Although Spanish is the language of Argentina, many Argentines speak good English, having been educated internationally. In addition, many speak either Italian or German as a high proportion of Argentines have either Italian or German ancestry.
A great deal of respect is given to people who speak freely and express themselves forcefully. It is possible to disagree with people and even criticize their opinions and yet remain on friendly terms. Indeed by remaining uninvolved and aloof, you may be viewed as disengaged and disinterested. Meetings can, therefore, appear to be quite noisy boisterous affairs with people frequently interrupting each other to add points or disagree with what is being said. Again this liveliness is viewed as a positive as it shows engagement and interest.
As throughout most of South America, Argentineans exhibit certain distinctive body language characteristics. Firstly, they stand in very close proximity to each other in comparison to many other cultures. Secondly they have very strong levels of eye contact and thirdly they are highly tactile in many situations. This combination can seem quite threatening for people from cultures who’s normal approach is more subdued (Scandinavians, the Japanese etc.) It is important that you try to accept these body language issues as it is unlikely that the locals will adapt to you.
It is usual for people to be referred to by their surnames rather than their first names in most business situations. Titles are also often used such as Ingeniero (engineer) or Abogado (lawyer).
Written and Produced by Keith Warburton
This country profile has been produced to give a short overview of some of the key concepts to bear in mind when doing business with contacts in Argentina. It is intended to be an aid to business people who have commercial dealings with counterparties in the country but should not be seen as an exhaustive guide to this topic or as a substitute for more substantial research should there be a need.
With this in mind, we have covered the areas which are key to a better understanding of the cultural mindset underpinning business dealings in Argentina and which are, quite often, extremely different from the approach and thought processes associated with business in other parts of the world.
Therefore this briefing note is broken into short, bite-sized sections on the following topics: