MEXICO
COMMUNICATION
 
 
 
 
 

VERBAL

Conversation Guidelines
In conversation, Mexicans are very forthcoming about their families and private lives; they will expect you to do the same.  Mexicans also like to know the prices of goods in different countries to compare to theirs, so one should not take offense in the intrusiveness this may create.  Additionally, Mexicans avoid using the word no in their discussions so it is wise to do the same.  Otherwise, you may be viewed as pushy.
Topics To Avoid
Topics to avoid in conversing with Mexicans are: religion, politics, Mexican-American war, illegal aliens, and condescending remarks regarding Mexicans in general. 
Good Topics Of Conversation
Topics of good conversation are: Mexican landmarks or scenery, family, friends, job and Mexican soccer. 

 

NONVERBAL

Kinesic Behavior
Because Mexicans are very warm and affectionate people they often touch shoulders or hold the arm of another.  One gesture that is typical in Mexico is "abrazo," which is a warm hug accompanied by a hearty back-slapping, followed by a hand shake.  Eye contact in Mexico should be infrequent. Placing your hands on your hips signifies that you are making a challenge.  The "O.K." gesture with the thumb and index finger is considered vulgar. In the country of Mexico purple is the color of death; red casts spells; and white lifts the spells. So when your sending flowers to someone in Mexico and you want to be romantic don't send the red. 
Proxemics
The Mexicans are a very close and warm society where closeness is customary.  When conversing, Mexicans tend to stand very close to counterpart, and any efforts to step backward is discouraged.  Mexicans will perceive this as very unfriendly.
Paralanguage
During business negotiations, there is less emphasis on words, numbers and written documents, and more on inflection, tone of voice, setting, the history of the relationship, feelings about the individual, and the level of trust that has been developed

 

STYLE OF COMMUNICATION

Confrontation
Mexican businessmen avoid confrontations at all cost.  This is evidenced in the inability to say no.  They will instead give answers such as maybe or perhaps in lieu of no.  They are often viewed as non competitive by Americans because of their dislike for saying no. 
Feedback
In Mexican business's feedback and suggestions are solicited from everyone within the organization, but ultimately the owner makes all final decisions.  When Americans are transacting business in Mexico, they must establish solid relationships with their Mexican counterparts in order to have a chance at meaningful discourse.  Otherwise, they will not here from the Mexican businessman again. 
Attitudes
With the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexicans perceptions and attitudes toward Americans have improved tremendously.  Mexican's are extremely nationalistic and have a high regard for their heritage.  This is why relationship building is imperative to doing business in Mexico. 

 

Sources: Deresky, Helen, International Management (Prentice Hall 2000) p147.
Mexico Executive Planet, www.executiveplanet.com