Communication in Brazil

  • Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, but in the business environment English is widely used and undertood.
  • Brazilian communication is complex, and includes many elements of verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as vast use of body language.
  • Brazil is a collectivist society which places family at high importance. This is also evident in business culture where often family members will be found working for the same company, whether family owned or not.
  • Brazilians place high emphasis on relationships. It is essential to take time to get to know your Brazilian counterparts, both personally and professionally.
  • Make eye contact. This shows that you are interested in your counterpart and paying attention.
  • Good topics of conversation include soccer, weather, traffic (especially in Sau Paulo), cultural events, etc. Sensitive topics such as security, poverty, deforestation, corruption and comparisons between the Brazilian and Argentinean soccer teams should be avoided.
  • Brazilians are considered a bit loud. They all speak at the same time with a tone of voice that is slightly higher than usual. They may also┬áinterrupt the speaker in order to add a comment or opinion. This is not perceived as rudeness or lack of interest.
  • Brazilians touch each other a lot during conversation. This is a way to get closer to each other- closeness inspires trust, and with trust one can build long term relationships.