Are you traveling to Cape Verde for business? If you're not familiar with the local business culture, you might be nervous to meet with local professionals. There is always the risk that you'll say or do something to turn off your colleagues, which doesn't exactly leave the best first impression.
Your concerns are valid; however, there are ways to get through a business trip without offending the locals. Here are several ways to master business etiquette is Cape Verde.
The appropriate business greeting in Cape Verde varies depending on whether you're greeting a male or a female. For example, it is customary for men to offer a handshake, plus handshakes are common between men and women in formal settings. Women, however, may share a kiss on each cheek.
Due to the hot, humid climate in Cape Verde, attire for meetings, work and appointments is business casual. Men typically wear trousers and knit short-sleeve shirts, and women tend to dress in lightweight dresses, skirts and blouses.
In many cultures, it is rude to arrive late to a business meeting. This is not the case in Cape Verde. Local professionals are relaxed with regards to time. In fact, it's not unusual for a business meeting to start hours after the scheduled time. However, as a foreigner, it doesn't hurt to arrive on time, although you might have to wait awhile. Be patient.
Meetings and Appointments
Before an actual meeting, be prepared to sit down and engage in small talk. The length of time you'll spend getting to know each other varies. However, local professionals place a lot of emphasis on this initial conversation. As a matter of fact, this may take precedence over the meeting. Don't hesitate to open up and be honest. It's not inappropriate to inquire about another person's health or family.
Business hours in Cape Verde might vary from your home country. Normal business activity is typically conducted Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 AM and 12:30 PM, and between 2:30 PM and 6:00 PM.
Since Portuguese and English are both the official language, business cards should be provided in these languages, if the person you're speaking with doesn't speak your native tongue.
If you're scheduled to give a presentation, or if you're providing your colleagues with written material, all documentation should also be in English or Portuguese. Speak with the person you're meeting with in advance to determine the appropriate language. Also, determine whether you'll need to bring an interpreter with you.
Cape Verdeans take pride in generosity, and it is not unusual for even the poorest residents to invite others to their home for a meal. Understand, however, that it's considered rude to eat in front of others and not offer them food. Therefore, it's not appropriate to eat in public.
The business customs in Cape Verde might be different than what you're used to. However, given the relaxed atmosphere and the generosity of local professionals, it isn't hard to adapt to this culture.