Sunday, March 25, 2007

Speaking the language

Do you speak Spanish?

If the answer is no, and you want to really be successful in your Mexican endeavors, please learn to speak Spanish. It doesn’t have to be business oriented language training, but you should be able to hold a conversation over lunch or in a relaxed environment.

Sure you can get by with English, and many people will be happy to practice with you once you arrive in Mexico.

But to really understand the Mexican business and social culture, I highly recommend you learn how to carry on a conversation in Spanish. It shows your intention to learn and understand the Mexican culture…and Mexican business people see this as a big effort on your part, and it will be appreciated.

If you cannot speak the language, and are serious about working in Mexico, hire someone or bring someone from your company who can speak Spanish. Ask your Mexican counterparts if they would be more comfortable with a translator present, and if they could arrange for one.

Language is nothing more than another barrier to doing international business, but add this hurdle to the “other” barriers (cultural, economic, social, educational) and suddenly doing business internationally seems like a difficult proposition.

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