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Business culture

How do I greet and address?
Shake hands when you greet. Titles and surnames are considered at the beginning of a business relationship, and then only first names are used.

Is there a defined dress code?
Men usually wear a formal ensemble composed of a suit and a tie. Wearing a short sleeve shirt and taking off the jacket are also acceptable given the hot weather. Dress-pants, skirts, dresses or a nice shirt compose the business dress code for women. Accessories are permitted.

What should I consider in business meetings?
Do not book appointments more than two weeks in advance. It is important to get a confirmation for the meeting to take place. Meetings do not always start on time, but the visitor should always notify if he or she is late. Even though an increasing number of meetings is held in English, negotiations still occur mostly in Portuguese. Negotiators generally sit on different sides of the table.

What are considered effective negotiation techniques?

  • Brazilian businessmen and women are well prepared and want to quickly finalize negotiations. Negotiations do not procrastinate.
  • Verbal agreements do not always represent a true commitment. Be sure to confirm in writing on what was verbally agreed upon.
  • Contracts should be well thought out so that they cover all the possible loops in the Brazilian legislation. Lawyers should review the agreements.

What else should I consider?

  • Governmental bureaucracy is cumbersome. It is recommended to engage someone locally who can liaise with the authorities.
  • Body contact is a common way to demonstrate friendly affection.
  • Holiday season in December and Carnaval in February/March are not the best time for business.
  • Agreements should be comprehensive and reviewed by an attorney.

Source: "The Unwritten Rules" (2003) Industrial Literature and Business Sweden in Brazil