As I am currently spending some time in Mexico, I want to share some important tips for doing business with this warm, friendly and interesting culture.
Greetings – Businessmen typically shake hands with one another and they may also pat each other on the back. Businesswomen will shake hands initially with newcomers but at a second introduction will very quickly will offer the right cheek for one kiss (to both male and female counterparts). This one kiss greeting at the start of the day and the end of the day is a daily ritual in the workplace. A visitor will quickly be included in this practice.
Concept of Time – While it is generally considerate for you to be punctual, you may have to wait for others to arrive for meetings or business meals. Timekeeping is quite fluid in Mexico and appointment times and meetings may not be strictly adhered to. Don’t take offence, just be aware that you may have to wait to get things started.
Business Style – Business dealings will proceed more slowly than some visitors are accustomed to. Foreign visitors should not attempt to change the speed of business in Mexico by trying to rush discussions or the decision-making processes. This may affect the professional relationship as impatience may be viewed as weakness.
Business Relationships – Mexico has a hierarchical and quite formal business structure, yet is warm and friendly. Relationship building is crucial in Mexican business and having a local intermediary at the correct hierarchal rank to assist with introductions will go a long way towards successful integration.
General Business Etiquette – Personal space may be closer than you are used to, but is similar to many Latin American countries. Business meals are considered important as this is the time during which relationships are built. The overall atmosphere of business and negotiations may depend on the region, with the southern regions leaning toward a more informal atmosphere while Mexico City and northern areas are slightly more reserved.
The Etiquette Consultant