Published : Dec 6, 2017

Doing Business in Latin America

Latin America is a fertile area for business growth. It is rich in natural resources (Venezuela and Colombia, for example, have vast reserves of oil, natural gas and metals), and is relatively close to Canada.

But the difference between closing a deal, or not, often depends on understanding the culture.

  • Latin Americans are fashion conscious: dress is important in making a good impression, suits for men and conservative dresses and business suits for women
  • Men and women shake hands upon meeting, and it’s considered disrespectful not to make very direct eye contact
  • Don’t expect to make a deal after one meeting, even two. Latin American business executives like getting to know their potential partners on a social basis first
  • Be punctual, but don’t be offended if your host is not; 30 minutes late is not uncommon in Colombia
  • Have one side of your business card printed in Spanish, and present that side when meeting
  • Latin American business people generally stand closer when making conversation. But, there are some differences. Colombians are less likely to make physical contact. In Venezuela, it’s not uncommon for someone to touch you on the arm or shoulder
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