We're working our way around the globe!
In our previous Friday blogs about cross-cultural gifting, we established why finding a gift for your friend from another land can be a more complex task than it seems on the surface. Read on for some important gift-giving tips to keep in mind when in Brazil (or when presenting a gift to a Brazilian).
Brazilian culture has been influenced by the West, so the kinds of gifts that are given are much the same as those we would choose in the US. However, there are some different protocols to follow...
Personal Gift Giving:
- When invited into a Brazilian home, the custom in that culture is for the guest to bring wine, scotch, or champagne.
- Flowers may be sent before or after a visit to someone’s home for dinner.
- Always bring something for the children, if they might be present.
Business Gift Giving:
- Gift giving is not universal in the business sector. Indeed, they're not expected and may even be conceived as a bribe. Therefore, if you wish to give a gift, present it at a social gathering rather than privately or in a business meeting.
- Gifts to members of the opposite sex can be misinterpreted. If you're working internationally and you wish to offer a gift to a helpful secretary, for example, it would be best to say, "This is from my wife."
Gifts to Give:
- Something stylish
- Small electronic items and gadgets
- Name brand pens and accessories
- Good quality spirits, wine, or champagne
- Coffee table books
- US sports team and university apparel
- Lavish or obviously expensive items.
- Wallets and jewelry are considered too personal.
- Knives or scissors represent the severing of friendship.
- Thirteen of anything is considered bad luck.
- Purple or black (including flowers) signifies mourning and handkerchiefs signify the tears of mourning.
- Items with a specific yellow-and-green color scheme will be seen to represent Brazil's national colors.
- Brazilians are an expressive people and physical contact is part of that communication. It is common to touch elbows, arms and backs while conversing. Brazilians stand close during conversation – it is rude to back away.
- Cheek-kissing is very common in Brazil, both among women and between women and men. Men shake hands. (Attempting to shake hands while being offered a kiss can be considered odd, but not rude... so go with it.)
- You should not kiss on the cheek, but actually beside the cheek in the air. Placing your lips on a stranger's cheek can be perceived as strange.
- The “thumb's up” gesture is used for approval.
- The “OK” gesture is considered rude.
There are lots of other #funfacts to learn as our blog treks around the globe.
Join us here next Friday as we discuss gift giving in Canada!