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Business Etiquettes in Panama

Business Meeting

If you are going to be dealing with a Spanish company then it is a good idea to ensure that you have at least conversational Spanish skills.

Arriving on time for a meeting is important even though you may be kept waiting. Shaking hands is the expected form of greeting but if you know somebody very well you should expect to be hugged.

Titles are important and it is best to address people directly by using their professional title or Don for men and Dona for women, followed by the surname. Use Licensiado, if they have a college degree. First names are not used until a working relationship has been established. As most of the Panamanian nationals will have two surnames (their father’s surname and their mother’s), you should always use the first name listed which is normally the father’s surname.

There is usually some form of small talk before getting down to business. It is best to allow your host to begin the business discussion. Suitable topics include: local culture, family, sports.

Gift Giving Etiquette

You should not take a gift with you when you go to a dinner party but you can expect to receive a gift from the hosts. If you host a dinner party you will need to hand out gifts to the guests.

Business Dressing

Most companies will have a dress code, with men expected to wear conservative suits and women expected to wear a skirt and blouse or a dress, although trouser suits are becoming more fashionable for women. It is not expected that a woman will wear anything revealing if she wants to be taken seriously in the work place.

Business Cards

It is recommended that business cards are printed in both languages where possible. The exchange of business cards is normal practice when you first meet an associate.





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