Brazil Business Etiquette and Dress Code

Are you planning on traveling to Brazil for a business trip? If so, it’s important to know the fundamental cultural traditions and norms to ensure your trip is successful and smooth. Follow these tips for proper Brazil business etiquette.

Meetings and Gift Giving

In Brazil, being a well-socialized team player is key to successfully develop business relationships. According to Brazilian etiquette expert Sandra Branco, it is important to shake hands firmly and maintain direct eye contact with people you meet. Brazilian culture involves close physical contact, so if you are reserved in these situations you may come across as untrustworthy. In addition, while leaving, it is important to shake everyone’s hand to avoid offending anyone. In Brazil, an insult to one member of a group is seen as an insult against the group as a whole.

Business etiquette in Brazil also involves frequent communication. Face-to-face meetings are preferred over email exchanges or conference calls. Important meetings should be scheduled in advance and confirmed two days ahead of time. Expect to arrive on time instead of coming early, and don’t be surprised if it takes a while for business to start. Simply showing up and expecting a meeting with someone is considered presumptuous and rude.

Investing a few minutes in casual conversation will go a long way in forming business relationships. Let your host begin the business discussions. Conversations should focus on light topics, such as sports, family and the natural beauty of Brazil’s beaches. Avoid politics, religion, the rainforest or any personal questions about age and salary.

On occasion, you might have a meeting in a restaurant or other public venue. These meetings are typically less formal and meant for forging friendships. It is best to leave business discussions for formal settings.

If you are the host of the meeting, you should pay the check. Get-togethers that take place in someone’s home should be followed up with a thank you note and flowers. Avoid giving any purple and black gifts as those colors represent mourning in Brazil.

Looking Your Best

While being well mannered and comfortable with some invasion of personal space are important, it is also essential to look presentable. This means you need to be well dressed. Women and men should be conservative, with women wearing a skirt and jacket or dress, and men wearing dark-colored suits. Excessive jewelry or accessories should be avoided.

Being well-dressed, however, isn’t the most important factor in being successful. Staying in a good hotel, networking, hiring a reputable local translator and hosting lavish presentations will help impress business people and close deals.

Business Women in Brazil

The majority of women in Brazil are progressive and assertive, especially in the work place. Foreign women doing business in this country should do their best to exude the same confidence. Foreigners should also understand that having drinks after work is a sign of friendship.

Key Points to Doing Business in Brazil

  • Put effort into your appearance.
  • Focus on building friendships first.
  • Respect the team/collectivist approach in Brazil, especially when solving problems.