Mexico is a wonderful country to do business in, no matter where you personally may call home. This is due to the myriad of global facilities located in the country that are managed by a dedicated workforce. Here, we share a few best business practices to master before you head to Mexico to ensure your assignment is successful.
Upon meeting someone new, start with "Hola, me llamo es nombre," which means "Hi, my name is name" You can add, "Yo soy de country" if you want to say what country you are coming from.
A handshake is a common greeting in Mexico. It is a firm snap and done once, quickly. Handshakes between men and women and among women aren’t as robust as those among men.
When greeting trusted business colleagues, an extra touch on the elbow, a hug, or embrace will generally occur. This could happen as soon as the second meeting. Eye contact during the introduction is important, and you should maintain eye contact throughout the conversation.
Mexicans are animated, physically expressive, but rarely overly passionate in their expression. Make sure that your gestures show restraint and are cool.
On Dressing for the Part
Until told otherwise, it is best to dress formally in the office. Good taste is important in Mexico and should be reflected in the clothes you wear.
At work, men wear stylish suits, white shirts, and sophisticated ties. Shoes must be polished, and accessories such as watches, cufflinks, and tie clips are common.
Women usually accessorize so that a simple outfit stands out. Women have a great deal of variety in their clothing options. Skirts, dresses and pants are all worn often formally and informally.
Informal attire at social gatherings might mean a jacket and tie for men. It is uncommon for men to wear jeans, sneakers, and t-shirts to social functions.
On Building Relationships
Getting to know your colleagues is a vital part of business. Mexicans are friendly and genuinely interested learning about others. A proper greeting and small talk are common at the beginning of meetings, and conversation topics can include family, health, and sports. Establishing trust and creating relationships will help hasten processes and overcome hurdles.
On Office Etiquette
Office doors, especially for senior management, are often closed so make sure to knock first before entering. When leaving, close the door behind you. People tend to organize their day according to the tasks they must accomplish and the relationships they depend upon in order to accomplish these tasks. Therefore, timeliness is less important. Their day may begin slowly, but it is not uncommon for people to stay late in the office to complete tasks.
Mexicans generally do not divulge information easily. They are usually circumspect in their communication styles, and will indicate their thoughts in indirect ways. They will respect someone who comes to them with already established knowledge and experience, and will build relationships based on your position in society.
Bargaining is the essence of the negotiation, as a way to build trust. Be reasonable, but do not over-compromise.
Be real, share your background and upbringing, as this will increase your trustworthiness as a friend. Plan meetings in advance and expect changes.
Want to read more about life and business in Mexico? Check out a few of our other posts:
- Biking in Mexico City
- Schooling in Mexico
- World of Wonder: Mexico
- Spotlight On: Polanco, Mexico City