Every culture has rules for when you first meet someone. American culture is no different. Americans make a judgment about the person they meet based not only on his/her language and behavior but also on such details as facial expressions and perceived warmth. To ensure a first meeting with an American businessperson goes well, here are some basics to keep in mind.
1. Eye contact: Look the other person in the eye. This shows confidence and is taken as a sign of sincerity. Avoiding eye contact makes a person appear weak or hiding something, maybe not trustworthy. After a few seconds, you can take a break and look away, then look back for several more seconds. (Looking away occasionally is important because eye contact for 100% of the time might be seen as too aggressive or having sexual interest.)
2. Facial expression: Smile.* Americans see this as a sign of warmth and friendliness. It indicates openness and a willingness to work together. You will notice that Americans usually smile in all their photographs. This certainly includes Facebook pictures, but it will usually include photos taken for work badges or their company website. This is often not the case in other countries.
*NOTE: While we cannot control the teeth we are born with, American dental practice has raised expectations of good dental health for anyone in the public eye. Teeth that are missing, crooked, or stained can harm a person's professional appearance. For this reason, many American adults are getting braces to align crooked teeth. Dental implants are now commonly sought to replace lost teeth. Treatments are also available to whiten teeth that are stained due to aging, cigarette smoking, or coffee and tea drinking.