The Latest! Cultural Clues, Do’s and Taboos for Mexico
A Series of Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z
Cultural Clues & Communication Guidelines for Mexico
It’s easy for business travelers to think that even when they travel, business is going to be done pretty much the same way it is at home. But that’s not always the case. Cultural differences can have a big impact on global business etiquette. That’s why it’s important for business travelers to make sure that they understand the culture of the country that they’re doing business in.
This article on cultural differences in Mexico and cultural travel tips for Mexico is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Mexico tips for communicating in Mexico, and business strategies for Mexico to help with understanding the culture in Mexico. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture’, cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to cultural do’s and taboos for Mexico and tips for intercultural communication!
Cultural Tips for Mexico – including some valuable business travel tips for Mexico
When doing business in Mexico, keep in mind that they prefer to do business with people they know. Cultivating personal relationships with others will be crucial to your success.
Strive to establish contacts as high up in the organization as possible. If possible, use a local, well-connected person to make the necessary introductions for you.
In conversation, Mexicans talk easily and often about their families and private lives. They will expect the same of you.
Punctuality is not as much of a priority in the Mexican business culture. However, visitors should arrive on time.
The pace of business is also slower and time is more flexible. Expect time delays up to 30 minutes for business and even longer delays for social events.
Men will usually shake hands during greetings. A gentle grip is common. Handshakes at the end of a meeting are intended to affirm what was discussed or agreed to.
An ‘abrazo’ or hug with pats on the back is common on the 2nd or 3rd meeting. It is seen as a sign of good will in Mexican business culture.
In business, it’s appropriate for women to initiate handshakes with men. With each other, they may simply pat each other on the right forearm or shoulder. If they are particularly close, women may hug or kiss each other on the cheek.
Conversations occur at a much closer physical distance than many cultures may be accustomed to. Moving away to establish distance could be considered unfriendly. In response, a Mexican will often step forward and close the distance up again.
Mexican men are warm, friendly, and tend to initiate a lot of physical contact. They often touch shoulders or hold the arm of another. Withdrawing from these gestures could be perceived as an insult.
Mexicans often avoid saying “no” directly”. A “no” may be disguised by “maybe” or “we’ll see.”
It’s best to use this indirect approach in your business relationships so your Mexican counterparts don’t perceive you as being aggressive or pushy.
The appearance and presentation of letters and promotional materials are considered very important and will be subject to scrutiny. Place documents on the table with care. Never casually toss or throw them.
Mexican business people can be quite status-conscious, and it helps to have at least one member of your team from higher-level management.
It is usually an asset to mention any university degrees you hold.
Subjective feelings and emotional appeals are often effective in Mexico, so emphasize how your Mexican counterparts will benefit personally.
It’s good to mention the importance of trust, honor, loyalty, and pride in your company and family.
Negotiations are usually lengthy and may include a lot of bargaining. Usually, the highest person in authority makes the final decision.
Final decisions are always followed by a written agreement.
Mexicans may use a “psst-psst” sound to get another’s attention in public. This is not considered rude in Mexican business etiquette.
If purchasing things in Mexico, place your money directly in the vendor’s or clerk’s hand. Leaving your payment on the counter may give the impression that you feel they are beneath you.
5 Key Conversation or Cultural Gesture Tips
Mexican scenery and landmarks
Mexican art, culture, history, and music
Your family or job is always a good topic
The local Mexican cuisine and drink
Sports, especially Mexican “futbol” (soccer)
5 Key Conversation or Cultural Gesture Taboos
The “OK” gesture with the thumb and index finger is considered vulgar
Men should avoid putting their hands in their pockets as this is considered rude
Religious profanity is very offensive in Mexico
Putting your hands on your hips signifies that you’re making a challenge
Eye contact is less direct, so avoid looking at others too intently.
Join us in the future for Do’s and Taboos for the NETHERLANDS!
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Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, which is available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural training. She is a leader in the field of public speakers, motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers. She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!
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