Business etiquette in Latin America has been very much influenced by its colourful history from the Spanish invasion onwards. However, it cannot be said that the region is a homogeneous community with shared business etiquette. In general, business people in Latin America are seen to be pre-disposed to be effusive, garrulous and inquisitive, although business etiquette in some areas such as Bolivia or Peru tends to be more reserved in nature.
Just at the countries across Latin America are diverse in nature, so are are their weather patterns. When planning a business trip to the region it pays to check the weather and climate setting off.
It is advisable to ensure when setting out on a business visit to Latin America that documents and material relating to business has been translated into Spanish. Indeed this would be seen as correct etiquette. It is further advised that close attention should be paid when in Latin America to timing. It would not be etiquette to arrive late for a meeting and it is essential to allow for traffic in heavily congested areas.
An accepted etiquette in most Latin American countries is that of the concept of family which can extend beyond ties to fellow colleagues, so that they may mix business with leisure including members of family and nepotism is common. Seniority relating to age in business, especially in family concerns in Latin America is regarded as appropriate etiquette and the older member is often the person to have the last say.
It is also common etiquette in Latin America to conduct matters of business in a more relaxed manner than that of their western counterparts. They tend to consider that it is good business to become more acquainted through convivial conversation so that patience becomes a must. It would not be good etiquette to attempt to take over a conversation. Latin Americans prefer to leave the managers to have the control.
Another form of accepted etiquette during business discussion in Latin America often involves sitting closer to one another than would be seen as general practice in North America or Europe. It would not be etiquette however, to try to change position and move away as this could be construed as hostile.
Business people in the region are predominantly conservative in their dress and can be quite status conscious so it is essential etiquette to dress accordingly so as not to cause offence by dressing down.