Useful facts about Brazil

behavior in brazil

  • For business contacts, it is recommended to wait until you are on neutral, social ground to hand over your gift. Don’t forget the secretary! Proper gifts are things from abroad, filler, original packaged CD’s, candy, gummi bears and chocolates from Europe. Inappropriate gifts are silver objects such as scissors, knives and other sharp objects. In addition to that, do not present Perfume, lilies, yellow roses or Argentine wine.
  • For business meals invite preferably to the trendiest and most fashionable restaurant. Always eat with cutlery, as well as the fruit for dessert. As a matter of principle, who invites, pays the bill. Probably your guests are trying to take over the bill for you, so you arrange beforehand that only you will get the bill from the waiter or let it post directly to the guest room invoice.
  • Time management in Brazil is not the objective but the means to achieve the goal. „Amanhã“ (tomorrow) is the most common vocabulary in project meetings. A delay of 30-60 minutes is not uncommon. As a foreigner you better be on time.
  • Decision-making takes a lot of time in Brazil. Fixed dates are likely exceeded and payments often arrive late. Include that in advance while you do the planning.
  • The distance range is compared with Europe very small. Physical contact is very important to Brazilians and they always negotiate with distinct gestures.
  • In Latin America you primarily dress conservatively. In business, shorts and jeans are very uncommon. As a man wearing dress pants and a shirt with jacket is recommended, in top management suit and tie. As a woman, you dress according to European standards, but feminine, discreet and elegant.
  •  About 20% of the Brazilians live in poverty. As a businessman, you should seek information about safety precautions in and outside the company. Move only in safe territory and if possible only during the day. In the evenings, take a taxi from door to door, even for supposedly short distances.

Useful everyday tips

  •  April / May and September / October are good times for business matters
  • Even though usually tip is included in the bill, it is common to add 5-10%
  • Do not expect that your interlocutors speak english fluently. Translate all important documents with the help of an interpreter in local language.
  • When it comes to small talk, of course, sports (football) is ideal. If you do not share this passion, culture, eating, drinking or family, hobbies and profession is a good subject. Issues such as illegal emigrants, drug mafia and similiar topics you should not discuss abroad.
  • It is an honor for a foreigner to get an invitation to the private household. Bring an appropriate gift (see above). Leave a rest on your plate to show it was sufficient. At the earliest 30 minutes after the end of the meal you can leave the table.

festivals and public holidays

  • 01 st of January: New Year
  • 21 st of April: Tiradentes (In honor of the martyr of the Minas Conspiracy)
  • 01 st of May: Labour Day
  • 07 th of September: Independence of Brazil
  • 02 nd of November: All Souls‘ Day
  • 15 th of November: Proclamation of the Republic
  • 25 th of December: Christmas

    In addition, there are some regional holidays which vary from state to state. An important day for business trips is the birthday of the city São Paulo, which is celebrated on the 25th of January, but only in the city São Paulo.
    Moreover in Brazil there are is the day of Secretaries on which bosses bring gifts to their secretaries and employees or invite them to dinner.
    If a holiday occurs on a Tuesday or Thursday some shops are closed on the previous or next day.