Traveling to Brazil? Want to impress the people you are meeting or want to make sure that you do not offend anybody? Establishing relationships is a vital part of doing business. View the following list of cultural and business etiquette in Brazil recommended for foreigners:
Brazil Business Etiquette Guidelines
Unlike the rest of Latin America, Brazil is a country with many cultural traditions. Do not forget that Portuguese is the official language rather than Spanish. Both are quite similar and some Brazilians may understand Spanish.
- Men shake hands and women greet with a kiss on the cheek. If a woman prefers to shake hands with a man, she should extend her hand first.
- Brazilians prefer to meet in person before conducting business.
- It is also important to understand nepotism in Brazil. As in much of Latin America, it is a positive thing to hire a trusted family member
- Brazilians can cancel or delay meetings at the last minute, even if the appointments were up to three weeks in advance.
- Brazilians expect punctuality in meetings, particularly in Sao Paulo and Brasilia. Nonetheless, in Rio de Janeiro and northern other cities people may be a few minutes late.
- If you are invited to the home of a Brazilian, show up 30 minutes late and bring a small gift such as an orchid. Avoid purple and black and a handkerchief which are associated with death and funerals. If you did not have time, send flowers to the host or hostess the following day.
- Furthermore, dress formally. Dark-colored suits are standard for men and for women.
- Brazilians do judge people based on their appearance. Therefore, you should always overdress rather than underdress if you are ever in doubt.
- Finally, never use the okay sign in Brazil as it is designed offensive as well.
Brazilian expect tipping in many service areas. Each situation is unique. Below is a general guideline:
- Bars and Restaurants – 10% is included but you are not required to pay it. Most people do pay the 10%.
- Clubs and Pubs – Much of the time, people have to pay a running tab at the night’s end. Also, a 10% tip included on the bill and Brazilian expect to be paid.
- Beach Vendors – Tip your beach vendor, particularly if you spend several days at the beach. Use the same vendor each time and with a tip, your service will be impeccable.
- Beauty Services – Tipping not expected.
- Delivery – Tipping not expected as a delivery charge will be incurred.
- Maids and Bellboys – R$5 per person.
- Tour Guides – Brazilian pass a hat around at the end and the tip is whatever you feel appropriate.
- Taxis – Tipping is not required.
- A radio taxi does not have a meter as destinations are a fixed price. Nonetheless, regular taxis from the street should have meters and should use them.
- If a driver does not start the meter, insist or find another. To be as safe as possible, use a taxi queue rather than hailing one from the street.
- Taxi stands often have numbers you can call to be picked up as well. The drivers who operate from these stands have all invested into them. Thus, customer service is of the highest importance. You can also use a taxi app in many of the large cities such as UBER.
- Only pay once you reach your desired destination as you would do in any city anywhere in the world. It is also advisable to carry small bills, again as you would in any city.
- Most hotels and shops will not accept travelers’ checks. Use ATMs and cash points to take out Brazilian reals. It is the most recommended with the best exchange rates. Keep in mind that it is not uncommon for a cash point to be broken.
- You should always carry at least some small bills with you to exchange in case of such an incident. The most accepted credit cards are Visa and MasterCard. However, American Express and Diner’s Club are also accepted.
- Keep in mind you might be able to negotiate a better price or rate by using cash at hotels and shops. It is also not a bad idea to use prepaid credit cards in Brazil to avoid any potential security threats.
- If you take money out of an ATM, review the bills. If you see any sort of pink marks on the bills, take note of the ATM location and immediately take them to the bank to get them changed. Pink marks on bills are a precautionary method warning shops not to accept the bills. It may means that the ATM has been tampered with or damaged. If the ATM does not have a bank location in the city, take the bills to a police station to fill out a report.