The right connections facilitate business success. You will be judged by the person who introduces you and changing this first impression is nearly impossible. Since the initial meeting is generally with someone of high stature, it is important that your delegation include an upper-level executive. After the initial getting-to-know-you meeting, the senior executive may not attend meetings or be visible. This indicates you are now getting down to business and they are no longer needed to smooth the introduction.
Demonstrating trustworthiness, sincerity and integrity are crucial to building relationships. Expect to answer questions about your personal background, family and life interests.
Mexican society and business are highly stratified and vertically structured. Mexicans emphasize hierarchical relationships. People respect authority and look to those above them for guidance and decision-making. Rank is important, and those above you in rank must always be treated with respect. This makes it important to know which person is in charge, and leads to an authoritarian approach to decision-making and problem- solving.
Business Meeting Etiquette
• Business appointments are required and should be made at least 2 weeks in advance. Reconfirm the appointment one week before the meeting.
• Reconfirm the meeting again once you arrive in Mexico and make sure that the secretary of the person you will be meeting knows how to contact you.
• It is important that you arrive on time for meetings, although your Mexican business associates may be up to 30 minutes late.
• Do not appear irritated if this occurs as people often run behind schedule.
• Meetings may be postponed with little advance warning.
• Initial meetings are formal.
• Have all written material available in both English and Spanish.
• Agendas are not common. If they are given, they are not always followed.
• Since Mexicans are status conscious, you should always have someone on your negotiating team who is an executive.
• If you do not speak Spanish, hire an interpreter.
• It will take several meetings to come to an agreement.
• Face-to-face meetings are preferred over telephone, letters or email.
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