Mexican Meetings

Punctuality is less rigid than in certain other cultures and it is not unusual for meetings to start late and run over the allotted time.

This level of uncertainty can make it difficult when scheduling a number of meetings on one day (especially if you need to travel around Mexico City between meetings.) Probably the best time to schedule meetings is between 10:00am and 1:00pm – as lunch usually begins around 2:00pm and can be quite lengthy.

If agendas are produced there would be little expectation that they would be followed systematically or any annoyance if non-agenda items are introduced during the meetings. Meetings are seen as opportunities for the free flow of ideas and information — although it is best to avoid very open disagreements with the most senior Mexican present as this could be construed as disrespectful and confrontational.

Open signs of emotion, through the use of interruptions and speaking loudly, are seen as a sign of active engagement rather than an unnecessary loss of control. Do not assume that, if a Mexican becomes highly emotional during a meeting, they have lost their sense of professionalism — they are probably conveying their sense of commitment and interest.

It is not uncommon for small side-meetings to occur during a larger meeting or for people to interrupt colleagues in mid-sentence.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Mexico

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Overview

As part of the world’s largest trading block (NAFTA), Mexico must be an attractive potential market. It is strategically positioned between North and South America and as such is a great base for further expansion in the region. In addition, Mexico has negotiated a strategic network of free trade agreements which give it preferential access at least 46 countries with a combined population of in excess of one billion people.

Whilst Mexico does represent an attractive market entry proposition and doing business in Mexico is likely to bring rewards, there are several impediments which need to be taken into consideration. Bribery and corruption remain a problem – although progress is being made in this area – and organised crime still poses a serious threat both in the cities and the regions. Mexico could also be considered a little too dependent on the robustness of the US economy – if the States is doing well, Mexico is usually flourishing as well.

However, one of the key considerations you need to factor in when looking at doing business in Mexico is the local business Culture. Mexico might have a border with the USA but their business cultures are poles apart. Whereas the USA puts business firmly before relationships in business dealings, Mexico is the exact opposite. In a strongly hierarchical culture, who you know and how well you know them are absolutely critical to success. You need to forge great relationship and you need to know how to forge those relationship. Take the time to make the right type of contact and you will be rewarded.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Mexican business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips