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Never say never in negotiations

Brazil's hierarchical business culture dictates that the person of highest rank makes the final decision.

(TIME) -- In Brazil, a little know-how or "jeito" goes a long way

Brazilians are warm and friendly people and building personal relationships with associates is an important part of the business culture.

Loyalty and trust are highly valued and you will be unlikely to commence business negotiations until continuity has been established in your working relationship.

As a general rule, Brazilians are relaxed about timekeeping and meetings may run on longer than planned, so allow plenty of time between appointments.

At any get-together, shake hands with everyone in the room, both on arrival and departure. Meetings usually start with small talk and have an informal air.

English is widely spoken in business circles. If your Brazilian counterparts are reluctant to conduct negotiations in English, don't use Spanish -- although the official language of the rest of South America, Portuguese is the first language in Brazil. (Speaking in Spanish will reveal a lack of cultural awareness and may cause offence.) Business cards should be printed in both Portuguese and English.

Brazilians are open-minded and are receptive to new ideas and concepts. Negotiations tend to focus on achieving short-term results and the decision-making process is likely to be strongly influenced by subjective feelings.

Keep in mind that effective personal interaction is crucial to your business success and may carry more weight than an impressive presentation package.

If you come across a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, don't give up. The Brazilians are very flexible in managing problems and have a word "jeito", meaning to find a solution or a way around things.

This might involve pulling a few strings or devising a creative solution to bypass bureaucratic obstacles. Avoid confrontation or conflict, which is alien to the Brazilian temperament.

Brazil's hierarchical business culture dictates that the person of highest rank will make the final decision.

At the end of a meeting, don't rush off, even if you are in a hurry -- Brazilians might take this as a personal insult and there may not be an appropriate "jeito" for resolving such a slight.

Copyright © 2005 Time Inc.

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