If you travel to Europe, in many countries, the tip for the server is built into your bill for dinner and into the cost of an excursion, for your tour guide. You’re usually not expected to pay anything extra.
When visitors come to the US for the first time from overseas, if they have not checked out the customs in advance, they think the same “tipping included” rules apply. And they can unintentionally leave a bad impression among hard-working waiters and other service people who regard them as “cheap” or selfish.
When you’re invited to be the speaker or present to a group, it helps to remember that there are accepted norms in some situations and totally different ones in others. What are some of these differences?
When you’re speaking to a Rotary Club, a civic group, and most business organizations, you’re expected to share information about trends in your industry, or tips that could help the members in some way, or your vision for the future based on your expertise. No one wants or welcomes any kind of “pitch” or self-promotion. Be sure and ask for specifics about the number of minutes you’re allotted and what their policy is towards a question-and-answer session after your message. You can hand out flyers about a special offer, but a public mention is often frowned upon.
Exceptions can happen when a speaker flies into town, at his or her own expense, if they deliver a worthwhile message with no blatant commercial content. After the speech, they may be given a few minutes to talk about a special promotion.
If you represent a nonprofit and a cause, for example, fighting human trafficking or promoting water conservation, most groups tend to be open to your efforts to enlist volunteers, secure contributions, or otherwise help spread the word. It is still important to know and be respectful of the group’s agenda and your time limit.
When you are the presenter – seeking investors or trying to make a sale of some kind – some of the rules are quite different. We expect you to try your best to persuade us! We’ve put ourselves temporarily under your thumb. But being sensitive to the timing of your presentation still applies. Make sure you know what the norms are before you start!