Source: World Bank
Meeting and Greeting
* It is courteous to shake hands both upon meeting and departing.
* Men should wait for a woman to extend her hand.
* Greetings should take some time - ensure you engage in some small talk, i.e. ask about family, health and business.
* Eye contact is viewed positively.
* Wait for the other party to initiate a change to first names.
* It is a good idea to try and have one side of your business card translated into Spanish.
* Include any university degrees or qualifications as this is valued.
* Treat business cards with respect.
* Although there may be an agenda, meetings do not always follow a linear path.
* An agenda will serve as a starting point and after that issues are addressed as an when.
* Relationship building is crucial - it may be a good idea to invest time in establishing trust for the first few meetings.
* Time is not an issue in meetings - they will last as long as they need to last. Do not try and rush proceedings.
* Colombians are termed as 'indirect communicators' - this means there is more information within body language and context rather than the words, i.e. if you ask someone to do something and they reply 'I will have to see', it would be up to you to read between the lines and realise that they can not do it.
* The reason for this way of communicating it to protect relationships and face.
* This means people that are used to speaking directly and openly must tame their communication style as it could cause offense.
* Although they can be indirect, Colombians can also become very animated. This should not be mistaken for aggression.
* Avoid confrontation at all cost. If someone has made a mistake do not expose it publicly as this will lead to a loss of face and a ruined relationship.