Business Meeting

The customary business greeting begins with handshaking and a polite greeting, before and after the meeting

Colombians pay attention to body language and are very good listeners

When presenting materials and documentation, use visual aids as much as possible

It is best to check prior to presenting if a translator is required to avoid causing discomfort

When forming your negotiation team, take time to select the proper members

Colombians stand closer together when conversing

It is impolite to yawn in public

Colombian women will often substitute the gesture of holding forearms for a handshake

Colombians indicate that someone is stingy by tapping their fingers on their elbow

Humor is welcome in business discussions as well as anecdotes

Conversations to avoid: terrorism, illegal drugs, politics, religion

Good topics for conversations: culture, soccer, history, literature, emeralds, coffee

The meetings are usually conducted in a dignified and calm manner

You should never criticize anyone openly

Avoid situations where several people speak at once

Colombians pay close attention to people’s feelings so be wary of depending only on facts and figures

Be punctual for your business meetings

Colombians may arrive 15 minutes late for the meeting but expect you to be on time

Avoid putting your feet up on a table or other piece of furniture

Women visitors should be especially sensitive about making any glance or gesture that might be considered flirtatious

Maintain eye contact during conversations, or you may leave a bad impression.

Seek out sources of advice and expertise early

Try to visit Colombians at their offices, rather than invite them to your hotel

Have business cards printed in English on one side and the translation Spanish on the other

Present business card with the Spanish side facing your Colombian colleague

Business people prefer relaxed conversation before business

If traveling within Colombia, leave all company logo apparel at home for safety reasons

Colombians take a long time in greetings

Titles should be included on business cards

Bullfighting is popular; don’t make negative comments

Colombians are normally punctual in business, although they may be up to a half-hour late

Colombians want to know you personally before they do business with you

You must develop a relationship with your counterparts before they will consider you trustworthy

It may take several trips to complete a business transaction

Colombians prefer to do business in person

It is usually best to have a local partner or local presence

Colombians are known to become emotional during discussions where feelings take precedence

Colombians appreciate compassion from foreign colleagues so don’t hesitate to show it

Most business people speak English

Be prepared to socialize and do working lunches

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