Business Customs

Includes information on acceptable business etiquette, dress, business cards, gifts, etc.

Last published date: 2019-10-13

Understanding cross-cultural differences has important implications for the negotiation process of international commercial transactions. To a greater degree than in the United States, personal relationships are important in creating and maintaining business ties and avoiding possible disputes. As a result, Honduran businesspeople build life-long relationships and establish close links with clients or customers, creating a reciprocal feeling of obligation and desire to assist.

Since Hondurans are hospitable and gracious hosts, the closing of a business deal is similar to a social activity. As a result, many Americans find that going straight to the point when negotiating with Hondurans is not well received. When meeting with Honduran counterparts, it is often best to move into business matters gradually and engage in preliminary discussions for building rapport. Business lunches are common and usually long. After the courtesy formalities have been taken care of, meetings generally turn to a more concrete discussion of business. Hence, business negotiations tend to be slower and more drawn out in Honduras, placing more emphasis on relationships than conducting a business transaction.

As far as punctuality and business etiquette, Hondurans tend to be more relaxed than Americans. Waiting for meetings is not unusual, but this approach to scheduling should not necessarily be taken as discourtesy or disinterest. To the extent possible, U.S. exporters should avoid stereotyping potential partners or jumping to conclusions if someone reacts in an unexpected way.

Hondurans are generally very friendly. Giving and receiving gifts is a common cultural aspect, but gifts aren’t expected during first visits or business meetings. Business cards are exchanged without much ceremony and should preferably be printed in both English and Spanish. When traveling to Tegucigalpa, the capital city, U.S. company representatives won’t go wrong by dressing in business suits. The dress code for the industrial city of San Pedro Sula, however, is much less conservative due to the warm weather and business attires often involve lighter fabrics and smart business casual.