The fifth largest country in the world – Brazil: Where almost 200 million people live, with an average age of only 30 years (in Austria: 44 years). The land of 'eternal summer' is a country rich in natural resources that has countless tourist attractions and an almost unsurpassed variety of natural wonders and wildlife.
And Brazil is also often mentioned in terms of its business importance. Almost every industry is represented here. This unique South American BRIC country (the others are Russia, India and China) holds a lot of potential for the future, even though many challenges have to be overcome – such as in the areas of education, infrastructure, health care and the fight against corruption and crime.
Those who want to do business here need to know a few things – there are several differences to the West European culture. The Brazilian Business Etiquette Manual describes the most important factors in this culture:
- Flexible punctuality at work: It is an old wives’ tale that appointments and meetings do not begin punctually – but a certain amount of flexibility in terms of punctuality is usual in Brazil. Still, the top priority is always mutual respect among business partners.
- Consensus rather than confrontation: Brazilians make collective decisions and always strive for harmony when working together. They are open and interested in new ideas. Their decision path is one of consensus and not confrontation.
- Friendships and familial atmosphere: People who do business together have a much closer relationship than is usual in Europe. A trusting, long-term relationship, practically friendship, is not uncommon among business partners.
- Contact and communication strengths: Where in Europe’s business world, you might write an e-mail or pick up the phone, in Brazil personal contact with colleagues is preferred. Nothing beats a personal meeting and a “face-to-face” conversation.
- Warmth and enthusiasm: Brazilians are very warm and hospitable, both in their private lives and at work. They are interested in the other person and enthusiastic about learning the new and unknown. Respectful and considerate cooperation come first – even when dealing with problems or criticism.
Anyone who wants to build up business relationships in Brazil will quickly notice the differences to Western Europe. Like any intercultural contact, it all comes down to sensitivity and tact when working together. Much of the South American mentality will certainly appeal to Central Europeans. Because if you think about it, everyone is a little bit ‘Brazilian’ deep in their hearts.