Not only do Argentineans prefer the spoken word over the written word, they also prefer face-to-face meetings to telephone conversations. This means that by far the best way to develop good business relations in Argentina is to take the trouble to visit people. (However, one complication here is that it can be quite difficult to get people to commit to meetings very much in advance as they prefer to be able to manage their time on a week by week, day by day basis!)
Meetings will usually start with a long pre-meeting chat which will cover topics as diverse as football, weekend activities and holidays but which is unlikely to include any mention of business. You can also expect a fairly lengthy repetition of this type of conversation at the end of the meeting. It is important to engage as fully as possible in these discussions as they are seen as a vital part of the relationship building process — coldness during these parts of the meeting could be very costly in both the short and long term.
Do not expect that everybody will have done lots of in-depth analytical planning for the meeting — they may have done but you can’t be certain. Flexibility and spontaneity are both greatly prized in Argentina — as befits a country where people have traditionally been at the mercy of political and social forces beyond their control.
Punctuality is much tighter than in certain other South American countries but agendas are very likely to be ignored.
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: