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What You Need To Know About Spanish Business Etiquette

June 26, 2021
At one point in time, Spain was one of the richest countries in the world. You can see it in the country's various cities, from its gilded capital city, Madrid, to the popular summer holiday destination that is Barcelona. Even now, many continue to see the country as a bastion of wealth and opulence. This is mainly because doing business here is lucrative. Be it finance or fashion, many companies have profited a lot by doing business in Spain. And they all succeeded because they followed the proper business etiquette in the country.

What You Need To Know About Spanish Business Etiquette


Appearance Matters A Lot

It's no secret that the Spanish are fashionable. They know how to dress to impress, especially during appropriate times. And this comes in handy when doing business! Though it's a stretch to say that the Spanish are shallow for putting emphasis on appearances, dressing for success still goes a long way. In Spain's corporate world, if you don't look polished and pristine, there's no way you'll find success here. You don't have to rely on famous brands or anything like that, but as long as you look well-tailored, immaculately groomed, and leave a good impression, you'll win for sure!


Be Mindful of 'Siesta' Time

Here in Spain, many partake in a tradition called 'siesta.' Simply put, a siesta is a short nap taken during the early afternoon, often right after lunchtime. And yes, even the higher-ups in the big corporations do it too. Taking a siesta is quite common even in Spain's corporate world and they expect others to either follow suit or adjust to that. This means that, if you're planning to hold a meeting, either schedule it in the early morning or later in the afternoon. Don't make the Spanish miss their precious siesta time!


What You Need To Know About Spanish Business Etiquette



Interrupting Isn't Considered Rude

In normal situations, interrupting someone when they're talking is considered rude. However, here in Spain, if you need to interrupt to make an important point, it's practically welcomed. And yes, this also applies in corporate settings. So when you're in the middle of a meeting or a presentation with Spanish businessmen and women, don't be too offended if they interrupt you. If they have an important question or a major concern, simply listen to what they have to say and answer accordingly. With that said, it might not be wise for you to go around interrupting others. Just to be safe, let's leave that to the Spanish.


Don't Be Afraid To Lighten Up The Mood Sometimes

The Spanish are a very enthusiastic people. Even in their social customs, they tend to get handsy and will often invade your personal space when it comes to skinship. So with this in mind, don't be afraid to lighten up the mood when doing business with them. Granted, you need to get serious when it's crunch time, but during a meeting and such, there's no problem if you crack a joke or two. Put in a few laughs to make everyone comfortable for a better partnership ahead. Just don't go too overboard with your jokes or you risk offending someone.


What You Need To Know About Spanish Business Etiquette



Keep It Professional When Conversing

Now, this may seem contradictory to the last point but they're actually pretty well-connected. Yes, it will do you some good if you lighten up the mood when doing business with the Spanish from time to time. There's nothing wrong with cracking a joke or two to keep people at ease. But with that said, keep your humor in a more professional setting. Don't go vulgar with your jokes and making them personal is a lot worse. In fact, sharing and asking for/about personal details is a huge no-no here in Spain too. Always keep this in mind!


The Spanish Like The Control

Although this sounds rather foreboding, it's really not. What 'The Spanish Like The Control' simply means is that they prefer to make their own decisions by their own accord. Sure, you may be partnering up and collaborating on a certain venture or project, but when it comes to their own side of the deal, they'd like to do things their way. You can only goad and suggest your way into fulfilling your ideas, but in the end, Spanish businessmen and women will want to decide for themselves. There's no way they'll ever let others decide for them.


What You Need To Know About Spanish Business Etiquette



Expect to Go On Business Dinners

Although there are a ton of ways to entertain your business colleagues and clients in Spain, a business dinner is practically a must! Most Spanish businessmen and women have no trouble doing business over a good meal. In fact, more often than not, they'll insist upon it. So always prepare for the eventuality of having to host or getting invited to one. Know the best places for one in the city that you're in. Also, if you're inviting them out on a business dinner, a good tip is to find out their preferences beforehand. The more you tailor the meal for their sake, the better!


Business Dinners Start Late in Spain

In most countries around the world, dinnertime starts at around 6:00 pm or 7:00 pm. Here in Spain, however, dinner typically happens at around 9:00 pm. And yes, that includes business dinners too. Spanish work culture has everyone working later than the generally accepted standard and the main reason for that is to give employees more time to socialize. There's also the previously mentioned siesta tradition. So when going on or scheduling a business dinner with Spanish colleagues/clients, know that they'd probably start later than in other parts of the world. Set your expectations accordingly.


Engage in 'Sobrmesa' After Dinner

Don't think that just because the meal is over that the business dinner is all done. The gathering doesn't end the moment everyone's finished eating. On the contrary, oftentimes, the bulk of the business dinner happens during 'sobremesa.' For those who don't know, sobremesa refers to relaxing at the dinner table after the meal. Some would also think of it as dessert or getting an after-meal coffee but for the most part, it's all about your continued conversations and socializing. Of course, in the event of business dinners, this means continuing and furthering your business negotiations to seal the deal!

What You Need To Know About Spanish Business Etiquette


If you're planning to do business in Spain or with the Spanish, knowing how they work there would help you a lot. As long as you follow their standard business etiquette, there's a better chance you'll seal the deal faster than you think!

Getting the job done in Spain will help you spend a better time in this beautiful country. Wouldn't you relax better in your luxury home here when you're confident that you sealed the deal here?




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