Lico Reis Consultoria & Línguas
Rua Domingos Rois. Alves 321
Guaratinguetá - SP - Brazil
Doing Business Abroad - Spain
Phone: 55 12 3133 1393 For the international business person doing
business in a foreign country offers certain
intercultural challenges. Differences in
culture mean differences in etiquette and
Understanding a country's business culture,
protocol and etiquette is important in
achieving success abroad.
This guide to doing business in Spain offers
some introductory points to some of the
above mentioned areas such as business
culture and etiquette.
Laico Reis Consultoria & Línguas
Doing Business Abroad
Meeting & Greeting
When doing business in Spain
handshakes are standard as with
the rest of Europe. First-time
introductions will be formal; as the
relationship develops it will
naturally become less so. It is
always a good idea to try and use
some of the local language.
A simple means of doing so is in
using the appropriate greeting for
the time of day - "Buenos
dias" (good day), "Buenas
tardes" (good evening) or "Buenas
noches" (good night).
Most people can be greeted using Señor (Mr), Señora (Mrs) or Señorita
(Miss) followed by their surname. You may also hear people being
addressed with their professional titles; Profesor may be used with
teachers and engineers are referred to as Ingeniero.
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Initial meetings may be more focused on the
relationship rather than business. Let your Spanish
counterpart take the lead.
There may be an agenda and a starting time, but they
serve more as guidelines rather than a rigid timetable.
Issues may be discussed simultaneously rather than
separately. Several people may also try to speak at once
and interruptions are not uncommon. If this happens it
should not be interpreted as rude but rather an
indication that what you were saying was of great
When doing business in Spain remember that
agreements must first be reached orally and then in
writing. Decision-making is carried out at the top of a
Business Lunch Protocol
1. Be on time.
2. Lunch rarely starts before 2:30 p.m.
3. A luncheon is a social occasion first, a business event
4. Your guests will be impressed if you pick an appropri-
ate restaurant. Spaniards like to be seen by and see peo-
ple they know.
5. Most meals are accompanied by wine. Spaniards like
their excellent domestic reds (vino tinto) so much that
they will drink them with not only meat, but also the tra-
ditional white wine dishes of fish and fowl.
6. Hands should be kept above the table at all times, if necessary resting the forearms on the table
7. When business does come up, talk principles. Do not pull spreadsheets or reports from your
briefcase, start drawing calculations on the napkin, or press on money-related subjects.
8. If you are the host, signal discretely for the bill (la cuenta) after the coffee has been served and
liquors offered. The waiter will never bring the bill to you unasked, but he will be prompt once
you have done so.
9. Your business lunch may appear to end with nothing more than warm thanks and a promise to
follow up, but expect results. Be conscientious about anything you have promised.