Please listen to a short passage carefully and prepare to answer some questions.
Listen to the tape again. Then answer the following questions with your own experiences.
1) What precious resource do Americans value and save?
2) What are the three kinds of behaviors that Americans consider to be a waste of time?
3) In what different ways do Americans approach time in business relations?
Americans believe no one stands still. If you are not moving ahead, you are falling behind. This attitude results in a nation of people committed to researching, experimenting and exploring. Time is one of the two elements that Americans save carefully, the other being labor.
"We are slaves to nothing but the clock," it has been said. Time is treated as if it were something almost real. We budget it, save it, waste it, steal it, kill it, cut it, account for it; we also charge for it. It is a precious resource. Many people have a rather acute sense of the shortness of each lifetime. Once the sands have run out of a person's hourglass, they cannot be replaced. We want every minute to count.
A foreigner's first impression of the U.S. is likely to be that everyone is in a rush — often under pressure. City people always appear to be hurrying to get where they are going, restlessly seeking attention in a store, or elbowing others as they try to complete their shopping. Racing through daytime meals is part of the pace of life in this country. Working time is considered precious. Others in public eating-places are waiting for you to finish so they, too, can be served and get back to work within the time allowed. You also find drivers will be abrupt and people will push past you. You will miss smiles, brief conversations, and small exchanges with strangers. Don't take it personally. This is because people value time highly, and they resent someone else "wasting" it beyond a certain appropriate point.
Many new arrivals to the States will miss the opening exchanges of a business call, for example. They will miss the ritual interaction that goes with a welcoming cup of tea or coffee that may be a convention in their own country. They may miss leisurely business chats in a restaurant or coffee house. Normally, Americans do not assess their visitors in such relaxed surroundings over extended small talk; much less do they take them out for dinner, or around on the golf course while they develop a sense of trust. Since we generally assess and probe professionally rather than socially, we start talking business very quickly. Time is, therefore, always ticking in our inner ear.
Consequently, we work hard at the task of saving time. We produce a steady flow of labor-saving devices; we communicate rapidly through faxes, phone calls or emails rather than through personal contacts, which though pleasant, take longer — especially given our traffic-filled streets. We, therefore, save most personal visiting for after-work hours or for social weekend gatherings.
To us the impersonality of electronic communication has little or no relation to the significance of the matter at hand. In some countries no major business is conducted without eye contact, requiring face-to-face conversation. In America, too, a final agreement will normally be signed in person. However, people are meeting increasingly on television screens, conducting "teleconferences" to settle problems not only in this country but also — by satellite — internationally.
The U. S. is definitely a telephone country. Almost everyone uses the telephone to conduct business, to chat with friends, to make or break social appointments, to say "Thank you", to shop and to obtain all kinds of information. Telephones save the feet and endless amounts of time. This is due partly to the fact that the telephone service is superb here, whereas the postal service is less efficient.
Some new arrivals will come from cultures where it is considered impolite to work too quickly. Unless a certain amount of time is allowed to elapse, it seems in their eyes as if the task being considered were insignificant, not worthy of proper respect. Assignments are, consequently, felt to be given added weight by the passage of time. In the U. S., however, it is taken as a sign of skillfulness or being competent to solve a problem, or fulfill a job successfully, with speed. Usually, the more important a task is, the more capital, energy, and attention will be poured into it in order to "get it moving".
vt. plan the spending of or provide (money) in a plan 为……做预算，编制预算
vi. save or spend money (for a particular purpose)（为特定的目的）节省或用钱
n. [C, U] a plan to show how much money a person or organization will make and how much they will need or be able to spend 预算
a. inexpensive; cheap 便宜的，廉价的
a. 1. (of feelings or the senses) fine; sharp（指感觉或感官）深刻的，敏感的，尖锐的
2. severe, very great 严重的
vt. 1. put (sth.) back in its place 把……放回原处
2. take the place of (sb./sth.) 代替，取代
n. [C] a person from a country other than one's own 外国人
a. 1. unable to be still or quiet, esp. because of lack of interest, impatience, anxiety, etc.（尤指因厌烦、烦躁和焦虑而引起的）不安定的或不安静的
2. always moving 动作不停的，好动的
vt. push sb. to one side with the elbows 用肘把人推到一旁
n. [C] (outside part of the) joint where the arm bends 肘
a. 1. (of behavior) rough; offensive（指行为）粗鲁的，无礼的
2. sudden and unexpected 突然的，意外的
a. 1. lasting only a short time; short 短暂的
2. (of speech or writing) using few words （指说话或写作）用字简练的，简洁的
vt. give sb. necessary information or instructions, esp. in order to prepare sb. for an activity 预先向……提供必要信息或指示
a. first 初始的
n. 1. [C] (esp. sing.) beginning; start 开始
2. [C] a position (in a business or firm) which is open or not occupied（商号或公司的）职位空缺
a. of or done regularly followed in exactly the same way each time 例行的，老规矩的，惯常的
n. [C, U] method followed repeatedly in the same way every time 固定的程序
n. [C, U] communication; working together 交流；相互作用，相互影响，合作
n. 1. [C, U] (an example of) generally accepted practice, esp. with regard to social behavior 惯例，习俗，常规
2. [C] a meeting of members of a profession, political party, etc. （专业人员、政党的）会议，大会
n. 1. [U] time free from work or other duties; spare time 空闲，闲暇
2. [U] ease 悠闲，安逸
a. without hurrying 从容的，不匆忙的
vt. judge or decide the amount, value, quality or importance of 估价，评价
n. (pl.) all the objects, conditions, etc. that are around (and may affect) sb./sth.; environment 周围的事物；环境
ad. 1. usually, in a general sense 一般地, 通常地
2. by most people; widely 广泛地；普遍地
v. 1. examine (sth.) closely 刺探，查究，探究，彻底调查
2. explore or examine (sth.) with or as if with a probe （用探针或探测器）检查，探查
n. 1. [C] 探针，探子（医生用来检查伤口的一种钝头细长工具）
2. [C] (esp. in news) complete and careful enquiry into sth. （尤为新闻用语） 刺探，查究，彻底调查
vi. (of a clock, etc.) make a sequence of quiet short regularly repeated sounds （指钟表等）滴答滴答地响
vt. put a (√) beside (a point, etc.) 在（项目旁）打上勾号
n. 1. [C] light and regularly repeated sound, esp. that of a clock or watch （尤指钟表等）滴答声
2. [C] a mark (√) 勾号(√)
ad. as a result; so 因此，所以
n. 1. [C] amount saved 节省，贮存
2. (pl.) money saved up 储蓄金
a. designed to reduce the amount of work or effort needed to do sth. 省工的，节省劳力的，减轻劳动的
n. 1. [C] a thing made or altered for a special purpose 器械，装置
2. [C] a plan, esp. for a rather dishonest purpose 计划，策略，诡计
n. 1. [C, U] 传真通信，电传真
2. [C] 传真机
n. 电子邮件（electronic mail 的缩略）
a. 1. produced or operated by a flow of electrons 电子的，电子操作的
2. concerned with electronic devices 和电子设备（如计算机）有关的
n. 1. [U] meaning 意义
2. [U] importance 重要性
vt. 1.carry out, direct, manage 进行, 指导, 管理
2. act as the path for (electricity, heat, etc.) 传导（电、热等）
n. [U] person's behavior (esp. its moral element) 行为，品行
ad. more and more 逐渐地，日益地，逐渐增加地
n. 1. [C] 人造卫星
2. [C] 卫星
vt. get (sth.); come to own or control (sth.) (by buying, borrowing, taking, etc.)取得，获得；买到；借到
a. excellent; outstanding; wonderful 极好的；壮丽的，华美的
conj.but in contrast; while 反之；却，而
vi. (of time) pass （指时间）过去，逝去
a. having or showing ability to do sth. well 熟练的，有技巧的，灵巧的
a. (of people) having the necessary ability, skill, knowledge, etc. （指人）有能力（技术、知识）的，能干的，胜任的
vt. 1. perform (sth.) or bring (sth.) to a completion 履行，执行，完成
2. satisfy (sth.); answer 满足；与……相符
PHRASES AND EXPRESSIONS
have as a result, cause 致使，导致，造成……的结果
explain the cause of (sth.) 解释，说明
sand in the hourglass
in a rush
in a hurry 匆忙的
being influenced; being forced 在压力下，在强力下
exist or take place at the same time; be found together 同时发生；伴随
put effort into (sth. or doing sth.); engage in (some activity) 工作，从事于，钻研
keep (sth.) for future use; not use up (sth.) 储存，储蓄
1. being considered 正考虑的
2. near in time or position 在附近，在手边，临近的
physically present 亲身，亲自
as a result of, caused by, because of 由于，因为
be worthy of
(should) be given (sth.) 值得的，配得上的