How to Do Business in Portugal
Become a member of TranslationDirectory.com at just
$8 per month (paid per year)
is a self-styled country comprised of generally reserved
and understated people. The Portuguese are traditional and
conservative. People do not quickly embrace change and innovation.
The Catholic Church has a strong influence on people’s
lives. The family is the basis of Portuguese life. Life
is simple, especially in rural areas. The Portuguese go
home after work and entertain on weekends only.
Meeting and Greeting
- Shake hands with everyone present—men,
women and children—at a business or social meeting.
Shake hands again when leaving.
- When meeting friends, men embrace and
pat one another on the back, and women kiss both cheeks.
- Portuguese do not use a lot of body
gestures. Do not be overly demonstrative with hand gestures
or body language.
- Beckon someone with the palm of your
hand down and fingers or whole hand waving (as patting
someone on the head).
- Never point with your finger.
- Portuguese do not take punctuality for
business meetings particularly seriously, but expect that
you will be on time. Call with an explanation if you are
delayed. Be prepared for your Portuguese counterparts
to be 15-30 minutes late.
- While many younger managers speak English,
it is appreciated if you have correspondence translated
- Plan on hiring an interpreter for business
- Meetings are for briefing or discussion.
Decisions may take several meetings. Do not expect clear,
decisive results. The aim is not to find a common ground,
but to strongly express one’s point of view.
- If agreement/support is required at
a meeting, you should lobby participants privately beforehand.
Dining and Entertainment
- Food is served family style. The guest
of honor serves him/herself first and passes dishes around
- Fish is eaten with a special knife and
- To signify that you would like more
food, place your fork diagonal from the left and your
knife straight down to form a triangular position. When
finished eating, place knife and fork (tines up) side
by side on your plate at the 5:25 position.
- It is polite to leave some food on your
plate when finished eating.
Dining and Entertainment (continued)
- Dinner with business colleagues is a
social event. Do not discuss business at dinner unless
your host initiates.
- When offered a drink by a business colleague
(coffee, soda, alcohol), accept.
- Allow your host to open the door when
it is time to leave.
- Dress is conservative. Women usually
wear dresses, and male dressing is based primarily around
a jacket and tie.
- There is little difference in dress
between work and social life.
- For business, men should wear suits
and ties or sports coats and ties. Women should wear dresses,
suits or pantsuits.
- When invited to someone’s house,
always bring a small gift for the hostess. Flowers for
the hostess and table wine for the host are recommended
gifts. Give expensive chocolate and expensive flowers
- Gifts are opened immediately upon receiving
- A return invitation to the hostess is
- Gifts are normally not exchanged at
business meetings, but small gifts may be appropriate
at the successful conclusion of negotiations.
- It is more common to send small Christmas
gifts to customers. Give pens, crystal, ashtrays, diaries
or any gift which might be related to the business itself.
- Portugal is not part of Spain, and the
people are not Spanish, nor are they in any way similar
to the Spanish in culture. They do not speak Spanish or
- Keep a relaxed attitude about time.
Especially for Women
- Foreign business women are treated fairly
and with respect.
- Traditionally, conservative attitudes
have prevailed towards women, but there is a strong movement
towards Portuguese women being involved in business.
- Going to a bar alone is frowned upon.
It may call unwelcome attention.
- It is better for a foreign woman to
invite a Portuguese man to a business lunch rather than
dinner. If you invite a man to dinner, it is better to
ask if he would like to bring his wife.
- The charm of Portuguese men will not
allow a woman to pay for a lunch or dinner. It is acceptable
International Education Systems
1814 Hillcrest Avenue, Suite 300
St. Paul, MN 55116
Visit our web sites at
Submit your article!
Read more articles - free!
Read sense of life articles!
this article to your colleague!
more translation jobs? Click here!
agencies are welcome to register here - Free!
translators are welcome to register here - Free!
Please see some ads as well as other content from TranslationDirectory.com: