Cultural Clues, Communication Guidelines for COLOMBIA

Cultural Tips for Colombia – including some valuable business travel tips for Colombia!

It’s an asset to make the effort to learn about the Colombian history and culture before your visit. Having a basic knowledge of these subjects will do a great deal in establishing rapport.

In general, Colombians are very proud of their culture and national accomplishments.

The standard greeting is the handshake upon introduction and departure.

It is considered polite to maintain close eye contact during conversations.

Inland Colombians are probably the most formal and traditional of Latin Americans. Only along the coast is a more relaxed attitude the norm.

The formality of inland Colombians extends to their mannerisms, and they do not like to engage in expansive gestures and animation.

Residents of the coastal regions tend to be more expressive and less formal.

Among close friends, women may clasp forearms or kiss each other on one cheek.

Men embrace and slap each other’s back. This hug is known as the “abrazo.”

Ensure that you take safety precautions when in Colombia. While things have greatly improved, ask your counterparts what areas of the city are dangerous. Both the murder rate and frequency of kidnapping are still quite high.

It is considered callous and disrespectful to rush a greeting or the rapport building small talk that typically follows.

Before the meeting begins, there is always some preliminary small talk. This is necessary since it conveys to your peers that the personal rapport that you have established with them is a higher priority than just doing business.

Colombians typically ask numerous polite questions and go through other pleasantries. Expect inquiries as to your health, your trip, your family, and any friends or acquaintances you have in common.

Selecting representatives from your company is probably the most crucial decision you can make when beginning to do business in Colombia.

Colombians will want to get to know you and your company’s representatives personally to establish a warm rapport and comradeship before moving onto business discussions.

In most cases, you should wait for your Colombian associates to initiate the business discussion.

Colombians are not known for punctuality. They may arrive at a business meeting 15 or 20 minutes late since this is considered the norm.

When a meeting is over, stay a little bit longer and continue chatting with your colleagues. It’s considered an insult to leave immediately after a meeting because it suggests that you have better things to do.

Colombians make decisions on feelings as well as empirical evidence and other facts. This can be true even if you present them with an enticing deal and a “bottom line” that seems sure to be profitable.

Expect the negotiation and decision-making process to take considerably longer than it may in the U.S. or Northern Europe.

The importance of hierarchy should never be underestimated in Colombian business culture. Nevertheless, subordinates within the group, as well as underlying circumstances, also have some influence in the decision-making process.

5 Key Conversation or Cultural Gesture Tips

Positive aspects of Colombia, including their wonderful coffee and cuisine.

Colombian history, literature, art, and music.

The lush Colombian landscape, mountains, and coastlines.

Your home country and the region you are from.

Family discussions are appropriate when initially building rapport.

5 Key Conversation or Cultural Gesture Taboos

Avoid mentioning anything about drug traffic or illegal cartels.

Don’t make negative remarks about bullfighting.

Avoid talking about differences between the Columbian culture and yours.

Avoid any discussion around terrorism, politics, and religion.

Avoid making complaints of any kind.

Bon Voyage!

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Cultural Tips for Countries from A to Z

Cultural Tips for Colombia – including some valuable business travel tips for Colombia

This article on cultural differences in Colombia and cultural travel tips for Colombia is a brief snapshot of conversation guidelines for Colombia, tips for communicating in Colombia, and business strategies for Colombia to help with understanding the culture in Colombia. It’s important to keep in mind that as we homogenize as a ‘global culture,’ cultural tendencies change and evolve as well. Awareness is the first step when it comes to cultural Do’s and Taboos for Colombia and tips for intercultural communication!

It’s easy for business travelers to think that even when they travel, business is going to be done pretty much the same way it is at home. But that’s not always the case. Cultural differences can have a significant impact on global business etiquette. That’s why it’s important for business travelers to make sure that they understand the culture of the country that they’re doing business in.

Emmy Award Winner, Gayle Cotton, is the author of this blog and of the bestselling cross-cultural communication book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Successful Cross-Cultural Communication’, which is available on Amazon as a Book, eBook, or Audio Book. She is President of Circles Of Excellence Inc. and a Professional Keynote Speaker. Contact Gayle if you need professional speakers for events, speakers on cultural diversity, conference speakers for events, or keynote speakers that specialize in cross-cultural training. She is a leader in the field of public speakers, motivational speakers, and international keynote speakers. She is among the best of female keynote speakers and women motivational speakers and is a ‘first choice’ request for international audiences!

Circles Of Excellence provides Corporate Training, Leadership Coaching, and Professional Keynote Speakers for companies of all sizes and in all industries, including over 50 Fortune 500 companies. Contact us about our custom training programs for Communication Skills, Cross-Cultural Communication, Cultural Diversity, Customer Service, Leadership Coaching, Presentation Skills, Sales Negotiations, Stress Management, Team building, and Time Management Training.

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