The business world is descending on Brazil at higher and higher rates. Here's a little crash course as to what is expected and acceptable.
- No, you cannot be late. Brazilian business people are busier than you can imagine. Showing up anymore than 10 minutes late to a meeting is a slap in the face. Actually, 10 minutes is kind of pushing it. Of course 5 to 8 minutes is totally acceptable.
- That being said, give yourself plenty of time to get to your meeting. I don’t care if your hotel or apartment is just down the road from the office, traffic in Brazil is unpredictable. This goes double for São Paulo.
- If this should happen, call and inform someone.
- Be prepared to chit chat. Brazilians do not enter the meeting room and get right down to business. Pleasantries are commonly exchanged and this is even more common when meeting with a foreigner. Brazilians are kind by nature and will want to know how your visit is going.
- If you are hosting the meeting have water and coffee available. As an English teacher, even I am offered coffee, water, or both every time I meet with my students at their office.
- Do not expect things to be done as they would be in your country. Brazil is its own country and has its own way. Bureaucracy is an especially long and complicated. Patience is a must.
Overall, Brazil is a very welcome and inviting country. Respecting a few simple customs can make all the difference in business relationships.
Got any tips of your own? I would love to hear them!