Brazil has been in the spotlight lately. The Olympics will be hosted there this summer and São Paulo is always high on the list of most-visited destinations for business travelers. Frequent fliers, it’s time for a primer on Brazilian business etiquette.
Brush up on etiquette essentials
Dress to impress, but don’t bring gifts—they may be seen as a bribe. Remember that the three-fingered “okay” symbol we make in the US is considered vulgar. Do a thumbs up instead.
Give a proper greeting
Like in the US, a firm handshake and eye contact are appreciated. It’s common among everyone from close friends to business acquaintances to kiss once or twice on the cheek. Take time to greet each person in the room individually.
Make it a great (if a little long) meeting
Most business is done in person, as opposed to over the phone. Brazilians are accustomed to a lot of chatting before getting down to business. Meetings are slow and casual—interruptions and diversions from the agenda are common and totally acceptable.
Have a long lunch
Meetings are often followed by a long lunch, where you can take the time to create personal connections with your local hosts—avoid business talk unless they bring it up first. Use a fork and knife for everything (even things we’d consider finger foods in the US, like fruit) except bread, which you can hold with a napkin.