3 Ways to Networking Success in Brazil
Success in Brazil is all about who you know.
I’ve never been a great natural networker, maybe it was due to me being a bit of a homeschooled goober growing up or possibly due to the fact that I didn’t see the importance of it…
Whatever the reason, I did the ol’ proverbial face-plant after arriving in Brazil!
Because being self-reliant is something that only functions in “cold” countries, whereas being inter-reliant is vital to success in Brazil. You see, at the core of the Brazilian society lays a strong social inter-dependance that makes relying on each other necessary. Some say that this inter-dependance has come about due to unreliable social services and governmental bureaucracy, others say that it is just the way Brazilian people are.
Either way, this is something that hit me like a ton of bricks about it’s importance lickity-split after arriving in Brazil. It’s the catalyst to your job opportunities, getting things done and having a happy, fulfilled life in Brazil.
So without further ado, here’s 3 tips to get you up and building a successful network – or as Brazilians refer to it “amizades” (friendships).
1. Learn Portuguese ASAP
Only 5% of Brazilians speak English at a fluent or close to fluent level – that’s not a lot.
Wether you’re a business person or not, the numbers speak for themselves: if you speak Portuguese, you’ll have around a 95% better chance at open doors and networking possibilities than if you don’t.
My qualified Portuguese speaking friends have no issue getting a job as the economy is booming and unemployment very low.
This is the reality at this current moment as Brazilian companies have yet to internationalize and early adopters of Portuguese fluency will be at the spearhead of a plentitude of great jobs and opportunities.
If you would like to find out where to start in learning Portuguese fluently, then check out the Portuguese 101 Guide I made for you (and will be constantly updating).
2. Show Up at Events Within Your Interest Area
About 4 months ago, I decided to participate in an internet marketing event in São Paulo…
This would be the first of it’s kind in Brazil (an otherwise saturated area in the USA) and it sparked my interest.
I showed up at the event only knowing one person, of which I had never met in person – none other than the power-napping couch-surfer himself, Josh Plotkin over at
After just a few days of throwing business cards around and talking with different people, I made connections and friendships that will last me a lifetime.
Whats even more, is that these people have openned doors for me and welcomed me into closed groups that otherwise would have been impossible for a non-Portuguese speaker. Brazilians are hospitable and warm at all levels of society!
Here’s a video that Josh and I recorded at the event about networking and its importance:
Note: I need to correct what was said in the video, you can come speaking English and be able to converse with some people (not all) though learning Portuguese is still vital.
(Watch on YouTube)
3. Make Friends Within Your Industry
The 3rd and best tip I can give you, is to make friends with key door-openners within your industry or interest area.
I’m not talking about just exchanging business cards and calling it good, go and visit their home or have them visit yours!
Brazilians will open doors for people who they can call “amigo” and they are always willing to make new friends. This is a no-brainer as you not only make new and important friendship, you also are able to share in important passions to help each other forward in your personal journeys.
Some of my best friends in Brazil are also people who are business partners. You see, in Brazil business and personal life are very much intertwined as the focus isn’t so much on tasks as it is on community.
Sure this has challenges and goes against a lot of “productivity principles” from the USA or Europe, though it makes life a lot more enjoyable and worth living…
What if your job wasn’t just a task, rather a daily experience of hanging out with people you admire and like, with your friends? This is the general mindset and vibe behind life in Brazil and a reluctant must for foreigners wanting to adapt to life in paradise.
Here’s the bottom line and a quick summary of everything I wrote above: learn Portuguese, make Brazilian friends that share your passion and enjoy open doors in life!
Any questions or are you ready to enjoy life to its fullest?
To your sucess in Brazil and thanks for your time.
Good description, but I think Brazilians and latinos in general are
friendly only to people from developed countries (USA, Canada, UK,
France, etc). When you meet a Brazilian or a latino, s/he will first ask
you “De onde Você é”? (Brazil) or “De dónde eres?” (Spanish speaking
countries) which means “Where are you from?”. This question is very far
from being neutral and the relationship you will have with him/her
depends on your answer. If your answer is USA or Canada or other well-known developed country, wow!! S/He is very impressed.
They think all people from these countries are rich. So be careful!
You’ll have a false impression that they are friendly and some sellers
will charge you 2 or 3 times the normal price. They are people who, in
any of their actions, think about what they can gain financially from
you. Some of them also think that being your friend can help them get
papers to go to your “paradise”. If you are from Africa or from an
unknown developing country, a Brazilian or a latino you have just met
will lose any interest about your person, whatever you are; except if
you show external signs of wealth, and this question will be the last
words you will exchange with him/her. If, s/he is polite enough, s/he will continue his/her comedy just to get rid of you.
I’m a Brazillian, and this also happend to me when I went to New York, sorry pal
Some Americans or French people can be arrogant, that’s true. But it’s not the same thing in Latin America. It’s an obsession here to ask people where there are from. It’s the first and at times the only thing they are interested in. With all sources of information available nowadays, why don’t they realize that even in the poorest country of the world you have rich and good people whereas even in the most developped and richest country of the world there are poor and bad people? Why don’t they understand that each country has advantages and disadvantages? According to you what built such erroneous beliefs?
Another thing: why is it so difficult for latinos (including Brazilians) to say “no”? Why telling lies seems very natural for them (according to your culture and history)? With this common behavior of telling lies, how do you manage to trust each other? I mean, what signs show you that the guy is telling you the truth or is telling lies? Is telling lies or making fake promises not a bad thing in your culture? Sorry for my opinion, but it’s only what I have noticed in Latin America and I would like to understand in order adjust to this culture. Up to now, it’s been very hard.
I’m Haitian, leaving in Brazil, I can tell that you don’t know anything about Brazil… Have you ever been to Brazil? No other place that I’ve been, did I find such welcoming people!!!
For how long have you been in Brazil? I was also very excited on my arrival. But after 2 or 3 months, I discovered that the Brazilian of my city were simply welcoming on the surface. People here easily talk to you, always smile but nothing more. No close friendship. If you like comedy and hypocrisy, then the Brazilian I’am talking about are very welcoming people and you are probably behaving like themselves: never tell the truth to people, but what they want to hear. However, I should say that Brazil is a big country and the mistake I probably made was to generalize as I did not visit many other places in Brazil. But let me tell you that I don’t have any reason or any particular problem with Brazilians. What I’am saying is what I experienced where I’am living. Africans and Haitians studying where I live always stay among themselves and I have never seen them with Brazilian friends.
Les Haïtiens sont francophones et je peux vous dire, pour conclure, que je ne fais pas de la flagornerie.
Shoot, who would have thugoht that it was that easy?