Business Card Etiquette in Latin America

Posted on Jan 19, 2016 | 5 comments

Business Card Etiquette in Latin America

Business cards are used all over the world and there are basic expectations as to what information should be on a business card. Nevertheless, there are regional differences in both the content details and most importantly, in the etiquette of their usage.


Business cards in Latin America are the primary way in which professionals present their contact information to each other and potential clients. In the past, they were limited to professionals and high-powered individuals, but now many people use them to share their names and contact information.


The general format for business cards in Latin America includes complete name, professional title/specialty, phone and fax numbers, address, and e-mails of the person identified. Additionally, company website address, logos and company affiliations are a standard. Your business card should detail your professional and academic qualifications and titles that your education and professional training permit.


In addition to the “Dr.” or “Dra.” prefix, “Arq.” and “Ing.” are frequently seen for architects and engineers, respectively. While a card in English is acceptable in international circles, a two-sided card with Spanish or Portuguese on one side could be an asset. Many professionals have business cards provided by their employers.


Business cards in Latin America (tarjetas de presentación or “introduction cards”) are important, but their exchange does not involve any strict protocol, ritual, rules or taboos. Carry business cards with you at all times, to both formal networking and social events.


Following are examples of how the business card is used in different Latin American countries:



Business cards are usually exchanged during introductions.



Business cards can be exchanged at the beginning, during the middle or at the end of an interaction. In Colombia, if you do not have business cards, or do not have them with you, Colombians will happily accept a note card or piece of paper with a phone number or email address. People are also getting accustomed to just putting new contacts’ cell phone numbers right into their phone directories.



Business cards are usually exchanged at the end of a meeting, though sometimes they may be exchanged during introductions. Since the official language in Mexico is Spanish, and, while most Mexican businesspeople can speak English, it is advisable to have your business cards and company materials produced in Spanish. You might want to have a set printed in each language. In Mexico, include a cell phone number on the card and better avoid using your home address and telephone for security reasons.


There are graphic design and printing companies in most of the Latin American metropolitan areas that print business cards. The quality of printing and of card stock may vary, so be sure to check around before getting cards made. Be sure to double-check spelling, especially if the card is in a foreign language.



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Lucia Kolaja Bordean, Global Operations Manager


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