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Fun & Business in Spain





Brian is flying back to Britain after a week in Spain. Brian is a brilliant and experienced businessman, self-confident and determined.

He works for a chemical company based in London which sent him to Madrid on business.

Despite speaking Spanish it's the first time he's been in Spain so it was a shock when his Spanish contact greeted him with a kiss on the cheeks.


Businessman with his laptop

It was also a surprise when their business lunch with Spanish colleagues was spent talking about family and golf but not a word about business. When Brian tried to pay his share of the bill what seemed to be a big argument broke out between them.

Why don't the Spanish do business like the British? It would be so much easier.


Here are a few tips:


In business meetings men and women greet by shaking hands. However, when two people know each other well a kiss on the cheek is appropriate. Don't worry about this, the Spaniard will make a gesture of rapprochement if that's the case. Normally it's just an approach of cheeks as you kiss the air.

Formal and informal language

Spaniards have two surnames, which are composed of the first surname of their father and mother—for example, Alejandro Sánchez Martín. If you know him well you can greet him informally by his name 'Alejandro'. If he's a new contact it would be better to use the formal mode 'Don Alejandro' or his surname 'Señor Sánchez'.

First contact

The first meeting will help the Spaniard to become familiar with you before doing business with your company. You should be relaxed and talk about your career and family life. That will help the Spaniard understand if you are honest and reliable and if he can trust you before starting a business relationship.

Business lunch

If you want to talk about business over lunch, you should mention that beforehand. Meals in Spain are generally considered a way for people to get to know each other, to relax and enjoy time together, but not to talk about business.

Closing deals in the office

It's more likely for Spaniards to negotiate and close the deal at the office. During meetings, it may look natural to the northern Europeans to take breaks and return to the meeting with a cup of coffee, while for the Spanish this apparently innocent act would be seen as a lack of respect and commitment. Food and business shouldn't be mixed.

Celebrating a successful deal

After closing a business deal it's likely you'll be invited to a nice restaurant if the Spanish want to please you. Whoever made the invitation will pay the bill. In Spain it is not normally shared, regardless of the circumstances. If you've been invited, it would be cordial if you invited them at a later date. Be careful not to give the impression that you are paying the bill to even the score; it should be for the pleasure of meeting your new colleagues.


Delicious Spanish cured ham and poetry


España, a place where business meets pleasure

'With a population of 47 million and a sophisticated market, Spain offers a wide variety of business opportunities. Spain is the eighth largest export market in the UK, and the UK is the fifth largest provider of products and services to Spain. In general, if a product or service is popular in the UK, it is worth investigating its potential in Spain.' (Source: UK Trade & Investment).
Planning doing business in Spain? We can help translating.


Spain, where work always has a brighter side...



Now Brian is back in his London office sharing his experiences of Spain with his colleagues. Everyone is interested to hear about his first business trip to Spain but his boss was a bit confused about the kiss he got on the cheek!




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