Going to work in a foreign country can be exciting and nerve-wracking, fun and scary. Cultural barriers are a very real thing that can make the experience that much harder. So it is important to rely on a set of strategies to break cultural barriers and make it easier to live and do business in a new country. Learning -the language is perhaps the most important of these strategies.
Relationships are Everything
Business in Brazil is about building real relationships, and that can only be done through effective communication. We often think of communication in the professional realm as restricted to work-related contexts, but this is simply not the case in Brazil. Brazilians often extend business meetings into meals or happy hour. Time spent outside the work context can often make or break a deal.
Working towards Common Goals
Success in business ventures often comes from working together towards a common goal – two parties dancing to the rhythm of the same song to achieve a harmonious choreography. But this becomes impossible when there is not a very clear picture as to what that goal is, a picture that can only be drawn by fluently spoken words.
Working towards a common goal can sometimes cause conflict, and often misunderstanding. Communication barriers can worsen these situations. Mutual understanding is key to conflict management, and speaking the language is a huge step towards avoiding and solving these situations.
Language and Culture
Culturally sensitive language can also be an issue and non-fluent speakers can sometimes trip on these tricky steps. When you learn a language and understand which expressions to avoid – many times literal translation can be a trap! – everything about communication becomes easier. We’ve put together some tips to overcome the language barrier that can be found in this article: Doing Business with Brazil: How to overcome the language barrier.
How Much do I Need to Learn?
If you are thinking: “But what good will it do if I start learning now? I still won’t be able to communicate in Portuguese.” That may be true, but you will clearly show respect for your Brazilian business partners and colleagues. Brazilians truly appreciate that, and it will help strengthen the relationship.
If you plan on visiting, living, working with or in Brazil, be prepared! Communication is an important skill and, luckily, it’s learnable. Street Smart Brazil is here to help you.