The purpose of small talk is to be “small” and light, but when you are not used to the parameters small talk covers, you can easily fall into the “How are you?” trap: The notorious “How are you?” or it’s cousin “How’s it going?” question is sometimes perceived as not only superficial but also insulting.
After losing an important deal in China, an Israeli medical device company learned in hindsight that his Chinese counterpart would have appreciated a slower pace with more opportunities for relationship building.
"Though working in Israel as a professional lawyer before relocating to Silicon Valley, it took me two years to fully understand the different cultural nuances when communicating with my U.S. clients." (Israeli attorney)