Owner, C.Kay International

British business owners offering professional services in the U.S. that are all about people— specifically communications and relationships with people—find there are some distinct challenges and advantages to being a Brit.

Oscar Wilde said, “We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language.”

Two Countries Divided by a Common Language (and a Few Other Things…)Two Countries Divided by a Common Language (and a Few Other Things…)

I’m a Brit living in Seattle and running a U.S. business that produces large corporate conferences and events. It’s a business that’s all about people. No matter how complex the agenda or how intricate the logistics, the success of a business event comes down to people—communications and relationships with people.

Offering a people-based service, I find there are some extra challenges—and advantages—as a Brit in the U.S.  When I share a pint and compare notes with my British friends and colleagues here who also offer people-focused services, I hear similar stories.

Oscar Wilde said, “We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language.” (And he said that before the Internet and abundant trans-Atlantic flights…) Brits and Americans have a lot in common, but there are still some cultural and linguistic differences I keep in mind.

One of the biggest differences I find is the nature of business relationships. It’s harder to build deep business relationships in the U.S. than it is in the U.K. Paul Graves, who runs a branding consultancy, See Seven, in Seattle, agrees: “Brits are more apt to build deeper relationships with people they work with than people in the U.S. It’s much less common to build relationships with clients here outside of work. We are quite a social bunch in Britain.” I agree. Business relationships quickly become friendships when you lift a pint together every Friday afternoon.

When you’re in a business that’s all about people, the linguistic differences create some challenges. But get past the spelling, pronunciation, and vocabulary differences and let’s face it, as Brits, our accents do give us some advantages in the U.S.

Kevin May, who runs the consulting firm, Sticks Company in Seattle, finds that Americans hold Brits in a certain regard, partly due to the accent. “I find people here are very attentive to what I say. When I go home to the UK, I must remind myself I’m not the funniest and smartest person in the room…”

We both feel it’s important to keep the linguistic differences between the U.S. and U.K. in mind. Use U.S. spelling, perhaps even adopt American pronunciation on words that stick out. Kevin says, “Think of American English as a foreign language that has a lot in common with British English. Getting your head around the language is an important part to being successful in the States.” I agree. Whilst there are advantages to being a Brit in the U.S., there’s nothing more annoying than an arrogant Brit!

Advantages for Brits in the U.S. may differ depending upon where you live. Companies in Seattle do a lot of international business. There’s a global perspective here and British experience and knowledge is valued. “People appreciate me being from London, another global business center,” says Paul.

(Though it does make for a long international business day in Seattle. Europe is a business day ahead and Asia is a business day behind. Being in the middle makes for odd business hours—no wonder they drink so much coffee here…)

I love living and owning a service-based business in the U.S. My cultural bias toward building deep business relationships is a major advantage in a business that relies on strong connections with clients, vendors and partners. I just watch out for what Americans call “gotchas”—the little things that will “get you.” Like British English spelling on a PowerPoint slide, trying to schedule a business event on July 4th, or serving beer less than ice cold.

Commercial Director, Business Birmingham

From a personal view, as someone who has lived here all my life, this is terrific news.  And professionally, working at Birmingham’s inward investment agency, it marks the beginning of a truly golden period.

Connectivity has always been one of our greatest strengths, even before the arrival of HS2, but additional transport plans are predicted to stimulate growth through greater access to greater numbers of skilled people.

Where railways lead, prosperity follows – the industrial revolution of the 21st centuryWhere railways lead, prosperity follows – the industrial revolution of the 21st century

After years of planning and consultation, work is now starting on a new high speed rail line – High Speed 2 (HS2) – between London and Birmingham, bringing the UK’s capital and second city to within just 38 minutes of each other.

And long before the first arrivals board is due to light up, I’m proud that Birmingham, at the heart of the Midlands region, is already enjoying the benefits of the largest infrastructure project in Europe.

Birmingham’s time has come, economically and politically, and that’s largely because of HS2.  From a personal view, as someone who has lived here all my life, this is terrific news.  And professionally, working at Birmingham’s inward investment agency, it marks the beginning of a truly golden period.     Read More “Where railways lead, prosperity follows – the industrial revolution of the 21st century”

VP OF MARKET STRATEGIES, MISSOURI PARTNERSHIP; BRITISH HONORARY CONSUL - MISSOURI; GLOBALSCOT

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2017 Transatlantic Conference

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Greetings from Across the PondGreetings from Across the Pond

Last year, after spending a few days in my home town of Farnborough, England at the Farnborough International Airshow, and standing outside 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister Cameron left for the last time as he headed to Buckingham Palace to bid adieu to Her Majesty, I jumped back on a plane, taxied past the iconic Concorde and headed to my current home—Missouri, USA.

And I couldn’t help but think of just how more connected the globe is since I first emigrated to the U.S. last millennium. Read More “Greetings from Across the Pond”

Governor, State of Illinois

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Given that the U.S. and U.K. are their own most important trading partners, it is key to maintain dialogue as technologies evolve, consumer demands change, and outside forces present challenges and opportunities.

While we celebrate great thought leadership, the views expressed by Platform authors do not necessarily represent the views and positions of Britview, the BABC Chicago or sponsors.

Chairman, International Churchill Society; Chairman, Geller Capital Partners

Thought Leadership Platform

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2017 Transatlantic Conference

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Business Council

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It is this backdrop of uncertainty and change that makes BABC’s Annual Transatlantic Conference so exceedingly important. With Thought Leadership as its underlying theme, the discussions will inform and identify the power and relevance of strategic partnerships

While we celebrate great thought leadership, the views expressed by Platform authors do not necessarily represent the views and positions of Britview, the BABC Chicago or sponsors.

The Times They Are a-Changin’The Times They Are a-Changin’

Bob Dylan’s prescient warning of 1964. Now, 53 years later, his words could not be more relevant as the new year ushers in a period of unprecedented global uncertainty, volatility, stress and perhaps even fear. Read More “The Times They Are a-Changin’”