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Business Etiquettes in Chile

Meeting & Greeting

Chileans like an element of formality in all they do. A firm handshake accompanied with a smile and appropriate greeting is normal in a business setting. Direct eye contact is important. Some women may not shake hands with men, although this is becoming less common.

Chileans stand very close when conversing. Always use surnames and titles – wait to be invited to use someone's first name.

Business Meeting

Chile has a relationship driven culture so initial meetings should be used to build a relationship and establish trust. Devote time to non-business discussions and wait for the other party to initiate the change in topic. Pay attention to hand movements – gestures change in meaning across cultures. It is common to interrupt someone while they are speaking.

Meetings are not always linear in their progression. Schedules are not very structured and issues can be tackled all at the same time. It is important to be patient as time is not of the essence in Chile - meetings will last as long as they need to last. Remember that decisions are not made at meetings so it is important to provide all necessary information during the meeting. Chileans are generally indirect in their communication styles, but can become very animated and assertive when if they get emotional.

Communication styles tend to be tuned to people's s feelings. Confrontation is generally avoided in order not to jeopardise another's honour or dignity – it may therefore be necessary to read between the lines in order to fully understand what is really meant. Never openly criticise anyone.

Business Dressing

When conducting business, consideration must be taken with dressing well, as personal presentation is a priority in Chile and is perceived as a sign of respect. Dress conservatively and formally. Be aware that the 'business casual' look of sports jackets, khakis, casual shoes will not be well-received. Men should wear suits (blue or grey), white shirts and conservative ties. Similarly, women should stick with blue or grey business suits and shoes with low heels.

Tuxedos and black tie are used only for diplomatic and very formal events, while dark suits are used for evening, or diplomatic engagements.

Business Cards

Business cards are exchanged on the initial meeting at the very start. Try and have one side translated into Spanish. Keep cards in good condition – a tatty card will reflect badly on you.




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