Although English is increasingly widely spoken in Mexico, it would be dangerous to assume that all business acquaintances will be fluent in the language.

English language levels vary widely and it is best to check in advance that translators will not be necessary. It goes without saying that you will be at a great advantage if you speak good Spanish.

It is common for colleagues to address each other through the use of family names, moving on to first name terms only when the relationship is very well established. If in doubt about which name to use, it is probably safest to err on the side of caution by starting with the family name. In addition, titles such as Liciendo/a (a professional such as a lawyer) or Ingeniero/a (an engineer) are also commonly used terms of respect.

Emotion is not suppressed in business situations and discussions can appear heated and at times acrimonious to those from a culture which frowns upon any visible shows of emotion during business dealings. This outward show of emotion is seen as a positive and implies engagement and emphasis.

Mexican body language differs from North American and Northern European body language. People stand much closer to each other and have far stronger eye contact than in many other cultures. It is important that you are not intimidated by these issues, as lack of strong eye contact or maintaining too great a distance could be misconstrued as standoffishness or untrustworthiness. Try to mirror the Mexican approach in these matters.

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

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 Mexico. 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 Mexico 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:

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