By Jen Weaver, Carmazzi Global Solutions
With Mexico our immediate neighbor to the south, Mexican culture may be familiar to most of us. Whether you will find this information new or just a refresher course, let’s explore some common cultural facts about Mexicans and their expectations when it comes to T&D.
Test your knowledge of Mexican culture with the Fun-Fact questions below:
- True or False. The official name of Mexico translates to “The United States of Mexico.”
- True or False. Mexico’s official religion is Catholic.
Quick Tips for Training & Development in Mexico1:
- Mexican communications include elaborate and extensive demonstrations of courtesy. Culturally, many Mexicans find it difficult to say “no”, so they may agree to decisions or tasks without fully understanding the expectations but will avoid asking clarifying questions. You may find that those with higher levels of education may be more prone to request further details.
- While generally deemed acceptable in business interactions, intense constant eye contact may be interpreted as aggressive or threatening in other settings. During casual interactions, for example, intermittent eye contact is more appropriate.
- Authority figures are commonly perceived as corrupt, so most Mexicans will be skeptical of those in positions of leadership. Overcome this by being warm, personable and courteous. Demonstrate trust and goodwill while building relationships and maintaining professionalism.
- Mexicans are typically risk-averse and highly resistant to change. Subjective feelings on a topic guide an individual’s perspective on what is true or right. Generally speaking, however, those with higher levels of education will give greater weight to objective facts than straight emotions or gut feelings when making decisions.
- Family is highly valued, and individuals will commonly make decisions based on the best interests of their family unit. Even with such a prevalence of machismo in Mexican culture, the mother is typically viewed as the central figure in the family due to her protective nature. However, the father may still garner the most respect.
- Business opportunities rely heavily upon building relationships, with relationships taking priority over expertise. Take time to get to know your students and key decision-makers in advance, especially when interacting with high-ranking professionals or governmental officials, as this will aid in their receptivity to your message.
- Priorities in time are given to building relationships, not to necessarily ending the meeting on schedule. While business meetings often end late, they will typically begin on time. So, be sure you are For casual gatherings, everything will typically start and run later than planned.
- As relationships develop, your Mexican counterpart may transition to using first names when you communicate. Wait for him or her to make this change; otherwise, use educational or business titles to address each other.
- Business settings are more relaxed than here in the States, and decision-making is a lengthy process. Build buffers for delays into your class timelines to allow for multiple conversations. Once a decision has been made, implementation processes are usually faster than here in the States, as Mexican businesses face less requirements and paperwork.
- Be mindful not to publicly criticize anyone, as individual dignity and respect are highly valued.
- High-end sharp-looking visuals are appreciated, so be sure to use quality graphics in your training materials.
- Mexico does not have an official religion, although Roman Catholic beliefs are very prevalent.
Developing training & development materials for use in Mexico? Contact Jen Weaver with Carmazzi Global Solutions for a free consultation.
1Morrison, Terri, & Conaway, Wayne A. (2006). Kiss, bow, or shake hands (2nd ed.). Avon: Adams Media.