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Business culture

The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
Brazilian business culture is relaxed but also sophisticated. Openness and friendliness are expected in most of the business dealings. Brazilians also value patience and being in control.

Brazil has a vertical hierarchical business structure, meaning final decisions will likely be made by the highest-ranking member of the counterparty. This may lead to longer wait periods.

The line between personal and professional relations is rather hazy. Brazilian business relations are more about individuals than companies, which highlights the importance of small talk (football, family, music), face to face conversations, and constantly staying in touch with business associates. Close proximity and physical contact are used during casual or business conversations, although business etiquette and culture becomes less relaxed the further south one goes in the country.
First Contact
The first contact may be initiated by email followed by a telephone call. Business executives generally have secretaries. Calls are the recommended form of contact until a face to face meeting is arranged. A meeting should often be set up several weeks ahead and confirmed in writing a few days before. It is advisable to speak Portuguese or to be accompanied by an interpreter when meeting in person. First contacts will also be more successful when introduced by a mutual acquaintance.
Time Management
Although the Brazilian approach to time is somewhat flexible, it is advisable to be punctual and not to show signs of frustration or impatience with delays. Do not set a fixed end time for meetings and program them from 10 a.m. to 12 noon or from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Greetings and Titles
Handshake is the most common greeting in Brazil. When first meeting someone, it is common to say "muito prazer" ("my pleasure"). "Como vai" and "Tudo bem" can also be used as greetings once you know someone. The first contact is relatively formal and it is normal to employ distinctive titles such as "Senhor", "Doutor" or "Engenhero", according to age and qualifications. Single women and younger women are addressed as "Senhorita". It is better to find out information about your counterparts before meeting them in order to know how to address them.
Gift Policy
Gifts are not recommended in the context of a professional meeting. It is more appropriate to offer a lunch or dinner instead of a gift. However, if a gift is offered it is best to give it in a social setting.
Dress Code
Dress code varies depending on the company, but are often formal and conservative. Men are expected to wear suits and ties while women are expected to be elegant. If hot weather is expected, light and natural fabrics like linen and cotton are advised. Also avoid combining green with yellow. Rolled-up sleeves and no jacket with business suits is more common in the tropical North.
Business Cards
Business cards are exchanged during introductions. Having a Portuguese translation of the flipside of the card is in good taste.
Meetings Management
It is important to get to know each other before negotiations start. It is therefore common to begin the meeting with small talk.

If making a presentation, it is advised to keep it short (30 minutes or less). You should expect to be interrupted often with questions, as Brazilian meetings can be energetic and boisterous. Presentations require you to be confident, eloquent, and prepared to explain in detail. If a follow-up meeting is required, make sure to program it face to face or over the phone.

As for behaviour, it is recommended to establish eye contact. Do not be offended if the other party takes a phone call during your meeting; it is not viewed as a sign of disrespect. Expect negotiations to be carried out in Portuguese. It is ideal to let the counterparty bring up business affairs. Remember interruptions are a sign of interest on the subject in Brazilian culture. If using humour, make sure it is done in a light and friendly way.

While dining or meeting, whoever invited normally pays, but the other party is expected to offer to pay.

Sources for Further Information
Doing business in Brazil
Brazil Guide
 
 

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Opening Hours

Opening Hours and Days
Saturday and Sunday
 

Public Holidays

New Year's Day 1 January
Carnival 4 days before Ash Wednesday
Good Friday (Friday before Easter) March/April
Labour Day 1 May
Ascension May
Independence Day 7 September
Our Lady of Aparecida 12 October
All Souls Day 2 November
Proclamation of the Republic 15 November
Feast of the Immaculate Conception 8 December
Christmas Day 25 December
St Sebastian's Day in Rio de Janeiro 20 January
Founding of the city of Sao Paulo 25 January
Our Lady of the Sailors in Porto Alegre 2 February
 

Periods When Companies Usually Close

Carnival one or two weeks
Christmas and New Year one or two weeks
 
For Further Information
Public holidays

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Latest Update: September 2022