Do´s and Dont´s Danes should be aware of,once and for all


Hello all,

The reason why I´m writing this post is just to clarify a few things in what regards to the Brazilian Business culture. More precisely, the famous Do´s and Dont´s that you can find explanations scattered all over the web. In my opinion most of them say what is really obvious. Today I want to get over with them, once and for all.

I made a compilation of absurd tips I found about Do´s and Dont´s in Brazil thorughout the web. You will read the statement, and below each statement you will see my opinion on that “Do or Don´t”. I´d like to state clear that what I´m writting is my opinion and it is based on my experience.

As a foreign in Dk I believe that is my common sense that allows me to transit through many “territories” without problems, and I hope I can shed some light upon some of your doubts regarding the Brazilian Business Culture.

The Real Do´s Danes should be aware of in Brazil. Once and for all

“In Brazil, business meetings are generally held in company offices. It is rare for clients to schedule meetings at a hotel or in their residence, as is customary in other countries.”

Reality Check:

In Brazil business meeting will be held in offices or restaurants. Generally you will have something already pre-defined, which would first be a meeting at the company you will be visiting and depending on how the converssation evolves a lunch. But that is not a RULE!

“Adopt an objective and direct approach in meetings, be clear and firm with regard to prices, timetables, and payment forms”.

Reality Check:

Brazilians are generally not straight to the point. You should always be firm and clear about what expectations are, but again, common sense please!

Before discussing prices and other details you first have to understand and perceive who is your audience, and only then you will have conditions to choose what will be the best approach. Preparation, therefore is key. If you know what you have to talk about, then all you have to be concerned is how to present it.

Some people like straightforwardness, some other will prefer to talk about football or light topics before getting straight to business, so it is impossible to tell you what is going to happen.

Feel the situation and go with what you know. In case you have a cultural doubt, be honest and ask. In my opinion that is always the best approach in any country.

“Company catalogues and Web sites should be made available in a number of
languages, including Portuguese, to ensure specific technical information does
not have to be translated or explained during meetings.”

Reality Check:

Stick to english and the local language, in this case Portuguese. and it can´t go wrong. Again that´s only common sense.

“The reputation of Brazilians as not being punctual does not apply to the business sector. Indeed, Brazilian executives are punctual and will frequently call in 
advance if they are unable to meet at the scheduled time.”

Forgive me about the word. But this is crap. All I can say is, you have to be punctual, period.

It is not possible to affirm whether a Brazilian is punctual or not when going to meetings, and I know some cases of people in large companies who forgot to mention they would be late or even that they had completely forgotten that they had a meeting arranged.

Quick tip: Just do your job and be punctual. Brazilians, might indeed be late, but you will only know it once you are there.

“In regard to dress codes, men and women alike should wear formal business

Reality Check:

Once again. Common sense is king! If you are going to a meeting you should dress properly. For men, I would advise to bring a tie in the suit pocket in case the situation asks for one.

“Never offer comments on the country’s political or economic situation, much
less about issues relating to Brazilian foreign trade with which one disagrees, as
this could give rise to inconvenient comparisons.”

Reality Check:

Look, I´m quite sure that if one person during a first meeting raises the matter on why many foreigners seeks Denmark as a salvation door, this person probably won´t be very popular amongst his Danish buddies.

Once you have a closer relationship with a Brazilian, the subject about violence, or politics will emerge naturally, but no one likes to be talking about the downsides of their country right away. It is all about respect.

Dont´s Danes should be aware of. Once and for all

“Failing to respond immediately to client emails;”

Reality Check:

Please just respond the email to your clients, and leave someone else in charge of your emails in case you are away. Common sense is king!

“Pledging to export in excess of the company’s true production capacity”

Reality Check:

Knowing the Danish culture, I would never expect such nonsense behaviour.

Quick tip: When signing a contract always have a good and reliable lawyer and put everything in paper. Pre defined rules are the best thing to avoid future misunderstandings

“Shipping goods of lesser quality than guaranteed”

Reality Check:

Again, that doesn´t sound Danish at all, but you will find this odd sort of information scattered all over the web. If you signed a contract or promised something stick to it. Danes are very famous for being one of the people with the highest Trust Index of the World.

“Neglecting to invite the client to visit one’s country and company”

Reality Check:

Please, just keep being polite as usual

Other things Danes should expect.

Brazilian ladies generally give a kiss on the cheek ( In São Paulo one kiss, Rio de Janeiro two kisses, and in Northeast generally three kisses), however, for a first a first meeting I would suggest that you stick to a handshake, and depending on how things evolve, a kiss on the cheek will be well accepted. The kiss tradition was probably inherited from the Dutches when they had their sugar cane activities in our country.

For men, a firm hand-shake, always with good eye-contact is a must. If everything goes fine the handshake will be followed by a pad on your back.Generally at the end of the meeting.

If you come to Brazil, it is not uncommon to receive an empty invitation. Simply because Brazilians are generally avoiding confrontations, or situations where they feel there is an obligation to do an invite. So it is common to receive an invite for a party, but this invite might come without the adress where the party is being held, or which telephone you should call. This is an annoying Brazilian trait. Yes it can happen, and it is a good thing to know about it upfront.


Every time your are doing business in another country it is of utter importance to use your common sense. If you feel you are in doubt, be humble and ask. Generally people will be fantastic, if they ou are honest and not afraid to ask.

Personally I believe one can only have a deep understanding of a culture if one is really interested in a culture. Being interested in a culture means that you are humble, curious and obviously respectful towards any differences that culture might show when compared to your own culture.

If you have any doubts, if you want to criticise or commend my work, feel very free to start a discussion on the discussion thread or send me a mail at

Mange tak!

Carlos Monteiro is a Brazilian citizen, graduated in Business Administration by the Catholic University of São Paulo. He lives in Odense, Denmark with his Danish Wife, Cathrine, and their half Danish /Brazilian daughter Ines Marie. You are very welcome to be in contact him at any time.

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