If you’re heading to Brazil for business, there are four absolute necessities you must take along. One is proper documentation, including a current passport and Brazil business visa. The second and third are top-notch business clothes and an open, friendly attitude. The final item is a general understanding of business etiquette in Brazil.
Business Etiquette in Brazil Overview
Relationships are an utmost priority in Brazil, and Brazilians need to know who they’re doing business with before they proceed. They’re also supremely fashion conscious, requiring impeccable business attire. Business hours typically range from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, with a midday break that lasts one to two hours. While they may run a few minutes late for meetings, it’s imperative you’re always on time.
Men shake hands with each other, while women often greet each other with a kiss on the left, then right, cheek. Women should be the first to extend their hands if they wish to shake hands with men. Hugging and backslapping are not uncommon upon meeting. You’ll also want to say “muito prazer,” or my pleasure, when meeting someone for the first time.
To play it safe, use titles and surnames when you’re first meeting people. Business introductions also include the exchange of business cards. To score bonus points for politeness, include a Portuguese translation of your card on its reverse.
Schedule any business meetings at least two weeks in advance and confirm the appointment in writing. Don’t be surprised if meetings are canceled or delayed without notice. Kick off the meeting with small talk, as one of your main aims is to become better acquainted with your Brazilian business contacts.
Praising the country’s beautiful beaches is always a safe topic, as are family, football, and music. Steer clear of conversation topics touching on religion, poverty, politics, or personal questions about someone’s age, job or marital status. Never mention Argentina, as Brazilians consider it their rival.
Meetings tend to be fairly informal. Interrupting the person talking is acceptable and common, as are touching the arms and back and speaking while standing or sitting in close proximity. No matter how you’re feeling, you’ll nosedive your chances of success if you appear frustrated, impatient, or engage in confrontations.
With a strong focus on relationships, it should be no surprise that Brazilians negotiate with people, not companies. Negotiations over meals are commonplace but don’t expect a resolution by the time dessert rolls around.
Deals typically have to travel through the business hierarchy to be approved by those at the top. The person with whom you’re negotiating is not likely to be the one who has the final say in any decisions. Using local lawyers and other legal professionals can help keep negotiations on track, as can ensuring you stick with your same negotiation team throughout the entire process.
Gifts are customary if you’re invited to someone’s home. Flowers or a small gift for the host is appropriate, provided the gift is not a handkerchief, purple, or black – all of which are associated with funerals and mourning.
While Swift can help with your passport and business visa in Brazil, bringing along your top-notch business attire and friendly attitude is all up to you. Do contact us with any questions; we’re always happy to help!