10 tips for doing business in Brazil

Published on March 3rd, 2021

Here are 10 essential tips for making a good impression when doing business with Brazilians:

1. Meet in person

Brazilians like to know the person they are doing business with. Meet in person rather than communicating by email. Use a business liaison, or ‘despachante’, to make introductions and help with red tape and making things happen.

2. Adjust your expectations

Meetings are conducted at a slower pace than North Americans or Europeans might be used to. Do not be impatient. Allow time at the beginning of a meeting for small talk.

3. Recognise the group

Brazil is a collectivist culture and people expect to be protected by the group. Do not single out individuals for criticism in front of their colleagues.

4. Aim high

Try to negotiate with the most senior person possible. This may not happen; you may end up in negotiation with middle managers who will make recommendations, but try nonetheless.

5. Be flexible

Appointments may be changed at the last minute. Try not to get annoyed if this happens.

6. Be prepared to be interrupted

Brazilians are expressive in conversation and may interrupt in the heat of the moment and the spirit of the discussion. This is not a sign of rudeness.

7. Take your time

Negotiations often go on for a long time as all the details of a deal are reviewed. Do not show impatience while this is happening.

8. Dress well

Brazilians are generally well-groomed for business and will take care with their appearance. They will judge others on the same.

9. Learn Portuguese

A grasp of Portuguese is essential if you plan to manage a team in Brazil.

10. Be correct

Never, ever refer to Brazil as ‘Latin America’ and do not assume that someone with ‘Latin American’ experience will be the right person to do business in Brazil.

Learn more about Brazil with our quick video guide:

WRITTEN BY TERENCE BRAKE

Terence Brake is an author in the global learning & development field and has over 20 years experience helping executives to work better across cultures.


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