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Important Things to Consider When Negotiating with Brazilians

Posted on the 23 August 2013 by Angelicolaw @AngelicoLaw

Conversations of any kind with someone from a different culture can be a challenge. But when that conversation is a negotiation of a business deal worth many thousands or millions of dollars, how you interact and communicate with your negotiation counterpart has serious and long-lasting implications.

It’s important to take stock of your own cultural attitudes and predispositions before deciding how to negotiate with someone from a different culture. After this self-examination, you can then assess the cultural attitudes and predispositions of your counterpart with an open mind.

Here are a few important things to consider when negotiating with Brazilians.

Know the Language

A common mistake many foreigners make is the assumption that Brazilians speak Spanish because they are located in South America. Brazil’s native language is Portuguese. But because their second language is English, there won’t be a significant language barrier. But why not impress them by bringing someone who speaks Portuguese to the negotiation?

Negotiating Means Negotiating

Brazilians come to the table with the intention of negotiating. What’s meant here is that they will normally start at a high number – higher than you may think is reasonable. Their expectation is that you will continue the negotiation by offering a lower number. They will always leave room for negotiation. It’s an important part of the Brazilian style of doing business.

Brazilians Are Risk Adverse

Brazilians are naturally risk adverse. They are conservative and have a need for security and predictability. When negotiating, it’s wise to highlight parts of the deal that offer them security and reduce risk.

Relax and Get to Know Your Brazilian Counterpart

Brazilians are less interested in a time schedule than in direct personal contact. It’s the personal relationship that strengthens your credibility and their confidence in you. So take time to get to know your Brazilian counterpart, even though you may naturally want to keep a strict time schedule.

When it comes to relationships, Brazilians don’t make a strong distinction between personal and business relationships. In fact, they are highly critical of people who do make such a distinction. Social gatherings, even within a business context, are important to Brazilians.  They are very comfortable doing business in a social setting. The conversations that take place away from the negotiating table increase their overall comfort.

It’s All About Cultural Awareness and Respect

Being open-minded about inherent cultural differences is the key. Respecting the culture you are dealing with goes a long way. Even if you don’t fully understand the culture, your faux pas may be excused.


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