Latin American style of negotiations - International negotiations in business and politics

12.7. Latin American style of negotiation

The culture of Latin America is unique: it is woven from the sociocultural experience of many ethnic groups inhabiting this "fiery continent", which has become a truly melting pot of nations - European settlers and their descendants, Métis, mulattoes, Indians, Negroes, Chinese, Indians, etc. Most Latin American nations were formed as a result of a mixture of Europeans (mostly Spaniards and Portuguese) with indigenous people - Indians (over 200 tribes) and Negroes, immigrants from Africa. In many countries the official language is Spanish, Brazil - Portuguese, Haiti - French, Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica - English, Suriname - Dutch; More than 10% of Latin Americans speak different Indian languages. From the Latin foundations of the Romance languages, spoken by a large part of the population, there was a name - Latin America. Despite the obvious influence of the Catholic tradition, Latin American culture is significantly different from Western and even North American.

Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) wrote about this very figuratively: if the world is a cosmos for a European, where everyone internally corresponds to the function that he performs, then for the Argentines he is chaos. Europeans and North Americans believe that a book that deserves any award is worth it, the Argentine believes that, perhaps, despite the award, the book is not bad. As a rule, an Argentinian does not trust the circumstances. The Argentine national hero is a loner, fighting against many.

Borges himself called himself "harmless anarchist", a man who "requires a minimum of government at the maximum of individuality". These words are the key to understanding Latinos. They explain why, unlike North Americans and Europeans, Hispanics do not identify themselves with the state, and Hegel's words about the state as "the embodiment of the moral idea" seem to them an unfortunate joke.

Another Latin American joke is: "We have many people want to open a tobacco shop, and almost no one to become president."

From this national trait the Argentine philosopher Macedonia Fernandez (1874-1952) deduced that it is easier to become president in Latin America than to open a tobacco shop. It is noteworthy that one of the novels of the ironic Julio Kartasar (1914-1984) is called & quot; My meetings with the president: how and why they did not take place. " This title, which emphasizes the priority of the personal before the figure of power, is the quintessence of the Latin American worldview.

Latin Americans are individualistic and perceive only personal relationships. Your negotiating partners from Latin America are individuals, not social beings, for them, friendship is passion, and deals negotiated are a consequence of people's relationships. Communicating with them, one must remember one of the famous aphorisms of the Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez: "Do not waste time on a person who does not want to spend it with you."

The ratio of time to Latinos is polichronous; Venezuelans even have a saying that they live in their "Venezuelan age", and to late arrivals within an hour there are very tolerable. However, recently the political and business elite has attached more importance to punctuality in business life. For example, in Peru, in 2007, a national program for punctuality was declared, since even among Hispanics Peruvians are particularly unrelated. But there are exceptions: Chileans, Argentines and Uruguayans are proud of the fact that they are punctual in Europe.

The ritual of acquaintance and representation here is European: it is customary to exchange business cards and handshakes, to observe the table of ranks. When applying, titles are used, but if they are not known, the name is usually pronounced "senor", "senora" or & quot; senorita & quot ;. During negotiations, Latin Americans prefer a rather strict business suit.

In communication, Hispanics are open and sympathetic, they have an optimistic view of the world, and even in very difficult circumstances they seldom lose courage. The general tone of the negotiations here is usually very friendly, and the smile is the visiting card of your Latin American partners, in whose heart the words of Marquez sound: "Never stop smiling, even when you are sad, because someone can fall in love with your smile" ;

All business here is done slowly, so the negotiations are very leisurely. Latin Americans themselves say that this is due to very dry and hot weather at noon, because of what the siesta is strongly stretched in time. As in Spain, the word "ana" ("tomorrow" or "somehow") is very often pronounced in the Spanish-speaking countries of the continent, and in the mouth of a delicate Latin American, mâ € "ana replaces the refusal.

In communicating to Hispanics, spontaneity, discretion, talk, and also political, racial and religious tolerance are inherent. They easily come into contact with strangers, quickly move to a friendly foot with the people they like. In any society: in the office, at a business reception, a diplomatic reception - they behave simply and uninhibitedly, as they like, not paying special attention to the reaction of others. At the same time they are very tolerant of the shortcomings of their neighbors, they are ready to listen to their interlocutor as long as they please, politely and patiently. In the process of negotiations, the positive side of the Latin American character is the ability to empathize with the interlocutors, take into account the sentiments and feelings of partners. Latin Americans very much appreciate the manifestations of friendliness and in most cases tend to reach a compromise agreement.

As psychologists emphasize, tolerance is directly dependent on empathy (empathy, sympathy). Tolerance helps to alleviate tensions between people, to maintain a level of trust. Latin Americans who are empathic, as a rule, create ethically and aesthetically comfortable internal environment of negotiations, because in the conditions of empathy, aggressiveness towards partners is reduced.

However, one should not forget that sociability does not mean openness: despite the talk and emotionality, Latinos are very secretive people. They do not like when they "get into the soul", calling for revelations, because they are convinced that excessive frankness is a manifestation of weakness and personal experiences must be left in private life.

By nature, Hispanics are traditionalists, liberal conservatives who are very suspicious of innovations, so during negotiations with them, their ideas should be backed up with solid arguments, statistics, and economic calculations. It is important to remember that they live in the present tense, today and now, so they are interested in immediate results of transactions, and not fascinating prospects, because even the word "perspective" means for them something very far and almost impracticable.

During negotiations, spontaneity of Hispanics is often manifested, obvious prevalence of feelings over a rational beginning. But there are also very calculating and cunning partners, but even in this case, the emotional mood is able to give out their intentions: emotions are brightly reflected on the face, manifested in gestures, in the tonality of the voice. For their part, Hispanics are very sensitive to the emotional reactions of the negotiating partners, they are easily offended, and the cold tone and detachment of the interlocutors are usually perceived as a manifestation of personal mistrust. That's why experts advise to negotiate with Hispanics in an open manner, which helps to establish a positive atmosphere of business contacts. Negatively, Hispanics perceive frank pressure and patronage, soft tactics and a friendly attitude are more effective here.

The authoritarian-patriarchal culture of Latin America suggests that decisions in negotiations are taken by a leader who does not consult with his subordinates, fearing that they will consider this a manifestation of weakness.


The data of sociological polls regularly conducted by the Chilean service "Latinobarometro" in 18 states of the continent, shed light on modern attitudes and attitudes, including in relation to democracy and authoritarianism, to the specifics of decision-making. Many Latin Americans have very vague ideas about democracy: in 2002, the question "What does democracy mean?" answered & quot; do not know & quot; 59% (!) Of Brazilians, 41% of Salvadorans, 40% of Colombians, 36% of Guatemalans and 27% of Peruvians. But even those who "knew" saw in democracy a very specific value: for 35% it is associated with freedom in general, for 15 with freedom of speech, for 10 with equality and justice, and only 6% associate it with the adoption process decisions (by voting right), and 5% - with the government acting for the good of the people.

To understand the prevailing sentiments in society, the ratio of Hispanics to the dilemma of "freedom or order" is indicative. In favor of the order was expressed by half or more respondents in nine countries (in Honduras - 69%, Paraguay - 65, Dominican Republic - 63, Costa Rica - 56, El Salvador and Guatemala - 54, Brazil - 53, Argentina - 50%). .

The data given above not only indicate the expectation of the expectation of the "firm hand" in the mass consciousness of Latin Americans, but also serve as an indirect evidence of their support for authoritarian principles of government. That is why the spirit of subordination and authoritarianism prevail in the Latin American delegation at the talks, underlined the piety before the authority of the chiefs. At the same time, relationships with friends are always determined by the traditions of paternalism, which reveals the meaning of the Brazilian saying: "To my friends everything except the law, and the law to my enemies".

"Borges emphasizes that Latin Americans are deeply intimate with the words of Cervantes:" Every man will give an answer for his sins, "and therefore" decent people should not be the executioners of their neighbors, to whom they are & lt; ... & gt; and there is no need. "

Most Latin Americans deeply respect moral values, they are very diligent Catholics, not just out of habit visiting the church, but having faith in the soul. In addition, Latin Americans are prone to mystical understanding of the essence of things, so in negotiations they will not insist on their own or consistently uphold some point of view: the whole point is that they sincerely believe in fate ...

Marquis's favorite aphorism is also deeply mystical: "Let go of what you love." If it's yours, it'll come back to you. If it does not, it was never yours. "

In business life, Hispanics are quite unnecessary (except for Chileans). They willingly and often completely disinterestedly give out promises, sometimes just from a good mood or the desire to encourage you in the negotiation process, so you should be skeptical about verbal promises and insist on signing a written agreement in all cases. But even after signing the agreement, we should not expect from them special diligence in the implementation of the agreements reached: "Do not put so much effort - all the best comes unexpectedly" (Marquez).

Moreover, taking into account the persistent elements of radicalism in political culture and mass consciousness, the criminalization of Latin American society and the spread of violence, one should not be surprised at the abrupt changes in business and political activity, unexpected twists and changes in moods in the negotiation process.

Special attention deserves Latin American humor, a penchant for very piquant jokes and anecdotes, which they willingly tell themselves and like to listen from the mouth of the interlocutors. At the same time, Hispanics often play tricks on each other. Here is a typical Latin American joke: "At a diplomatic dinner, the Argentine ambassador asks his Brazilian counterpart:" Is it true, Mr. Ambassador, that there are many homosexuals in your country? " The answer is: "Complete nonsense, these rumors are spreading advertising agencies for catching Argentine tourists". " Among Latin Americans, ethnic stereotypes are very tenacious: Argentines they consider "proud", "Creole Prussians", Brazilians "infantile", Bolivians - "savage", Colombians - "narcotized", Mexicans - "bloodthirsty", Cubans - & quot; hypersexual & quot;.

Concerning the specifics of non-verbal communications, one should first of all keep in mind the small personal space that is required for Hispanics in the communication process - about 30-40 cm, which is much less than for Americans and most Europeans. Due to the fact that Latin Americans tend to approach the interlocutors too closely, they speak emotionally and in addition actively gesture, Western partners tend to perceive them as importunate and aggressive; in turn, Hispanics consider the & quot; gringo & quot; cold snobs. Among other features of the perception of non-verbal communication experts mark the interpretation of yellow as a sign of death (especially in Mexico): here it is not necessary to send bouquets of yellow flowers as a gift. Traditionally, the number 13 and & quot; three sixes & quot; is an infernal sign. Do not recommend giving statues of deer (especially Brazilians), it will be perceived as a hint of homosexuality.

In the process of its formation, the Latin American society has developed certain aesthetic models, allowing for forms of aesthetic and cultural life to see the characteristic features of the national character. In an effort to emphasize your interest in Latin American culture, talk with partners in the negotiations not only about world-famous Latin American literature and poetry, but also about incendiary Latin American dances. The soul of Latin America is revealed primarily in tango, where the African rhythms tangano, Argentine milonga, Havana habanera, Spanish flamenco, ritual dances of the Indians, Polish mazurka, German waltz have merged into a dance of longing for an abandoned homeland, unhappy love and passion.

Describing the history of tango, Borges notes that everyone loves a love duel at the heart of this dance, but for a real Argentinian tango is a dance of street bully. The purpose of tango: to inspire the Argentines to believe in their former courage, to the fact that once they found the strength to not evade the demands of valor and honor.

Today, tango - the fashion for tango and everything associated with it - has captured the whole world: tango parties, tango drinks, cigarettes, clothes and shoes in the style of tango (a tuxedo for a man, a skirt with a slit for a woman).

Hispanics are very fond of holidays, festive receptions and feasts and just an invitation to visit. They themselves love to receive guests at home, and one of the customs is to send a bouquet of flowers to the hostess the day after the visit. Cocktails are popular, which are usually held from 19:00 to 21:00. Lunch is served at 21:00. Latin American cuisine is famous throughout the world for an abundance of spices and spicy meat dishes. Especially popular are the siege (meat baked on a grate set on coals), "sharp" oysters and shrimps, "mustard" chicken, mutton ribs, pinchos (a piece of fried baguette stuffed, often planted on a skewer), churraco (a kind of shish kebab).

In general, the Latin American style of negotiations presupposes a warm atmosphere of friendly communication, empathy, tolerance, and, if successful, a real holiday with a plentiful meal and incendiary dances.

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