Relationships & Communication
Argentina is a relationship-driven culture, so it is important to build networks and use them.
Argentines maintain and use an intricate network of family and friends to call upon for help, favours or assistance.
If a favour is done for you, you will eventually be called upon to re-pay it.
Name-dropping and nepotism do not have the negative connotations as it has in the West and can be used to your advantage.
Above all Argentines like to do business with people they know and trust.
They prefer face-to-face meetings rather than by telephone or in writing, which are seen as impersonal.
Once a relationship has developed, their loyalty will be to you rather than to the company you represent.
Looking good in the eyes of others is important to Argentines. Therefore, they will judge you not only on what you say, but also on the way you present yourself.
Avoid confrontation. Argentines do not like publicly admitting they are incorrect.
It is imperative to show deference and respect to those in positions of authority. When dealing with people at the same level, communication can be more informal.
Be alert for nuances and hidden meanings. It is a good idea to repeat details, as you understand them to confirm that you and your business colleagues are in agreement.
Business Meeting Etiquette
Appointments are necessary and should be made 1 to 2 weeks in advance, preferably by e-mail or telephone.
Avoid January and February, which are their vacation times; the middle weeks of July, which is when many go skiing; and during the two weeks before and after Christmas.
You should arrive on time for meetings, although the person you are meeting may not be punctual.
In some older, more bureaucratic organizations, the more important the person you are meeting, the longer they keep you waiting.
Do not immediately begin discussing business. Small talk helps establish a rapport.
The person you are meeting with may accept telephone calls and attend to other business while you are there.
Have all printed material available in both English and Spanish.
Decisions are not reached at meetings. Meetings are for discussion and to exchange ideas.
Argentines expect to deal with people of similar status.
Hierarchy is important. Decisions are made at the top of the company. Business moves slowly because it is extremely bureaucratic. Decisions often require several layers of approval.
Argentines have a difficult time disagreeing, so do not think that things are going well simply because no one is challenging what you say.
What to Wear?
Business attire is formal and conservative, yet stylish.
Men should wear dark coloured, conservative business suits.
Women should wear elegant business suits or dresses.
Good quality accessories are important for both sexes.
Dress well if you want to make a good impression.
Business Card Etiquette
Business cards are given without formal ritual.
Have one side of your business card translated into Spanish.
Present your business card so the Spanish side faces the recipient.