Business etiquette in Nicaragua

How to avoid embarrassing faux-pas

Business etiquette in Nicaragua

Informality is a norm in Central America and with Nicaragua it is no different. Being early for meetings and wearing formal attire will make you stand out like a sore thumb.

What to know before a meeting

Scheduling and timing

  • Nicaraguans like to schedule meetings ahead of time; it is considered rude to arrange a meeting one day in advance.
  • Tardiness is accepted by the Nicaraguans up with 30 minutes - longer than that and you better have a valid excuse.
  • Meetings do not last for a set amount of time, and to announce the end of a meeting is considered rude. With this in mind, allow for plenty of time at the end of each meeting as they will come to an end on their own.

In the meeting

  • Do not overdress. It is acceptable to wear formal attire for the first meeting but it can often be considered in poor taste. The guayabera  is still very popular among businessmen.
  • Meetings are relaxed with a very casual atmosphere.
  • Nicaraguans are very affectionate. Don't be surprised if someone leans in after a handshake for a hug or kiss - a kiss on the cheek is normal in a professional setting in Nicaragua. A touch on your shoulder for affirmation and long and relaxed eye contact is also normal.
  • It is common for Nicaraguans to compliment the appearance of a colleague, especially women. However, don't dwell on the compliment, but be respectful.

The end of a meeting

Have enough business cards ready. As they are not widely used in Nicaragua, they have carry more potential power when distributed.

By following these guidelines you will easily adapt to the Nicaraguan business culture, and if in doubt try to follow a local’s lead!

Further reading

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