Chile – go to the top
Chile is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Chile is predominantly Roman Catholic and family is the primary structure of society. The father is still considered the head of the family but the mother is an important decision-maker. Family and friendship play a big role in business – expertise is less important than your personal, family, educational and company background. Red tape can be minimised considerably if you have the right connections.
Traditionally, men have dominated private and public life in Chile. However, attitudes are changing at home and in the workplace. Women now make up 30% of the labour force. In addition, many women hold important political and business positions as ministers and top executives.
Decision-making is centralised and decisions are made at the top-level so deal with senior executives whenever possible. Be prepared to make several trips to finish a business transaction. Business-like behaviour with a bit of humour is appreciated, avoid a hard-sell approach and aggressive behaviour. Expect to be interrupted – this is not considered rude but rather a way of showing interest and enthusiasm. Present a well-organised plan with terms clearly defined and financial obligations clearly stated.
Business lunches are usually long and it is a good idea to arrange in advance to pay the bill in a restaurant if you are the host. You will not be presented with a bill until you ask for it. Never click your fingers to or at anyone and never beckon with your index finger. A flick of the chin means “I couldn’t care less,” but educated people do not use this gesture.
Share your Chilean business experiences
Sources: Wikipedia, ediplomat.com