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Doing business in Brazil: when in Rio…

Carlos Gonzalez-Carrasco, intercultural business consultant at Farnham Castle, offers tips on doing business in Brazil.

• The first time you meet you might not discuss business. Prepare a presentation about your company’s background and specific people.

• Send a representative with authority. Brazilians will not take junior delegates seriously.

• Brazilians don’t like aggressive or pushy people who try to oversell in meetings.

• Understand where the potential client is coming from, whether it is a political or prestigious project, or a more technical or financial viewpoint.

• Status is important in Brazil. The boss may speak first. Once the potential client knows you better they may be inclined to do business sitting next to you.

• Meetings are largely in Portuguese, so an interpreter – who can pick up on body language as well – is vital. Make sure you hire your own.

• The handshake is generally firm. Kissing is reserved for close business relationships.

• There is an emphasis on first impressions, so being well dressed is very important.

• Never schedule meetings too early – your Brazilian counterpart may have been out late. 10am is a good start.