Agreements are like the air we breathe. We discuss, enter into, and fulfill them. On a daily basis. Most are simple and routine. Others are complex and situation-based. How do Americans handle agreements?
A yes in the American context is more the rule than exception. Americans almost instinctively say yes to assisting a colleague or to serving a customer. Reacting quickly with a no is interpreted as negative, unhelpful, uncooperative.
The American yes, however, can signal different levels of commitment. The unreflected yes means: “In principle I want to help you. I‘ll think about if and how I can.” The level of commitment is clarified by questions about time, resources, interest, and other obligations.
在美国，”是 “更多的是一种规则而不是例外。美国人在协助同事或服务客户时几乎本能地说是。迅速反应说 “不 “会被解释为消极的、无助的、不合作的。
然而，美国人的 “是 “可以表示不同程度的承诺。未经反思的 “是 “意味着： “原则上我想帮助你。我会考虑我是否可以以及如何帮助你”。承诺的程度由关于时间、资源、兴趣和其他义务的问题来澄清。
A no in the American context is far more the exception than the rule. Americans pride themselves on being a can-do people, of being open, helpful, good neigbors. They believe in cooperation, teamwork, volunteerism. Americans do not feel comfortable saying the word no.
To reject a request out of hand is to negate these values. An American no, therefore, comes in the form of a strongly conditioned yes. The conditions communicate the reasons why yes is not possible.
在美国，”不 “更多是一种例外，而不是一种规则。美国人为自己是一个能干的民族，为自己是一个开放的、有帮助的、好的邻居而自豪。他们相信合作、团队精神和志愿服务。美国人不喜欢说 “不”。
贸然拒绝一个要求就是对这些价值观的否定。因此，美国人的 “不 “是以强烈的条件性 “是 “的形式出现的。这些条件说明了为什么不可能有 “是 “的原因。
Because follow-up in the U.S. context is frequent, and because agreements can increase and decrease in priority, Americans enter into agreements quickly and without discussing their overall context in great detail.
The parties of an agreement are in constant communication with each other. Full context information need not be communicated all at once during the very first conversation. The term is back-loading.
In the American context, because people enter into many agreements and on a constant basis, follow-up is essential. It is how Americans maintain a common understanding of the status and priority of any given agreement. In many cases, parties to an agreement arrange predetermined times to communicate with each other. In other words, they schedule their follow-up.
Americans expect initial parts of a deliverable as quickly as possible. A partial deliverable early often meets the needs better than the complete product on time. The remaining parts of the deliverable are then supplied promptly. Speed is preferred to completeness.