From the March/April 2012 issue
*Men shake hands when greeting one another, while maintaining steady eye contact.
*Women generally kiss each other, starting with the left and alternating cheeks.
*Hugging and backslapping are common greetings among Brazilian friends.
*If a woman wishes to shake hands with a man, she should extend her hand first.
*Business cards are exchanged during introductions with everyone at a meeting.
*It is advisable, although not required, to have the other side of your business card translated into Portuguese.
*Present your business card with the Portuguese side facing the recipient.
*Never rush the relationship-building phase; relationships are of utmost importance to Brazilians.
*Wait for your Brazilian guest to raise the business at hand.
Brazilians need to know who they are doing business with before they can work effectively, and in fact the individual they deal with is more important that the company. That being said, expect lots of questions about your company since Brazilians are more comfortable doing business with people and companies they know.
Brazilians are fairly informal and do not rely on strict rules of protocol. Anyone who feels they have something to say will generally add their opinion, and it is considered acceptable to interrupt someone who is speaking.
When possible, they prefer face-to-face meetings to written communication as it allows them to know the person with whom they are doing business. At the same time, when it comes to business agreements, Brazilians insist on drawing up detailed legal contracts.
The Brazilian meeting style is rather informal. Expect to be kept waiting, as Brazilians see time as something outside of their control, and believe that the demands of relationships take precedence over adhering to a strict schedule. Expect to be interrupted while you are speaking or making a presentation.
Negotiating with Brazilians can be a bit different. Brazilians take time when negotiating, and it is important to not rush or appear impatient; in fact, expect to spend a great deal of time reviewing details. Brazilians negotiate with people not companies. Don’t change your negotiating team or you may have to start over from the beginning.