Doing Business in Bogota, Colombia

 

Bogotá | The Heart of the Andes 

Bogotá is Colombia’s capital city, an epicenter for the country’s progress and diversity.  Doing business in Colombia is assumed to be casual given the tropical location, however, the capital is cooler in temperature and follows European standards.  Influence aside – friendliness and service are two of the most important qualities of Colombians.

If you are planning to conduct business in Bogotá, take a look below to familiarize yourself with Colombian customs!

#1 Language: Spanish 

There is a standing rumor that Colombian’s speak the best Spanish.  In the majority of the country, the population speaks slowly and clearly – much more so than is the case for places like Chile and Spain. Locals are also much more friendly and welcoming than residents of other Spanish-speaking areas.  You can read more about this fun rumor here: Colombian Spanish

Feel comfortable to test your Spanish!  English is also widely used in the business community and you will not be judged for your lack of native tongue.

#2 Concept of Time 

Punctuality is frequently an issue in Colombia, but you should not interpret lateness as a sign of rudeness or laziness.  There is a lot of traffic in the major cities and delays are understood.

Advice from the UK: If you happen to be running late call whomever you are meeting to let them know as they may expect a non-native to be punctual.

#3 Formality until Fimiliar 

Bogotá is traditional in formality and dress.  When you meet for the first time a handshake, eye contact, and smiles are expected.  After a meeting, the same process is expected before departure.  Meeting someone for a second time without a strong relationship will still have a less formal feel than the first.

After building a relationship, cheek kisses and hugs will be expected.  Greeting a woman will consist of one right cheek-to-right cheek kiss.  Greeting a man, you may give a firm “man pat” on the back or a “strong hug”.  Other unique mannerisms can be found here: Common Colombian Manners

Why Colombia? Click to explore more. 

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