PERU .. speaking Spanish helps
The best thing a foreigner can do when visiting Peru is be genuinely curious about the culture and ask about it, and a respecting of differences is really appreciated. Topics to talk about might be the Peruvian cultures, history or cuisine.
Even though Peruvians seem to have a polychromic view of time, it is expected that foreigners arrive to a meeting on time, but Peruvians might take their time to arrive to the meeting. If you are having lunch or dinner, it is likely that you are served a Pisco Sour (Peruvian National Alcoholic Drink) regardless of the time.
Schedule business meetings well in advance and never drop in unexpectedly on a client; this is not appreciated. When presenting information, be direct and to the point. Peruvians conduct business in a brisk, efficient manner and have a tendency to be cautious and untrusting of foreigners. Decisions are typically made at the highest level only, so try to meet with the top executives when possible. Be patient; negotiations will often end without a decision having been made.
Building relationships and rapport is more important than “let’s sit and get down to business”, even though Peruvians tend to belong to a collectivistic society, where people are more relationship-oriented than goal-oriented. Generally speaking, people approach negotiation with a competitive mindset. If you ‘negotiate’ with people from more rural areas, local communities, the approach is more “cautious” in the sense of building relationships. In any case Peruvians tend to have more indirect communication patterns.
Most business is conducted in Spanish, the official language of Peru. For best results when negotiating with Peruvian clients, learn Spanish and be able to communicate fluently. Otherwise, bring an interpreter. Though many Peruvians understand English to a degree, it will be expected that you communicate in their language.
Considering that Peruvians tend to belong to a hierarchical culture where authority is expected to be respected, people are addressed as Mr. (Señor) or Mrs. (Señora) and then the last name. Some professionals are called by a title. For instance, attorneys are called Drs. For either men or women in business and formal settings a shake of the hand is expected. In more informal settings, men shake hands, women kiss cheeks, men kiss women’s cheeks.
And if you have time .. meet the Llama’s and visit Machu Picchu!
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