When traveling for work, business cards are one of the essentials. They serve as a means of introduction, of exchanging contact information and of maintaining networks. Although the content, form and layout of business cards worldwide is very similar, there are key regional differences in both the content and most importantly, in the etiquette of exchanging them. In doing your best to be successful, having a culturally appropriate business card and knowing the proper etiquette of exchange can make all the difference.
Business cards in Argentina are important and should include information found on most business cards around the world. The general format for business cards in Argentina includes your professional title or specialty, name, phone and fax numbers, business address, and email address. Additionally, if you are employed, include your company’s website and logos.
Your business card should highlight your professional and academic qualifications and titles. The titles “Arq.” and “Ing.” are frequently used by architects and engineers, respectively, and the prefix “Dr.” or “Dra.” can refer to doctoral degrees. While a card in English is acceptable in international circles in Argentina, a two-sided card with Spanish on one side and English on the other will be an asset and is a sign of respect to Argentinian businesses.
The exchange of business cards in Argentina involves no special ritual. However it is important to present your card so the Spanish side (or the text side if you only have one language) faces the recipient. It is also important to remember that initial greetings in Argentina are formal. You should greet the eldest or most important person first. It is customary to firmly shake hands and establish eye contact. In some situations, it is possible you will receive a light kiss on the cheek, which you should return. An air kiss is acceptable. You can expect some small talk about topics such as the weather and current sporting events before delving into business matters. Remember to always dress neatly, even for informal meetings and interviews, such as a meeting in a café. Argentinians are particularly invested in personal appearance, so pay careful attention to your clothing, shoes, hair and nails.
When deciphering a local business card, note that a typical Argentinian name goes like this: first name, middle name, father’s surname, mother’s surname. Often, the second surname is left off. In business and other formal settings, use formal titles and last names as well as the formal Usted/Ustedes pronouns and verb forms in Spanish unless otherwise invited. Married women without professional titles can be referred to by Señora (Mrs.) and their last name and single women can be referred to as Señorita (Miss) then their last name. There is no equivalent for men without professional titles. Men are always referred to as Señor (Mr.) and their last name, whether they are married or not.
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