The Language Barrier, Attitudes & Customs
THE LANGUAGE BARRIER
1. If you know a little bit of Portuguese use it. It will go a long way in cementing the business relationship. Speak it. It is a sign of respect, a demonstration that you are interested in at least trying. They really appreciate the fact that you are willing to appear less than competent in order to make them feel more comfortable. The aforementioned should not lead you into thinking you can negotiate a multi-million dollar deal with highschool Portuguese. Get help.
* Do not be intimidated with the prospect of maneuvering around Brazilian culture, just be humble and cautious. One of the biggest complaints from Brazilians and Latins is about the attitude of superiority seen from some U.S. business people. They say “These people come to our country thinking they are the conquistadores (conquerors) with the attitude “you need us”. What the U.S. needs to realize is that these attitudes are insulting and elicit nothing but contempt.
* Learn some aspects of their culture. This will surely be a plus for you. Brazilians usually know more about the American culture than Americans do about the Brazilian culture.
- 1. When you invite a client out to eat be sure you get the check first. The client might try to get it even though he has been invited. This is a custom out of politeness. It is helpful to let him know that you want to invite him and to please let you pay the check.
- 2. When walking with a woman always walk on the outside of the sidewalk (Street side). This is a custom showing she is on the safe side of the sidewalk and being protected. Also give her your arm when you are crossing a street.
- 3. When invited to dinner at a home, always take a small gift. A bottle of scotch, vodka or a box of chocolates.
The majority of women in Brazil expect you to open doors for them, seat them, help them take off or put on their coats or jackets.