients.
I have a question gopi?.Does it applicable to canadian clients also?
Please clarify coz I'm interacting with Canadian Clients.
Keep doing the good job,
M.Vijay Mohan,
25th November 2007 From India, Chennai
Hi Gops .... Fabulous information !!!!! surprise to know about all this information. worth knowing and understanding the knowledge you have shared!!!! Paromita
25th November 2007 From India, Bangalore
Thanks for the interesting one .It is very useful in the present times of globalization.
With Regards
V.Sounder Rajan
VS Rajan Associates,
Advocates & Notaries,
No.27, Ist Floor, Singapore Plaza,
No.164, Linghi Chetty Street,
Chennai - 600 001.
E-mail :
Off : 044-42620864, 044-65874684,
Mobile : 98401 42164.
25th November 2007 From India, Madras
Hi Gops,
Good Morning!
Thanks for this e-mail tips on how to interact with Americans. Especially, it helps me a lot since I work for an publishing company with Americans.
Could you add any other country tips if know!
I am also dealing with UK people and wanted to know if you can!
It's great to read such an e-mail and thanks a lot!
26th November 2007
Hi Gops, A very important piece of information which is used on day to day usage. Appreciate. Regards Ankita kohli
27th November 2007 From India, New Delhi
Hey, Gud job... This indeed is True and words need to be used appropriately and yes no shortcuts.... :D Regards, Chai
27th November 2007
Hi Gops, Very informative and these are terms we often neglect to use. Good work. Keep it up!! Regards, Kalyan. :D
27th November 2007 From India, Bangalore

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