In our second edition of Business Etiquette Around The World, we explore the country of Argentina. Over 40 languages are spoken there, but Spanish is dominant amongst its citizens. The influx of Italian immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries has shaped Argentine Spanish to have an Italian flair. For business professionals, we hope this list of business etiquette unique to Argentina will aid you in preparing to interact with Argentinians by offering a better understanding of how they do business.
Relationships & Communication
- Argentina is a relationship-driven culture, so it is important to build networks and use them.
- Argentinians maintain and use an intricate network of family and friends to call upon for help, favors or assistance.
- If a favor is done on one’s behalf, eventually they will expect that the favor is reciprocated.
- Name-dropping and nepotism do not have the same negative connotations that they have in the West and can be used as an advantage.
- Argentinians hold doing business with people they know and trust in high regard.
- They prefer face-to-face meetings rather than telephone or written communication, which are seen as impersonal.
- Once a relationship has developed, their loyalty will be to the individual rather than the organization that they represent.
- Looking good in the eyes of others is important to Argentinians. Therefore, they will judge a person not only on what is said but also on the way they present themselves.
- Avoid confrontation. Argentinians do not like publicly admitting they are incorrect.
- Showing respect to those in positions of authority is imperative. When dealing with people at the same level, communication can be more informal.
- Be alert for nuances and hidden meanings. It is a good practice to repeat details while becoming familiar with the culture to confirm that all business colleagues are in agreement.
Business Meeting Etiquette
- Appointments are necessary and should be made 1 to 2 weeks in advance, preferably by e-mail or telephone.
- Avoid January and February, as they are vacation months; also, the middle weeks of July are when many go skiing; as well as the two weeks, before and after Christmas.
- Arrive on time for meetings, although the person you are meeting may not be punctual.
- In some older, more bureaucratic organizations, the more important the person you are meeting, the longer they keep visitors waiting.
- Do not immediately begin discussing business. Small talk helps establish rapport.
- The person you are meeting may accept telephone calls and tend to other business while others are present.
- Have all printed material available in both English and Spanish.
- Decisions are not reached at meetings. Meetings are for discussion and to exchange ideas.
- Argentinians expect to deal with people of equal status.
- Hierarchy is necessary. Decisions are made at the top of the company. Business moves slowly because it is extremely bureaucratic. Decisions often require several layers of approval.
- Argentinians have a difficult time disagreeing, so do not think that things are going well simply because no one is challenging what you say.
What to Wear?
- Business attire is formal and conservative, yet stylish.
- Men should wear dark colored, conservative business suits.
- Women should wear elegant business suits or dresses.
- Good quality accessories are essential for both sexes.
- Dress well if you want to make a good impression.
Business Card Etiquette
- Business cards are given without formal ritual.
- Have one side of your business card translated into Spanish.
- Present your business card, so the Spanish side faces the recipient.
Aside from being breathtakingly beautiful, this South American country is a fantastic place to live and work. By paying attention to these business and cultural tips, you can ensure a seamless engagement when doing business. And don’t forget your Argentine Pesos!
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