08 August 2013

Business Styles – Brazil

Will they be ready? For what? The 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics of course. They can be a bit ‘last minutish’ but Brazil gets there with flare and style. If you’re going there or working with Brazilians here’s what to expect.

1 SIZE MATTERS – THINK BIG AND BOLD

Brazil has the largest economy in Latin America and is one of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China). It is the world’s fifth biggest country and the 7th largest economy. Think big. Big plans, big projects and big ideas. And think new.

2 DON’T THINK PORTUGAL, THINK BRAZILIAN

Portuguese is the language of Brazil. But Brazil is not Portugal and they can be sensitive about it. Call them Brazilians, never Portuguese. Make sure all business cards and sales literature is in English and Brazilian Portuguese, never Spanish.

3 STYLE MATTERS

How you look is important in Brazil. Be well turned-out, never shabby. Stylish clothes, even casual wear and good accessories are noticed and approved of. Don’t assume the ‘beach culture’ of Rio extends inland. Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Curitiba are business cities like those in Europe and the US.

4 FAMILY AND FRIENDS

For Brazilians there is no state security. Security and prosperity comes from your network of family and friends. Socialise, make contacts and build your network. Once you’ve built it keep in touch with it. Start formal but Brazilians go informal very quickly as soon, in fact, as a relationship is established.

5 BE RELAXED ABOUT TIME

Brazilians focus on the relationship and the task at hand. Time is less important. If you are tight on time make it clear but do it in a warm way. ‘Tempo Americano, Não tempo Brazileiro.’ Be prepared to repeat deadlines after each work session to make sure they are adhered to.

6 JEITINHO CULTURE

Jeitinho means ‘little way’. It means there is a way round everything. In a bureaucratically challenging country like Brazil this is important. Let your Brazilian colleagues advise you. Be careful, however. Jeitinho can also imply corruption or bribery.

7 SHOW YOUR HUMAN SIDE

Be warm, relaxed and share how you feel. This is a young, multi-cultural and vibrant society. It has great architecture, music, art and cultural heritage. Show interest in learning about it. Your interest will be richly rewarded. Enjoy Brazil!

SIMON & SIMON’s one and two-day cultural training and International Communication Skills programmes will save you management time and money. They go into detail on communication, organisation, leadership and etiquette and tell you from experience where problems might arise as well as answering any questions.

To see how our cultural and communication training and International Communication Skills programmes will benefit your organisation visit our Cultural Training webpage – or call us now, on 020 7821 0999

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