Meals, Clothing Code & Gifts

In Spain, business people do not usually give gifts to each other

Gifts are sometimes offered at the end of a successful negotiation or to say thank you for a favour

You should not give anything too extravagant as your generosity may be perceived as a bribe

Gifts should not be too expensive, so that they cannot be perceived as a bribe and usually take the form of food, drinks or souvenirs from your home country

Corporate gifts or books about your country are welcome gifts, and a bottle of whisky or brandy would also make a useful alternative gift

If you are invited to a Spanish home, you should take presents for the family members and suitable gifts may include a box of chocolates, sweets, souvenirs or flowers

When giving flowers, you should not give dahlias, chrysanthemums, white lilies or red roses due to cultural associations

If you receive a gift, you should open it immediately and in front of the giver

If your intention is to use a meal or drinks invitation, as an opportunity to talk about business matters, it is best to include that information in the invitation and avoid any misunderstanding

Avoid any discussion of financial matters over dinner and concentrate on establishing the personal relationship

Lunch, rather than dinner, is usually the best time for a ‘business’ meal

When offering any gift, you should ensure that it is a high-quality item and that it is finely wrapped

If you can travel prepared, representative local artefacts and coffee-table books about your home region will usually be appreciated as gifts

The Spanish enjoy meals as a social activity and do not necessarily expect to discuss business at the table

Colleagues regularly eat lunch together, increasingly in the staff canteen, but different ranks do not sit together

Eating out in Spain is exceptionally popular and generally considered to be part of the national culture

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