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Cultural Etiquette: Doing Business In Aruba

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Cultural Etiquette: Doing Business in Aruba

Aruba, a beautiful island located in the southern Caribbean Sea, is not only a popular tourist destination but also a growing business hub. If you are planning to do business in Aruba, it is important to understand and respect the local cultural etiquette. This article will guide you through the key aspects of doing business in Aruba, ensuring that you can navigate the business landscape with ease and professionalism.

Greetings and Communication

When meeting someone for the first time in a business setting, a firm handshake is the appropriate greeting. Arubans are generally friendly and polite, so it is important to maintain a respectful and warm demeanor. It is common to address individuals by their first names, even in business settings, as Arubans value personal relationships.

  • Personal Space: Arubans appreciate personal space and may stand at a comfortable distance during conversations. Respect their need for personal space and avoid being overly physical or touchy.
  • Eye Contact: Maintaining eye contact during conversations is seen as a sign of respect and attentiveness. Avoid prolonged or intense eye contact, as it may be considered intrusive.
  • Language: The official languages of Aruba are Dutch and Papiamento. English is widely spoken, especially in business settings. However, it is always appreciated if you make an effort to learn a few basic phrases in Papiamento, such as greetings and thank you.
  • Business Attire: Business attire in Aruba is generally formal, with suits being the norm for both men and women. However, due to the warm climate, lightweight and breathable fabrics are recommended.

Meeting and Punctuality

Arubans value punctuality and it is considered disrespectful to be late for meetings. It is recommended to arrive a few minutes early to show respect for the other person’s time. Meetings are usually well-structured and follow a formal agenda.

  • Business Cards: Exchanging business cards is a common practice in Aruba. Ensure that your business card includes your name, title, and contact information. When receiving a business card, take a moment to read and acknowledge it before putting it away.
  • Introductions: When entering a meeting, it is customary to greet each person individually, starting with the most senior person. Maintain a respectful tone and use appropriate titles when addressing individuals.
  • Agenda and Time Management: Arubans appreciate well-organized meetings with a clear agenda. Be prepared and stick to the agenda to ensure productive discussions. Avoid rushing or trying to conclude meetings too quickly, as Arubans appreciate thorough discussions.
  • Follow-up: After a meeting, it is common to send a follow-up email or letter summarizing the key points discussed and any action items assigned to each party. This helps maintain clarity and accountability.

Negotiations and Decision Making

When it comes to negotiations in Aruba, it is important to approach them with patience and respect. Arubans value building relationships and trust before making business decisions. Rushing the negotiation process may be seen as disrespectful.

  • Building Relationships: Take the time to build personal relationships with your business partners in Aruba. Socializing outside of work, such as over a meal or during informal gatherings, can help foster trust and strengthen business relationships.
  • Consensus Decision Making: Arubans prefer consensus-based decision making rather than top-down approaches. It is important to involve all relevant stakeholders and allow them to express their opinions and concerns before reaching a decision.
  • Flexibility: Arubans appreciate flexibility and adaptability during negotiations. Being open to compromise and finding mutually beneficial solutions can help build trust and facilitate successful business partnerships.
  • Patience: Negotiations in Aruba may take longer than expected. Avoid rushing the process and demonstrate patience and understanding. Building trust and reaching a mutually beneficial agreement often requires time and careful consideration.

Dining and Social Etiquette

Arubans take dining and socializing seriously, and business relationships are often strengthened during meals or social gatherings. Understanding the dining and social etiquette in Aruba will help you navigate these situations with ease.

  • Invitations: If you receive an invitation to a business meal or social event, it is considered polite to accept. Arrive on time and dress appropriately for the occasion.
  • Table Manners: Table manners in Aruba are similar to those in Western cultures. Keep your elbows off the table, chew with your mouth closed, and wait for the host to start eating before you begin.
  • Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol may be served during business meals, but it is important to drink responsibly. Avoid excessive drinking, as it may be seen as unprofessional.
  • Conversation Topics: Keep conversations light and avoid controversial or sensitive topics, such as politics or religion. Focus on getting to know your business partners on a personal level and showing genuine interest in their culture and traditions.

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By understanding and respecting the cultural etiquette in Aruba, you can build strong and successful business relationships on the island. Remember to be polite, patient, and open to building personal connections. The key to doing business in Aruba is to embrace the local customs and traditions while maintaining professionalism and integrity.



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