Doing Business in Brazil Team: Jennifer Dion, Patricia Ahn and Weridiana Catunda
Overview Official Name – Federative Republic of Brazil Official Language – Portuguese Currency- Brazilian real ( BRL ) Capital City – Brasilia Largest economy in Latin America / 9 th largest economy in the world Diverse culture and geography Nearly 50% of the population is under 20 years of age
Family is #1 Brazil is a collectivist society which places family at the center of its social structure. Families tend to be large and close-knit, providing members security and connections. Nepotism is seen as a positive thing and often family members will be found working for the same company, either family owned or otherwise.
Relationships Similar to the importance placed on family, Brazilians depend heavily on relationships with others. Brazilians do business with people , not companies or organizations. Therefore, it is vital to take time getting to know your counterparts and letting them get to know you. Topics for conversation: soccer, children, family. AVOID Argentina , politics, religion and the rainforest. Personal contacts in Brazil are essential to business, so hire a middleman or despachante . Keep in mind that if a team or individual who has built a good working relationship with Brazil is replaced, the company goes back to square one as the relationship has to start from scratch.
Time Brazilians approach time in a very relaxed and flexible manner; Punctuality and precise plans are not common; Brazilians tend to live life at a slower pace, and this carries over into business which can result in negotiations taking much longer than you are used to; Meetings are often delayed or cancelled without any prior warning.
Public Holidays 01 de Janeiro – Universal Confraternization 15 e 16 de Fevereiro – Carnival 02 de Abril – Holy Friday 04 de Abril – Easter 21 de Abril – Tiradentes 01 de Maio – Labor Day 03 de Junho – Corpus Christi 07 de setembro – Independence Day 12 de outubro – Nossa Senhora Aparecida (padroeira do Brasil) 02 de Novembro – Day of the dead 15 de Novembro – Republic declaration 25 de December – Christmas
Negotiation Process Appointments – Schedule two to three weeks in advance and confirm once you arrive in Brazil. Also try to leave a few hours in between appointments in case they go on longer than anticipated. Expect questions about your company since Brazilians are more comfortable doing business with people and companies they know. Wait for your Brazilian colleagues to raise the business subject. Never rush the relationship- building time. Brazilians take time when negotiating. Do not rush them or appear impatient. Often the people you negotiate with will not have decision-making authority. Decision is made by top executives. It is advisable to hire a translator if your Portuguese is not fluent. Use local lawyers and accountants for negotiations. Brazilians resent an outside legal presence.
Meeting and Greeting Handshakes are the most common form of greeting and direct eye contact shows you are paying attention, interested and honest. In a small group, make sure to shake hands with everyone present. Business cards are exchanged during introductions with everyone at a meeting. Present your business card facing the recipient. Addressing your counterpart with their title and surname is the best way to greet them. Brazilian companies tend to have vertical hierarchies.
If invited to a Brazilian's house, bring the hostess flowers or a small gift. Orchids are considered a very nice gift, but avoid purple ones. Avoid giving anything purple or black as these are mourning colors. Handkerchiefs are also associated with funerals, so they do not make good gifts. Gifts are opened when received. Gift Giving
Breakfast Breakfast at home is: coffee(kids also), milk, bread and jam, sometimes cheese and ham, with fresh fruit. Usually it is served between 7:00 am until 10:00 am. Brazilians also enjoy eating a much more modest morning meal of toasted French bread and espresso at bakeries and cafés on the weekends. It's NOT OK to eat on the go... as a rule, Brazilians do not eat while walking down the street or while riding the bus, in the car or the subway.
Lunch In Brazil, lunch is sacred: a time to eat, but also to share precious moments with family and friends. Brazilians leave their offices to eat with their colleagues and friends in restaurants (by kilo) and cafés. Workers have usually 1 or sometimes 2 hours for lunch. It is served from 11:00 am until 3:00pm.
Dinner Dinner is served much later than in the U.S between 8:30pm or 9:00pm. In the big cities, children are a common sight in restaurants at night, since Brazilians will take their kids out to dinner at all hours. For many Brazilians dinner is a lighter meal of café au lait, bread, cheese and cold cuts.
Utensils Brazilians will usually use a fork and knife for pizza, open sandwiches, and even chicken; The fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right then, switch the fork from one hand to the other; Brazilians consider rude to place the elbows on the table;
Health Concerns Alcoholic drinks are uncommon during lunch. It is often in dinners; Smoking is prohibited in government and most corporate buildings;
Brazilian Cultural Quiz Are there two official languages in Brazil? 2. Do Brazilians tend to keep a large distance when speaking to each other? 3. Do Brazilians tend to place the individual before the company? 4. When eating, Brazilians will typically use a knife and fork even when eating open sandwiches, chicken or other food many Westerners will eat with their hands. 5. There is little red tape or bureaucracy in Brazil.
Quiz - Answers False. While some indigenous languages are still spoken, Portuguese is the only official language of Brazil, spoken by almost 100% of the population. 2. False. Brazilians tend to stand close together when they communicate and are not afraid to touch each other. 3. True. 4. True. 5. False. There is a fair amount of ‘red tape’ and bureaucracy in Brazil but Brazilians have mastered a way to ‘bend the rules’ without breaking them which they refer to as “jeitinho”.