The Latest! Cultural Clues… Do’s & Taboos A series of cultural tips for countries from A to Z Communication Guidelines for Argentina
Expect Argentines to speak Castilian Spanish with an Italian accent rather than the Mexican dialect of Spanish.
It may be a good strategy to make an appointment in Argentina with an “enchufado”, an individual who has high-level contacts in your field. This person can make the necessary introductions on your behalf.
If you want to deal with this country’s government, it is often helpful to have an Argentine contact act as an intermediary before you attempt to make an appointment.
Argentines like to engage in “small talk.” Generally, they are very sociable and take a genuine interest in Argentine cultural affairs.
Try not to take offense if people make jokes at your expense, even if remarks are directed at your weight or other aspects of your appearance. This kind of comment is actually a sign that your Argentine companions are comfortable around you.
Women, in particular, may be asked personal questions, for example, their marital status and weight. Try to give a discreet reply. If you absolutely don’t want to answer, remain polite and gracefully side step the question.
Many Argentines actually like getting into discussions about politics and religion, however as a visitor, it will be in your best interests not to get involved.
Hierarchy is important in Argentine business culture. Senior executives and others of status always are given great respect. Moreover, top executives will play key roles in the final decision. Needless to say, your professional status and ranking will be important to your Argentine counterparts.
As friendships develop, enthusiastic kissing, hugging and back patting often follow handshakes. Follow the lead of your Argentine counterparts, as they may take offense if you try to recoil from these gestures.
Avoid discussing the war in the Falkland Islands, since this is an episode that the Argentines would prefer to leave behind. If the subject does come up, the islands should be referred to by their Argentine name, the Malvinas Islands.
Welcome Topics of Conversation
- Any topic having to do with Argentine art, theater, movies and opera
- Sports, such as futbol (soccer), U.S. style football is called “futbol americano”
- Your international travels and the area of Argentina you’re visiting
- Restaurants, food and wine in Argentina
- The beauty of local parks and gardens
- Compliments are welcome!
Conversation to Avoid
- Criticizing or joking about Argentine culture and traditions
- Personal questions and inquiries about family until you have become better acquainted with them
- Praising Argentina’s neighbors, particularly Chile. Argentina has fought wars with all of neighboring countries
- Negative comments about Argentina’s government, cities, or Argentina’s sports teams
- Religion in Argentina
- Political opinions in Argentina
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