If you want to build strong work relationships in Brazil, it is very important to be aware both of the Brazilian culture and your own culture. First of all, be prepared to commit long-term resources (to be exact in time and money) if you want to establish strong relationships in Brazil. This is the key to business success and applies within the workplace as well as with customers and suppliers.
Relationship-oriented or task-oriented? What kind of people are the Brazilians? Let’s figure it out by reading the following points and discover the Dos and Don’ts of Brazil in order to help you build strong relationships with Brazilians:
Brazilians are very polite and never want to be rude or upset somebody, partly due to the value they place on personal contact. As I’ve previously mentioned about patience, be prepared to be interrupted during dialogues. Brazilians are eloquent and passionate conversationalists. Moreover, business negotiations are developed at a slower pace, that’s why you should take your time when communicating with Brazilians and instead of jumping into business straight away. For Brazilians personal relationships are keys to do business in their country. Hence the popular expression: “For friends, everything. For enemies, the law.”
You need to be ready to devote some time for non-work related conversation, which will give people the chance to settle into the environment. Try to avoid a direct, aggressive approach. Brazilians will not make business with a person whom they do not trust.
Soccer (football), family, Brazil’s beautiful beaches and the country’s fast development are all suitable conversation topics. Topics that you should avoid include politics, religion, and the rainforest. Personal topics such as age, salary and marital or job status are also unacceptable. Stay away from phases such as, “Is it true that everyone in Brazil is either very rich or very poor?” As possibly, you will be talking with someone that isn’t either one of those.
4 Speak Some Portuguese
You will make a good impression if you speak some Portuguese and a very bad one if you start speaking Spanish, which is considered an insult to many Brazilians. At the beginning of and throughout the conversation it is important to appear self-assured. During conversation try to always keep a soft-spoken manner.
5 Concept of “face”
It may come as a surprise to learn that Brazilians are very much governed by the concept of ‘face’, like Asian countries. Social interaction should be geared towards not causing someone to lose face, and also to not losing face yourself. What is more important is to recognise that Brazil has very much ‘group culture’ implemented – don’t do anything to cause a Brazilian to lose face, e.g., don’t criticize an individual in a group meeting.
Overall, take your time and don’t get down to business unless your Brazilian partners start before you. Be a good conversationalist and be flexible in your approach to discussions. Brazilians tend to be quite analytical, so back up your arguments with facts. As you can see now, Brazilians are relationship-oriented and would like to know more about the persons they are dealing with, and therefore you should consider all mentioned points in order to build strong-working relationships with Brazilians.
If you want to find out more about building relationship across cultures read this article: