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When doing business globally, you need to tune in to the local customs and etiquette expected of business people in the local environment. Taking time to familiarize yourself with local customs and etiquette prevents you from making a faux pas that could insult the local citizens and jeopardize your business interests. Honduras has a democratic constitutional republic government, and nearly 97 percent of its citizens are Catholic, so business etiquette doesn’t vary greatly from American customs, according to Culture Crossing.
Men and women speak directly to each other, and handshakes are appropriate when greeting both, but wait until a woman extends her hand before offering to shake hands. Use a title such as doctor or professor, if appropriate. You should even greet lawyers with their title, which in Spanish is abogado. Persons without professional titles should be called senor, senora or senorita. Use business cards during introductions, with the Spanish side of your card facing the other person. Carefully review cards handed to you as a sign of respect.
Show up on time for meetings, even though your hosts may keep you waiting. Meetings tend to include informal conversation and usually don’t follow strict agendas. Expect meetings to go on for longer than planned too, with an overall feel of a social activity rather than a business meeting, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The strongest personalities and business people with the highest authority tend to take over the conversation during meetings and will be the ones to make final decisions in the sales process. Hondurans expect negotiations to remain friendly, however, and don't appreciate a hard sell or pressure tactics. They place a very high value on relationship building and avoid confrontations and conflicts. While negotiations may conclude with a handshake, a formal written contract is necessary as well.
Like their U.S. counterparts, businessmen and women in Honduras dress in conservative business attire for meetings, consisting of a dark suit and tie for men and a conservative skirt or slacks with a blouse for women. American business people should avoid wearing expensive jewelry, however, because security's a major issue in Latin American countries. Street crime is rampant in urban areas and includes pickpocketing and armed robberies.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."
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