Hola! Mexico Business Etiquette. Part 2

Meeting Women: Be relaxed but careful not to seem too aggressive, and be sure to respond to gestures correctly. Wait for the woman to offer her hand or lean forward for a kiss. And kiss only once.

  • Mexican culture prescribes the use of touch to communicate in earnest and hence,
  • You as a rule must expect to be patted on the shoulder or the arm, or touched on the arm during a conversation.
  • Most discussions happen in the “intimate-intimate” circle of body language, and leaning away or stepping backward will be considered an insult.
  • Looking a person straight in the eye is considered a little disrespectful so, if your Mexican counterpart does not make eye contact, don’t be offended. You must also ensure you don’t look into the eyes of a senior in the hierarchy as it can be taken as aggressive and insolent behavior.
  • Placing your hands on your hips is seen as aggressive behavior while having your hands in your pockets is plain rude.
  • Avoid gossiping like you would avoid a plague. Gossiping is enticing and with many easy things to talk about, but gossiping reflects poorly on you. Sometimes people want to gossip when there are no other topics to talk about.

Given the significance of trust in Mexican business, you must make sure you are relaxed and open minded during meetings. You also need to be careful, especially if the meeting is with the opposite sex. Men must read the signs properly as a businesswoman who likes to be subtle may just give a gentle tilt to the head and shoulders for the customary kiss on the cheek, instead of leaning forward. And some may use the hand as leverage to lean, which should not be confused with the hug ritual, and most importantly, women must be careful while doing the same so the kiss does not get mixed up with a hug-ritual.

Relationship building enjoying the kind of importance it does in Mexico, do not be surprised if you end up talking just about everything except business during the business lunch that often lasts three to four hours.
All in all, Mexicans are very friendly and emphasize on building relationships and if you can try and fit in, you should do well in your endeavors as you will enjoy a comfortable and profitable business engagement with your Mexican clients.

If you are not working with the senior most people then find a polite way to leave with a request that the next meeting be with those who can make decisions.