This blog post was created to help foreigners to have good business relationship with Brazilians, it explains about our culture, food, climate, interests, how we behave and how to interact with us. My motivation was my experience working with people from all around the world, where the cultural and behavioral differences initially impacted me. Having the chance to meet Americans, Indians, Japaneses, Romains and others, I could notice that most of them have sympathy with Brazil and want to be nice, but didn’t know exactly how.
To help with that, I’ve identified 3 groups of information that I believe are most important for a good interaction with Brazilians: About Brazil, Behavior and Being Nice.
Why reading information about Brazil? Simple! Because every people in the world feel pleased when you know something about them.
Brazil’s History in 5 rows
Europeans were looking for new lands near 1500, Portugal has sent a fleet to discover a path to India, a guy called Pedro Alvares Cabral had found a land in between, where he saw a no-ending beach and naked indians hiding among the trees. There we started. After that Brazil became a colony, brought slaves from Africa, planted Cafe and Cana de Açucar. Reach independence, became a republic, received immigrations from Italy, Germany and other countries. Had a military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985, has modernized itself and now is among the 20ths powerful countries in the World.
Biggest towns: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Brasília and Fortaleza.
Economy: Biggest in Latin America and 8th in the world. It’s a growing economy, based in agriculture, mining, oil and manufacturing. Major export products include aircraft, electrical and electronic equipment, automobiles, ethanol,textiles, footwear, iron ore, steel, coffee, orange juice, soybeans and corned beef .
Geography: Total area is 8 millions km2. The 5th biggest country in the world.
Cuisine: Beans, rice, meat and salad are the usual. There is also “feijoada” (beans with pig), chicken, verdures and tons of fruits. Although McDonald has some success in Brazil, we don’t usually enjoy eating fast-food.
Climate: It’s mostly warm, hottest region (North/Northeast) average is 30 degrees celsius. Coolest regions get -2 to 35 varying during the year. But believe me, you won’t need winter clothes here.
inhabitants: 190 millions
Religion: Christians are predominant, both catholics and protestants. Also there are Islamics, Hindus, Budists, Spiritualists and afro-religions like Umbanda and Candomble.
Language: Portuguese is the official language. Some indians languages are spoken, but confined in their territory.
How Brazilians behave: Brazilians are mostly informal, happy and warm people.Very connected to family and religion. We enjoy receiving foreigners, like a mother’s heart “there is always space for another one”. Most of us prefer to balance personal life and work, that’s a reason you should avoid scheduling a meeting in a Holyday 🙂
- If a Brazilian take you out to meet the surroundings, pay you a dinner and offer you a gift, he’s probably not trying to offer you a bribe.
- Brazilian strongest characteristics are adaptivity and creativity.
- Meetings start and finish with informal subjects, often a joke or a personal experience can be heard too.
- Brazilians like to feel that business deals some kind of partnership or friendship.
- To go to an office, dress social clothes like long sleeve shirt, pants and shoes.
- If it’s a formal appointment, use a suit.
- But if you’re going to a beach or an informal appointment, use t-shirt and bermudas or a jeans.
Fun: Music, beach and soccer are unanimity. If you intend to chat about music, start with Bossa Nova and Samba, both rithms were invented in Brazil. Beaches are so many, but most famous are Copacabana, Ipanema, Porto de Galinhas, Praia do Futuro, etc. And other popular sports are Volley, swimming and martial arts like jujitsu and judo.
Impression of other countries: Brazilians receive everyone with open arms, but we’re very impatient to listen criticism about our country in any manner.
- Start a conversation with saying: “Good morning”, “Good afternoon” or “Good evening” followed by a gently “How are you?”, if there is time, a brief chat about informal subjects. If you need something, even if it’s obligation, ask “please”.
- Say something about Brazil, demonstrate you’ve spent your time learning about it. It’ll be appreciated.
- Don’t talk about poorness, ethnic subjects, “favelas” or natural disasters. We like happy subjects, our life has been hard enough to be talking about this.
- Don’t talk about Amazon, most people have never been there (I was born there :-])
- Never confuse Brazil with Argentina, they’re our hardest opponent in soccer games.
Basic words in portuguese
- Good morning = Bom dia
- Good afternoon = Boa tarde
- Good evening = Boa noite
- Hi = Oi
- Bye = Tchau (like the italian ciao)
- How are you? = Como vai?
That´s all folks!
 ^ “The economy of heat”. The Economist. 2007-04-12. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
To listen some Bossa Nova, click here.