Compare-and-Contrast Essay on Business Etiquette and Customs of Venezuela and America

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University of California, Santa Barbara
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Business etiquette is an important component describing the business cultures of various nations and regions. Etiquette includes the things people must say and practice or avoid completely. Even as globalization allows managers to experience unique cultures across the globe, it is not a requirement to understand the importance of business etiquette. This paper analyzes the business etiquette and customs of Venezuela and America.

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For those seeking to do business in Venezuela, there are different factors that must be taken into consideration. One is that handshake is used during introduction. Secondly, no formal ceremony is required when exchanging business. The card is just offered and a person may choose to receive the card or turn it down. On the other hand, one is expected to keep his expectations modest during the first business trip. The first meeting might focus on exchanging pleasantries. Moreover, it is important to note that Latin Americans work with those they like and know. To get to this level, numerous meetings might be required. Therefore, one must capitalize on all social invitations that promote the process of understanding each other. It would be wrong to assume that all Latin American markets are the same. Venezuelans pride in their nation and would appreciate other peoples interests in the country. Most important is that visitors must always be punctual. One must also understand that he or she is creating a personal relationship that could result in business. The people of Venezuela conduct business with an individual and not his company. There are major differences that occur when conducting business in Venezuela and America.

One is in regard to appointments. Punctuality is emphasized in Venezuela. Here, it is advisable to be a few minutes early as opposed to being a few minutes. Punctuality is also a core requirement in America. The American culture lays emphasis on individual success and initiative. This is a business culture that strongly promotes the notion of time is money. Business in the US is conducted from Monday to Friday and mostly from 8.00 or 9.00 am to 5.00 or 6.00 pm. The weekend is always considered a rest day.

When meeting groups in Venezuela, one has to introduce himself to everyone and do the same when leaving. Given that it is a formal culture, one must learn to address others using their academic or professional tag including their surnames. Americans will always avoid greetings that entail hugging or those that require close physical contact. The recommended space is approximately two feet. Many managers will not be at ease standing closer to their counterparts.

Gifts are recognized in the two countries. Giving a gift in America and Venezuela is considered a nice gesture. However, it is not expected in America. In other words, it is not necessary. In most cases, presentation of business gifts occurs following the striking of a deal. The gifts will be unwrapped for everyone to see. One does not have to carry a gift when visiting a home though it is often acknowledged. When presenting a gift or an item, one hand is used.

The right business attire is required in Venezuela. Men are expected to put on dark-colored suits. On the other hand, women need to be elegant in their dressing because appearances matter in Venezuelan culture. In America, the focus is also on the dressing. One would be excused for dressing conservatively during the first meeting. However, he or she must later learn to dress like Americans.

Business cards in Venezuela are shared in the course of introductions with everyone in attendance. One side of the card must be translated into Spanish. The card must then be presented with Spanish section facing the recipient. The cards must include a persons professional and academic qualifications. This is because of the status-consciousness of the people of Venezuela. Business cards are not exchanged unless a person needs to make contact later. One's card will not be turned down. However, he or she must not expect one in return. Business executives in America make quick decisions. Money remains a major priority and will always be used in order to win a number of arguments. Risk taking leads to most Americans seeking to take the biggest slice of the cake.

When it comes to business negotiation, one must anticipate minimal talk prior to embarking on business deals in Venezuela. Older citizens prefer exchanging pleasantries before doing business. Younger people, on the other hand, focus more on the business as opposed to the social relationship. Reaching a deal will need different meetings implying that negotiation and consultation are crucial. In all this, it must be emphasized that Venezuelans pay more attention to long-term goals as opposed to short-term goals. Despite this, relationships are perceived as more crucial in comparison to business documents. Business in this country is hierarchical. Senior most executives make decisions. Americans hate silence in the course of negotiations. They will keep talking to avoid silence. Moreover, they are persistent and will try to explore all available options when there is an impasse during negotiation. Irrespective of the negotiator, a focus is always placed on company policy.

In regard to relationships and communications, it is noted that Venezuelans focuses on networking given that it widens ones base of individuals who could have the needed connection. Face-to-face meetings are preferred in this country when doing business instead of telephone perceived to be increasingly impersonal. Developing relationships is a long-term process. Americans on the other hand will always laugh and incorporate a sense of humor when talking with others. Inviting a business partner to ones home is a common practice in America. It is a reflection of goodwill between the parties.

Spanish is the official language in Venezuela and most businesses are conducted using this language. However, English is used in certain circumstances. Translators might be needed to ensure that a business deal is sealed. On the other hand, the main communication language when transacting business in America is English. Despite this, Spanish is fast gaining popularity given the countrys closeness to Mexico in addition to the large Spanish-speaking population in the US.

In a nutshell, it is clear that the two countries, Venezuela and the US have different business etiquette and customs. As a result, knowledge of these differences would help one not only do the right thing but achieve success in the end.


International Market Advisor {IMA}. Doing Business in Venezuela, 2015,,-language-culture/Today Business Translations and Business. Doing Business in the USA, 2017,

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