Summary: Doing Business In Spain

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With over 300 million native Spanish speakers, Spanish is the second most-spoken first language in the world. The first most spoken, as you may know, is Chinese at approximately 1.2 billion native speakers. Doing business in Spain? It is important to know how to speak Spanish to market to your target audience properly, as well as understand the Spanish business culture, and their social media and consumer habits.

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Geography and Languages

Spain is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the southern side and the Atlantic Ocean on the western side of the country. They have a population of over 47 million people. Neighboring countries such as France, Portugal and the north of Africa, make Spain a perfect …show more content…

In a non-business setting, it is acceptable to use physical contact during a conversation with a Spaniard. Unlike in the United States, this is not considered an invasion of personal space. It is common in Spain, for those of the opposite sex, to greet each other with an “air kiss” on both cheeks, like the French. Men, who are friends, will greet each other by patting each other on the back while shaking hands or by hugging. But this is not appropriate in Spanish business culture unless you are very familiar with the person or group. If the Spanish person initiates the double kiss, then go for it! But offer a handshake first if you are not sure. Also, use “Señor” and “Señora” when greeting men and women respectively, as you would use “Mr” or …show more content…

The senior management does the decision-making and reaches agreements amongst themselves as well. Bosses are known as “el jefe” or “el padron”. An unassertive employee is more esteemed than an assertive one. Employees are expected to follow instructions, obey authority, and resolve work issues themselves to keep senior management from having to step in.

Cultural Taboos

Avoid having business meetings over lunch, since it tends to be a time for the Spanish to relax, not make business deals. Meetings in Spanish business culture are held almost exclusively in the office, and any deals made are later celebrated at a restaurant. Spanish people do not tend to follow a specific schedule of things to be discussed in meetings. Arrangements and any agreements made are open-ended and subject to change. Therefore, you must be persistent to make sure that deals made on their end are met.

Spanish people like to avoid being embarrassed or receiving any type of disapproval. This is something they share in common with Asian countries. Do everything you must do to keep yourself and others from “losing face”. The Spanish like to seem capable and in command, always, so they will claim that all is perfectly fine as a “face-saving”

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