Greetings And Courtesies

Argentine values emphasize the importance of personal relationships, and Argentines take time and effort to establish a personal relationship as a prerequisite to a business relationship. Individuality and candor are considered important, as are tact and diplomacy. Argentines are generally reserved and avoid calling attention to themselves.

Conservative family and religious values are important guides to personal and professional behavior. Argentines also consider it a matter of pride to know the correct response, which can lead to misunderstandings when they do not in fact have a firm answer. They have a stronger work ethic than what is found in many other Latin American societies and are highly competitive. Nevertheless, they view work as a single component of life rather than the central focus. Argentines are generally somewhat formal, although relations can involve considerable warmth and banter once a relationship has been established.

The appropriate greeting consists of a firm handshake, firmness being taken as a sign of strength and confidence. Men should wait for a woman to initiate the handshake. Titles are generally used. At large gatherings, you usually introduce yourself to others, while at small and more formal gatherings, the host makes the introductions. Considerable social talk precedes any discussion of business. Be prepared to exchange business cards-yours should be in Spanish-at some point during an initial meeting. No formalities are associated with business card exchanges, however.

Small gifts may be exchanged between those who are already acquainted, but wait until after the main business has been concluded to present a gift. Always bring a gift-flowers or chocolates-when invited to a home. When departing, say good-bye individually to everyone present.